In Shakespeare's Henry V the French lords quail at the thought of British soldiers, who eat like wolves and fight like devils after 'great meals of beef'. Two centuries later, eighteenth-century England rings to boisterous renderings of 'The Roast beef of Old England' and loud cries of 'Beef and Liberty'. And, even today, the French ban on British beef is seen as a slight on the nation, with angry letter to the papers denouncing French food. Ben Rogers' tale is rich in vivid historical detail; from the use of the roasting jack to the foundation of the Sublime Society of Beefsteaks, which still meets in London today, from the origins of English mustard to the banning of bull-baiting in 1827. Resonant and funny, illustrated throughout with prints and drawings, including famous works by Hogarth and Gillray, Beef and Liberty is a feast to relish, an entirely original history, and a pioneering study in a new subject - food nationalism.
Brilliant young writer and thinker, author of an acclaimed biography of A. J. Ayer, Ben Rogers wrote his doctoral thesis at Oxford on 17th-century moral and political thought, and also has an MA from Columbia University, NY. He writes regularly for various newspapers and journals and lives in London.