A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week 'Excellent.' New Statesman 'Outstanding.' Irish Times 'Enthralling.' Guardian 'Shapiro at his best.' Daily Telegraph From the author of 1599, a fresh perspective on the history of the United States - and a timely reminder of Shakespeare's indelible influence. Shakespeare's position as England's national poet is unquestionable. But as James Shapiro illuminates in this revelatory new history, Shakespeare has long held an essential place in American culture too. Why, though, would a proudly independent republic embrace England's greatest writer? Especially when his works enact so many of America's darkest nightmares: interracial marriage, cross-dressing, same-sex love, tyranny and assassination? Shapiro leads us to fascinating answers and startling stories.