||Change is at the heart of this first volume of Schama's unapologetically personal and grippingly written history. He poses questions of compelling importance, such as: Is Britain one country or many, one culture or several? Has British history unfolded "at the edge of the world" or right at the heart of it? These themes are expounded in the stories that Schama loves to tell, and in a form that is at once traditional and excitingly fresh. The great and the wicked are here, but so are countless ordinary lives, all caught on the rich and teeming canvas on which Schama paints his brilliant portrait of the British people.