Thursday 18 April 18:20 - 21:00

Mary Ward House
Tavistock Place

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England: Seven Myths That Changed a Country – and How to Set Them Straight


Exclusive launch of the new book from Tom Baldwin and Marc Stears

England: Seven Myths That Changed a Country – and How to Set Them Straight

Join us for the official launch of the new book by Tom Baldwin and Marc Stears. Along with the authors, we'll be joined by famous faces from the worlds of politics, arts and civic life as we explore the myths that have shaped a nation.

Drinks and food will be served.

Date: April 18th, 2024

Time: 18:20

Location: Mary Ward House

'Challenging, forensic, compelling'

Sathnam Sanghera

'England, with great insight, humour and compassion, punctures the shared myths and simplistic narratives of a complex country and its ever-surprising people'

James Graham, playwright, Dear England

'Wonderfully evocative descriptions of English places, English identities and the myths that cling to them'

Matthew Parris

About the book

In an election year when this country stands on the cusp of a change in government, there will once again be efforts to over-inflate myths about England that block out what's important in our politics.

Some politicians will talk of restoring an English birthright of liberty or the swashbuckling self-confidence to rule the waves. Others will yearn for the old-fashioned morality with which, they claim, England once civilised a savage world. Still will more look inwards to a story of an enchanted island that can stand alone and isolated against the world.

In England, Tom Baldwin, bestselling biographer of Keir Starmer, and Marc Stears, influential think tank head, unravel seven myths that have distorted ideas of this country and provided ammunition for charlatans or culture warriors from both left and right.

Instead of vainly promising to solve everything all at once, Baldwin and Stears provide clues for how a humbler, less grandiose, set of ideas rooted in real lives can help fix some of the things that have gone so badly wrong in recent years.

They travel from muddy fields in the Home Counties to the ports of Plymouth and Hull. They visit the old industrial heartland of Wolverhampton, spend weekends in the worn-down seaside resort of Blackpool, then gaze up the gleaming towers of modernity on the edge of London and the dreaming spires of Oxford. Along the way, they speak with many different people who tell stories of England, including politicians Nigel Farage and David Lammy, campaigner Chrisann Jarrett, playwright James Graham and scientist Sarah Gilbert.

What emerges is a startlingly fresh and vivid picture of a country that belongs to everyone, or at least, to no one in particular.

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