In his foreword to this brilliantly written book the author, one of England's most distinguished historians, writes: ""There are timeless moments when the history of a nation, sometimes of mankind itself, turns on what, in a few hours, days or weeks, men can make of the time given them."" Nine of these ""timeless moments"" in English history, when ""men were pitted against time and one another,"" make up the book. All were chosen by the author from his own works; all have been told many times, but seldom as vividly as here. ""The Holy Blissful Martyr"" retells the story of the battle for legal power between Henry II, who established English Common Law, and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended in 1170 with Becket's murder. ""The Grey Goose Feather,"" the tale of the English victory over the French at Crecy in 1346, includes a fascinating description of the secret weapon of the day, the English longbow, its arrows plumed with goose feathers from village geese. Other essays tell of ""The Hurling Time,"" the Peasant Revolt of 1381 under Wat Tyler; the escape of Charles II to France in 1651 after the battle of Worcester; and five tense moments in the Napoleonic Wars: the naval mutinies of 1797 at Spithead and the Nore; the timeless moments of Nelson's victories at the Nile and Trafalgar; the long-drawn-out heartbreak of the British retreat to Corunna in Spain under Sir John Moore in 1808; and finally, the day-long moment, forever timeless, of Waterloo. A book for all historians, students, and general readers not only interested in the English past but also the present use of the English language as it should be written.