Darkest England by Idries Shah

‘Idries Shah explains the English to themselves and to others with humour and insight… Shah investigates the origins and character of this strangely oriental tribe and comes to some surprising and provocative conclusions. A fascinating and enjoyable read.’


Available worldwide in all formats – including ebook and audio – on Amazon. In the USA go to Amazon.com, in the UK Amazon.co.uk, in India Amazon.in. You can also order Darkest England in paperback and hardback from your local bookstore — and in the UK and USA we also recommend bookshop.org; and in Australia and New Zealand Booktopia.


The first book in Shah’s well-known trilogy that explores why the English are as strange as they are, from their roots as nomadic warriors to their world-dominating empire.

In his best-selling Darkest England, Idries Shah examines the strange customs and behaviours of the exotic tribe known as The English.

He asserts that the English, once a nomadic clan of warriors with possible roots in a distant Eastern land, fled westward, bringing with them epic tales, traditions, and an Oriental way of thought. Shah charts their genius in adopting and adapting ‘almost anything spiritual, moral or material’ for their own use – a faculty that has transformed them from warrior nomads into successful and resilient diplomats, businessmen, thinkers and scientists.

An astute and hilarious work that explains the English to themselves – and others – Darkest England also humorously turns on its head the propensity for Westerners to Eurocentrically observe foreign cultures.

‘Full of insights and information assembled to present a view no English person could easily reach. Very funny.’

Sunday Times

‘The quirky, imperturbable nature of English character submitted to an enthusiastic analysis.’

The Sunday Express