England's great river through the ages.
The Thames, England’s greatest river—for centuries an aid to trade, a stalwart of national defense, a stage for some of England’s greatest historical events, an inspiration to some of England’s best poets and artists, a challenge to engineers. Yet while there is a constancy in the history of the river, there is also change. The Thames chartsthe diverse meanings of the river over the course of millennia, from prehistoric to modern times.
From the elephants on the bank of the prehistoric river to Caesar’s expeditionary force; from King Alfred’s battleships to the signing of Magna Carta; from the river’s role in both the coronation and execution of Anne Boleyn to seventeenth-century frost fairs and the first performance of Handel’s ‘Water Music’; from Turner’s view of the river as arcadia through its bombardment during the Blitz, The Thames providesan intimate portrait of the waterway at the heart of English history.
Blending elegant prose with historical detail, this exceptional book superbly brings to life the river Winston Churchill once vividly described as “a golden thread in the national tapestry.”
“Jonathan Schneer guides us along a renowned element of the English landscape with an alert and seasoned eye, surprising us with stories drawn together by this common watery thread. Famous spectacles, private reveries, urban designs—from these, he sketches a deeply satisfying survey of centuries, captured through the prism of history lived on and along the River Thames.”—Deborah Valenze, Columbia University
“For anyone who wishes to learn of the history of one of the most important rivers in the world, this is the book to turn to. In engaging prose, Jonathan Schneer charts the vital and enriching role the Thames has played in English history.”—Peter Stansky, Stanford University
“An excellent topic, and an altogether pleasurable book. The Thames is central to British history, but there is no other book like this on the subject. The Thames is clear, compelling, and frequently lyrical.”—James Cronin, Boston University