Not so long ago, everybody knew who the English were. They were polite, unexcitable, reserved, and had hot-water bottles instead of a sex life. As the dominant culture in a country that dominated an empire that dominated the world, they had little need to examine themselves and ask who they were. But something has happened. A new self-confidence seems to have taken hold in Wales and Scotland, while others try to forge a new relationship with Europe. The English are being forced to ask what it is that makes them who they are. Is there such a thing as an English race? Witty, surprising, affectionate, and incisive, Jeremy Paxman traces the invention of Englishness to its current crisis and concludes that, for all their characteristic gloom about themselves, the English may have developed a form of nationalism for the twenty-first century.