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Who Owns England?

How We Lost Our Green and Pleasant Land, and How to Take It Back
Narrated by: Malk Williams
Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Environment
4.5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Summary

Who owns England?

Behind this simple question lies this country’s oldest and best kept secret. This is the history of how England’s elite came to own our land - from aristocrats and the church to businessmen and corporations - and an inspiring manifesto for how to open up our countryside once more. 

This audiobook has been a long time coming. Since 1086, in fact. For centuries, England’s elite have covered up how they got their hands on millions of acres of our land by constructing walls, burying surveys and, more recently, sheltering behind offshore shell companies. But with the dawn of digital mapping and the Freedom of Information Act, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to hide. 

Trespassing through tightly guarded country estates, ecologically ravaged grouse moors and empty Mayfair mansions, writer and activist Guy Shrubsole has used these 21st century tools to uncover a wealth of never-before-seen information about the people who own our land, to create the most comprehensive map of land ownership in England that has ever been made public.

From secret military islands to tunnels deep beneath London, Shrubsole unearths truths concealed since the Domesday Book about who is really in charge of this country - at a time when Brexit is meant to be returning sovereignty to the people. Melding history, politics and polemic, he vividly demonstrates how taking control of land ownership is key to tackling everything from the housing crisis to climate change - and even halting the erosion of our very democracy.

It’s time to expose the truth about who owns England - and finally take back our green and pleasant land.

©2019 Guy Shrubsole (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Formidable work." (Robert Macfarlane)

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Essential

Great read, appears hugely well researched and shows that things could be better for all

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Left wing, republican political rant

Thought I was buying a factual book & although the 3 hours I managed was full of them, the anti class, anti royal, anti monied theme that ran through it was to much & spoilt the book

3 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Mira Krishnan
  • 13-06-19

Beneath the ideological invective, fascinating

This book has almost grandiose at times, highly partisan ideas that are interwoven with the facts, sometimes in a way that borders on the absurd. With that being said, it is a fascinating history of real estate law and theory in the English world, and it is illuminating for me as an American, to understand how different UK history is in this regard than US history (the book is decently accessible to me as an American, although there is some historical knowledge I did not have that I had to cross-reference to fully understand Mr. Shrubsole). It raises some really interesting historical models such as gavelkind and how these models affect multi-generational wealth. One wishes that a similar history of this quality were available in the US, highlighting both the ways in which we are more transparent, and in which this issue is not holistically understood here, either. The personality of it, as a scientist and one time student journalist, is also charming - I really appreciate how Mr. Shrubsole makes the history of acquiring and unearthing this data deeply personal. It is well narrated and the narrator is well suited to the topic.