The material is loosely based on the six volume Cambridge History of the English Language, but isn't a summary of that. It does offer a broad survey, but makes no attempt to be comprehensive and is not optimised as a reference, instead probing a few examples more deeply.
A kind of "teaser" introduction (Denison and Hogg) is followed by chapters on Phonology and Morphology (Lass), Syntax (Fischer and van der Wurff), and Vocabulary (Kastovsky), Standardisation (Nevalainen and van Ostade), Names (Coates), English in Britain (Hogg), English in North America (Finegan), and English Worldwide (Crystal). These chapters can largely stand alone, so if you want (say) a forty page academic introduction to English names, covering personal names, surnames and place names, the chapter here would be a good option.
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