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Shared heritage of America and Britain

Michael Barone, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior writer at U.S. News & World Report, recommends five books that illuminate the relationship between Britain and America. Here are his descriptions of two of the five -

1. "Albion's Seed" by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford, 1989).

Colonial Americans didn't come from just anywhere; they came, David Hackett Fischer tells us in "Albion's Seed," from particular parts of the British Isles--New Englanders from East Anglia, Virginians from Wessex, Pennsylvanians from the North Midlands, Appalachians from the Scottish border country and Northern Ireland. . .That they shared a skepticism toward central authority "has created a culture of freedom which is more open and expansive than any unitary tradition alone could possibly be."

4. "The Anglosphere Challenge" by James C. Bennett (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).

James C. Bennett coined the term "Anglosphere" to describe countries where English is the native language or (as in India) serves as a lingua franca for the well educated. But language is not all that America, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other places have in common. Bennett argues that the peculiar island history of England produced a set of institutions that other advanced nations in Europe and Asia lacked - the common law, respect for private property, continuous representative government, a culture that nurtures civil society and entrepreneurial enterprise. It is thus no accident that the Anglosphere has excelled in innovation and economic growth and, Bennett believes, will continue to do so.