The Book of Books: The Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011

Author(s): Melvyn Bragg

Non-Fiction General

The King James Bible has often been called the Book of Books both in itself and in what it stands for. Since its publication in 1611 it has been the best selling book in the world, and many believe, had the greatest impact. The King James Bible has spread the Protestant faith. It has also been the greatest influence on the enrichment of the English language and its literature. It has been the Bible of wars from the British Civil War in the seventeenth century to the American Civil War two centuries later and it has been carried into battle in innumerable conflicts since then. Its influence on social movements - particularly involving women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - and politics was profound. It was crucial to the growth of democracy. It was integral to the abolition of slavery and it defined attitudes to modern science, education and sex.


As The Adventure of English explored the history of our language, so The Book of Books reveals the extraordinary and still-felt impact of a work created 400 years ago.

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'Bragg's strengths as a novelist yield an account that is personal and imaginative, full of excitement and energy...I have never read an account of the Bible quite so compelling'. - David Crystal, The New Statesman

'What gives this book its particular power, beyond Bragg's own reputation as a broadcaster, novelist and one of our foremost public intellectuals, is that he separates the importance of the King James Bible from the role of Christianity itself. Bragg tells the history of the King James with the vigour and pace of a storyteller rather than the dry precision of an academic.' - Independent

'I am inclined to accept his final word: that the KJB's impact "has been immeasurable and it is not over yet".' - John Cornwell, Financial Times

'Bragg takes a well known tale and tells it with easy eloquence'. - Scotland on Sunday

'Bragg's tribute is of value because he has an aptitude for storytelling. He is breezily readable where other studies can feel dense and recondite. His turn of phrase is dramatic. Bragg's prose reverberates with scriptural certainty. Mostly this is an affectionate book.' - Henry Hitchings, Observer

Melvyn Bragg has written several works of non-fiction as well as his bestselling novels. He was born in 1939 and educated at Wigton's Nelson Thomlinson School and at Oxford where he read history. He is President of the National Campaign for the Arts and Mind, and in 1998 he was made a life peer.

General Fields

  • : 9781444705164
  • : Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • : Sceptre
  • : September 2011
  • : United Kingdom
  • : November 2011
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Melvyn Bragg
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 384
  • : Illustrations, ports.