Discover Christmas gifts we know they'll love
Rule, Nostalgia

Rule, Nostalgia

A Backwards History of Britain



'A must read' - Janina Ramirez, bestselling author of Femina

'An eye-opening history of Britain's enduring fixation with its own past' - Jeremy Paxman

'Rule, Nostalgia announces Woods as one of the most interesting new historians of her generation' - Dan Snow

Longing to go back to the 'good old days' is nothing new. For hundreds of years, the British have mourned the loss of tradition and called for a revival of 'simpler', 'better' ways of life, from modern politicians indulging in fantasies of an imperial past, to Victorian artists yearning to retreat into a medieval dream of Merry England. But were the 'good old days' ever quite how we remember them?

Rule, Nostalgia is a surprising, timely new history of Britain that separates the history from the fantasy and traces back to its origins the powerful influence that nostalgia's perpetual backwards glance has had on British history, politics and society.


  • Indispensible and fascinating
    The Guardian (A 2022 Book of the Year)

About the author

Hannah Rose Woods

Hannah Rose Woods is a writer and cultural historian. She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she taught modern British history, and in 2016 captained her college's team to victory on that most nostalgic of television programmes, University Challenge. She has written on history, politics and culture for the New Statesman, the Guardian, History Today, Art UK and Elle magazine, and has appeared as a contributor on Dan Snow's History Hit Podcast, Tortoise Media ThinkIns, BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 4's Front Row, the Today programme, The World at One and The World Tonight to discuss topics including nostalgia, public history, Victorian culture, gender equality and universities.

Twitter: @hannahrosewoods
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more