The History of England, Volume 1 By David Hume

  • Narrated by: Mark Elstob
  • Length: 20 hrs and 29 mins
  • Release date: 05-09-24

The History of England, Volume 1 By David Hume AudioBook summary

Though David Hume (1711-1776) is now best known for his role as a prominent philosopher of the Enlightenment rather than an historian, it was his momentous six-volume The History of England that really brought him national attention during his lifetime. It came out in instalments between 1754 and 1762 and proved an instant success. As it covers the ground from Julius Caesar to James II and the Glorious Revolution, it may not be so surprising that it is now overshadowed by A Treatise on Human Nature and An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Surely its limited purview–taking English history only to 1688, virtually a century before Hume–would seem of limited interest to 21st century audiences? This is not the case.

Hume undertook widespread and careful research in his preparation for his History, as is evidenced by the voluminous references underpinning his information. Furthermore, he was relatively close to many key events in English history–not least the periods of the Stuarts, Cromwell and the Interregnum.

This underpins the sense of authority which pervades his history–for Hume’s purpose is not just to present the facts, but to dress them colourfully with character and opinion. For example, the account of each monarch closes with a vivid assessment of the reign and personality. In conjunction with Hume’s lively, even challenging literary style, The History of England is entertaining and thoughtful as well as informative.


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