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The Debatable Land

by Graham Robb

The Debatable Land Synopsis

Two years ago, Graham Robb moved to a lonely house on the very edge of England, near the banks of a river that once marked the southern boundary of the legendary Debatable Land. The oldest detectable territorial division in Great Britain, the Debatable Land served as a buffer between Scotland and England. It was once the bloodiest region in the country, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James V. After most of its population was slaughtered or deported, it became the last part of Great Britain to be brought under the control of the state. Today, it has vanished from the map and its boundaries are matters of myth and generational memories. Under the spell of a powerful curiosity, Robb began a journey-on foot, by bicycle, and into the past-that would uncover lost towns and roads, and unlock more than one discovery of major historical significance. These personal and scholarly adventures reveal a tale that spans Roman, Medieval, and present-day Britain. Rich in detail and epic in scope, The Debatable Land takes us from a time when neither England nor Scotland existed to the present day, when contemporary nationalism and political turmoil threaten to unsettle the cross-border community once more. With his customary charm, wit, and literary grace, Graham Robb proves the Debatable Land to be a crucial, missing piece in the puzzle of British history.

The Debatable Land Press Reviews

Readers will have fun following along with Robb's intriguing historical journey of discovery through this magical realm. ... An imagination-stimulating work. -- Kirkus (starred review) Robb intercuts the past and present, the intimate and the impersonal, to wonderful effect. Few authors write so well about things lost and neglected - or have such sharp ears and eyes for the natural world . -- Guardian A book worth reading . . . it contains several glories, much fine writing and the odd (very odd) wonder. -- Sunday Times

Book Information

ISBN: 9780393285321
Publication date: 13th August 2020
Author: Graham Robb
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 336 pages
Categories: Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500,

About Graham Robb

Best-selling author Graham Robb was born in Manchester in 1958 and is a former Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. He is an acclaimed historian and biographer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has won the Whitbread Biography Prize and the Heinemann Award for Victor Hugo, as well as the Ondaatje Prize and Duff Cooper Prize for The Discovery of France. His book Parisians was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. He lives on the Anglo-Scottish border.

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