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Imperial Mud

The Fight for the Fens

James Boyce

$24.99

Hardback

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Icon Books
01 August 2020
A population of proud indigenous people fight for generations to preserve their homelands against an expanding empire - an invasion justified as being necessary for 'progress'.

After centuries of resistance, their culture and community are destroyed. All of this takes place in East Anglia, roughly between the English Civil Wars and the mid-Victorian period.

An innovative new take on the drainage of the Fens, framed in the language of colonialism, Imperial Mud upends the narrative of this being a triumph of technology over nature. The final destruction of England's last lowland wilderness and the dispossession of its custodians was not an inevitable consequence of 'progress', but of the growing power of a centralised and militarised state.

Imperial Mud reimagines not just the history of the Fens, but the history and identity of the English people.

'Evocative and imaginatively argued' - The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, 'Pick of the Week' 'An inspiring book, a great book. James Boyce turns a colonial historian's eye back onto the heart of empire, retrieving the experience of the indigenous inhabitants of the Fens. It works brilliantly. Imperial Mud offers such a refreshing and revelatory perspective.' - Tom Griffiths, Emeritus Professor of History, Australian National University '...a wonderful example of history writing embedded in the narratives of place' - Australian Book Review 'A real page-turner... a warning about what happens when the rich and powerful dress up their avarice as progress - a lesson we could do with learning today.' - Dixe Wills, BBC Countryfile magazine 'Boyce tells the tale with that rare but always winning combination of passion and scholarly vigour.' - Geographical Magazine (Book of the Month)
By:   James Boyce
Imprint:   Icon Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
ISBN:   9781785786501
ISBN 10:   1785786504
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   01 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

James Boyce is a multi-award-winning Australian historian. His first book, Van Diemen's Land, was described by Richard Flanagan as 'the most significant colonial history since The Fatal Shore'. 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia was The Age's Book of the Year, while Born Bad: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World was hailed by The Washington Post as 'an exhilarating work of popular scholarship'.

Reviews for Imperial Mud: The Fight for the Fens

'Boyce tells the tale with that rare but always winning combination of passion and scholarly vigour.' * Geographical Magazine (Book of the Month) * 'A real page-turner ... a warning about what happens when the rich and powerful dress up their avarice as progress - a lesson we could do with learning today.' -- Dixe Wills * BBC Countryfile magazine * 'Evocative and imaginatively argued' * Sydney Morning Herald, 'Pick of the Week' * 'A wonderful example of history writing embedded in the narratives of place, in this instance the Fenlands of England and its people, both dramatically altered in the name of dubious progress.' * Australian Book Review, Books of the Year 2020 * 'A lively, affectionate, colourful account of individuals from all walks of life living their lives and particularly standing up for themselves with passion, control and careful planning.' -- Natalie Bennett * Resurgence & Ecologist * 'Like Patagonia, 'the Fens' has no precise border. This bountiful wetland on the English east coast is a region that most maps cover with a blank. In a masterful and painstaking act of retrieval, James Boyce reclaims the landscape of his fiercely independent forebears. The Fennish, like most indigenous people, left few written records - an absence that makes Imperial Mud even more valuable, as a celebration of their centuries-long resistance against drainage and enclosing landlords; and, above all, of their utterly passionate relationship with the 'common' marsh through which they defined their identity.' -- Nicholas Shakespeare


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