by AD Innes, 1912, published by TC & EC Jack, London

History of Britain



  • 976 pages
  • 408,000+ words (give or take a few)
  • 430 drawings and maps, most from contemporary sources
  • by AD Innes, "sometime scholar of Oriel College, Oxford, author of 'England under the Tudors', 'England's Industrial Development', etc."


I was poking about in a musty old second-hand bookshop in Calgary, Canada, several decades ago, when a VERY large leather-bound book caught my eye. As soon as I opened the book I knew I had to buy it. Its a brilliantly written book, an incredibly comprehensive look at the vast panoply of British history both domestic and foreign.

Bear in mind as you read that the author, Mr AD Innes, is writing before the First World war, at a time when no-one really envisaged an end to the British Empire or a diminishing role for Britain on the world stage. It really is a period-piece - the author's views may not be politically correct by modern standards, but it is worth reading as a wonderful insight into British attitudes in the years leading up to the First World War.

Since it is now more than 70 years since Mr Innes's death in 1938, we can share the complete text of this book with Britain Express readers.


In order to put this delicious book online, I had to photograph each page, then run it through special OCR (optical character recognition) software to turn the photo in text. I then photographed the individual illustrations and tried to make them look less yellowed with age. The hardest part of the process was breaking up the text into logical chunks; Mr Innes wrote long chapters, in the style of the times. These chapters read very well in the original book format, but don't always make for specific, focussed articles on a single topic, as we are used to online. I've done my best to break up the long streams of text into shorter articles. I've also added section headings in an attempt to make the long sections of text more reasonable to scan.

If you discover gaps in the text or odd 'words' that the OCR software mangled, please let me know and I'll correct it!

The History of Britain Challenge

'A History of the British Nation' weighs in at an impressive 346 online article pages. Here's the challenge...

Exclamation markI dare you to read the entire book

End to end. All 346 articles. Think you're up for it? If you are, we'll list you here on our History of Britain Roll of Honour (TM pending). So how do we verify that you actually read each article?

FIND ME: History of Britain Roll of Honour icon

All you have to do is find all the cute little medieval king figures scattered throughout the pages of A History of the British Nation. There's a trick, though ... I'm not telling you how many kings there are! So you have to go through all the articles to find them. And as long as you have to visit each page, you might as well relax and READ IT!

Make note of the page you found the king on. When you've finished the entire book, send me an email with a list of the pages and I'll add you to the Roll of Honour. Off you go; here's the start of the book.


Be the first!