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1. A Brief History of Great Britain
2. The Oxford History of Britain
3. Environmental History of Great
4. Great Tales from English History:
5. The Penguin Illustrated History
6. A Brief History of British Kings
7. The History of the Kings of Britain
8. The Story of Britain: From the
9. Steaming Through Britain: A History
10. A History of Britain, Vol. 2:
11. Treasures of Britain: The Architectural,
12. The Hollow Crown (Penguin History
13. A Genealogical and Heraldic History
14. History of the Communist Party
15. Britain and the Americas: Culture,
16. A History of Modern Britain
17. A Land of Liberty?: England 1689-1727
18. Food Culture in Great Britain
19. The Royal Tombs of Great Britain:
20. British History For DummiesIllustrated

1. A Brief History of Great Britain
by William E. Burns
Hardcover: 296 Pages (2009-12-30)
list price: US$49.50 -- used & new: US$49.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816077282
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2. The Oxford History of Britain
Paperback: 816 Pages (2010-06-06)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$12.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199579253
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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This superb volume tells the story of Britain and its people over two thousand years, from the coming of the Roman legions to the present day. Edited by esteemed historian Kenneth O. Morgan, this informative volume illuminates the political, social, economic, and cultural developments of the British Isles. Ten leading historians--including Peter Salway, John Morrill, and Morgan himself--provide a penetrating and dramatic narrative, offering the fruits of the best modern scholarship to the general reader in a highly engaging form. A vivid, sometimes surprising picture emerges of continuous turmoil and change in every period of Britain's history.By exploring the many ways in which Britain has shaped and been shaped by contact with Europe and the wider world, this comprehensive book brings the modern reader face to face with the past and thus the foundations of modern British society.The new edition brings the story into the twenty-first century, covering the changes to British society and culture during the Blair years and examining the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Two thousand yearsof Britain's history so deftly, intimately written that it reads- no irreverence intended - like an 700-page
For all too long, classroom history courses dwelt on a succession of soldiers and kings taking their country from one spell of glory to another and allowing fewer pages for the failures. Around the mid-1960s came a turning point since which time many countries (with exceptions that shall remain nameless) began to tell their history more inclusively, even more honestly. The new edition of the unabridged, paperback //Oxford History of Britain// bears this out. Edited by Kenneth O. Morgan, it covers two thousand years of Britain's political, social, and economic history. The early pages address the Roman arrival with soldiers, chariots, and elephants ready to challenge the British tribes. The eleventh century Norman Conquest brought national consolidation, subsequently interrupted only from within the British Isles rather than from abroad. Such accounts as the evolution of royal families and development of the empire, the genesis of the industrial revolution and its subsequent expansion make each chapter compelling. The historians have translated their knowledge and enthusiasm to make for first-rate reading and in the epilogue address the global issues of the new millennium from a transatlantic perspective. The narrative is rounded out with maps, a chronology, further reading suggestions and an index.

Reviewed by Jane Manaster

4-0 out of 5 stars expectations
Many of these reviews are complaining about the lack of flow from one "chapter" to another and the many different voices and styles of writing found in each.The problem we run into is that these folks view a one-volume work as a "book," and expect it to read in a similar fashion as a novel.If one approches The Oxfod History of Britain (in this instance - Illustrated) as an anthology, one's expectations are properly aligned and will allow for a greater understanding of the nature of the work; It will be a more enjoyable experience.By virtue of it being written by scholars in he field, one may expect it not to be written in a manner pleasing to the lay reader.Hint number two: it was published by a university press.That means scholarly work and not lay.As far as the addressed issue of it not being accessible to the undergraduate student, that's rubbish.This is a great monograph with a deserving place in the footnotes of many an academic history paper..... at least I intend to use it as such.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book to start with
I found it a great book to get acquainted with some british history, so I do not understand all the problems mentioned by other readers.

The facts and the names seem all to be there, and it has some parts that explain the different part of society: economics, justice and so on in every period.

My advice is to buy it and read it.

2-0 out of 5 stars No Axe Grinding and Poor Organization, Thank You.
I set out to read this with anticipation.After all it came recommended and is put out by Oxford University Press.But this book was a big disappointment.

I had trouble keeping track of the threads and the plots as I read. Eventually, I figured out the fault is not all mine. There's no getting around it -- the book is poorly organized. I felt like I was trying to decipher an overly complicated but sloppily written soap opera upon watching it for the first time.

In addition, it engages in blatant axe-grinding. I'm still shaking my head over it calling Edward VI "the boy bigot." That opened my eyes to axe-grinding elsewhere in the book. That added a lack of credibility to its lack of organization.

So this is one book I won't bother to finish.

2-0 out of 5 stars Decline and Fall
Few of us would deny that, among countless other things, Britain, that small and infinite island, has given us some of the world's greatest historians: Gibbon, Macaulay, Trevelyan... All of them writers who possessed impressive conviction, a masterful prose style, an all-embracive mind, a sharp wit, and an idiosyncratic genius. Certainly, Britain's history is not less fascinating that its historians: its course has greatly influenced (and, sometimes, dictated) the rest of the world's affairs. Like any other part of our past, it also offers a clue to understand our present - maybe even our very essence. Unfortunately, this just makes Oxford's failure to produce a decent one-volume History of Britain all the more frustrating.

Kenneth O. Morgan, the editor, asserts in his foreword that only a multi-author approach can cope with such an extensive subject, since relying purely on one writer would be "neither practicable nor desirable, now that Renaissance men have vanished from the earth." The fact that this book's most glaring deficiencies are due to the very method Morgan so heartily endorses, however, somewhat undermines his assertions. For while it may be true that a vast undertaking like the 15-volume Oxford's History of Britain, for example, would hardly be possible without the collaboration of a selected group of specialists, that same modus operandi is at odds with this book. The main strengths of a one-volume history should not be painstaking detail, but clearness, concision and consistency -something Morgan has sadly neglected. This kind of book should be enlightening and accessible to laymen and undergraduates alike; it is neither.

First of all, each chapter appears to have been written in isolation, as if each author had been blind to the work of the rest: there is frequent overlapping of information, constant change in approach, and, what is worse, scarcely any unifying interpretation of history. This disjointed, choppy method grows wearisome very fast. A single writer would have probably treated every chapter as a part of a whole, and would have therefore arranged and interpreted every event accordingly; there is no such frame or criteria here. The writers fall over themselves jumping back and forth in time to include tidbits of information, destroying the flow of the book, sparing the reader no figure, statistic, or date.

This hints at another huge defect: the astounding incapability throughout to sort the relevant information from the trivial or downright confusing. Crucial events are shrugged off in order to expand on some trifling detail; the big picture is always taken for granted or just forgotten. The Hundred Years' War, for example, is thrown into the background, as if it were pure circumstance, something that happened to affect England by some nebulous reason. When you have only a few hundred pages to explain how and why Britain's history unfolded like it did, cutting it off from the rest of the world does not like a good idea, but that solipsism prevails here. While, for example, six pages are spent explaining, with painstaking detail (various graphs included), England's population growth in the Tudor Age and how it affected market prices, no room is given to the fundamental causes behind both World Wars. They almost materialize into existence, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it fashion.

If one were to take each chapter individually, these defects would not look so obtrusive; however, this book is definitely less than the sum of its parts. Morgan took quantity over quality, specialized knowledge over lucidity, ten authors (including himself) over a "Renaissance man." In my opinion, genius is not restricted to a bygone era; nor can it be replaced by a ensemble of academicians. Until a more ambitious historian takes up the delightful challenge of relating Britain's past in a approachable, perhaps even memorable way, we will have to go back to Hume, to Macaulay, to Travelyan. It may be that sometimes they were not afraid of subtly changing history to make it fit their viewpoint - but then again, Britain itself has never been afraid of making history either. ... Read more

3. Environmental History of Great Britain
by Ian Simmons
Paperback: 352 Pages (2001-02-15)
list price: US$62.00 -- used & new: US$62.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0748612831
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This is a history of the environment in England, Wales, and Scotland, and of the interactions of people, place, and nature since the last ice sheet withdrew some ten thousand years ago. It is concerned with the changing cultures (in the full anthropological sense) of the peoples inhabiting Britain as well as with the environment they transformed, exploited, abused, and cherished. ... Read more

4. Great Tales from English History: A Treasury of True Stories about the Extraordinary People -- Knights and Knaves, Rebels and Heroes, Queens and Commoners -- Who Made Britain Great
by Robert Lacey
Paperback: 544 Pages (2007-11-12)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316067571
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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A feast for history lovers--the whole colorful parade of English history brilliantly captured in a single volume.

From ancient times to the present day, the story of England has been laced with drama, intrigue, courage, and passion.In GREAT TALES FROM ENGLISH HISTORY, Robert Lacey recounts the remarkable episodes that shaped a nation as only a great storyteller can: by combining impeccable accuracy with the timeless drama that has made these tales live for centuries.

This new paperback edition is encyclopedic in scope, gathering together all of Robert Lacey's great tales previously published in three separate hardcover volumes.

The book comprises 154 delectable stories, each brimming with insight, humor, and fascinating detail. Bite-sized history at its best, GREAT TALES FROM ENGLISH HISTORY belongs on every Anglophile's bookshelf.

"An informative, trustworthy distillation, less a debunking than an entertaining, wryly lucid reconstruction of the facts. . . . The tales weave a narrative as finely thatched as an English cottage." -Tennessean

"Eminently readable, highly enjoyable. . . GREAT TALES should appeal to the reader who appreciates individuals and their personalities more than mere mass movements." -St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Beautifully written, full of things you didn't know, and well worth a read if you want a new view on stories you thought you'd already understood." -Living History ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
It seems sometimes that I only remember to write reviews of books I don't like, so I wanted to be sure to review this one.This is a great read.It is a unique mixture of great storytelling and historical information.Far too often history texts are dry.This book reads like a collection of great short stories (which is essentially what it is).The writer I'd compare Lacey to is David McCullough, who has done similar great stories in American history.

The book is a collection of short stories that, taken together, trace the history of England from the earliest arrivals to modern day.That means that very little gets in-depth treatment, but the reader comes away with a good, broad overview of the English story.Lacey does a nice job of mixing legend with history and making it clear what has solid historical backing and what stories did not make it onto paper until 200 years after the event.

For an accessible and interesting introduction into the broad context of English history, this book would be difficult to beat.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good read !
GREAT TALES FROM ENGLISH HISTORY: CHEDDAR MAN TO THE PEASANTS' REVOLT is interesting history presented in easy-to-read, segmented format.It makes history FUN !

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and easy to read guide for learning the highlights
I ordered this book before we took a trip to the UK this summer.It is very easy to read and gives interesting details from well-known to more obscure facts about English history in 3-5 page chapters. The chapters are in historical chronological order.I took the book with me and referred back to it multiple times as I would tour each place of interest.I even read it aloud to my husband and kids so they could learn more and they found it fascinating as well.Had it not been for this book, we would not have gone with nearly the knowledge that we did and would have missed out on some of the background information at each site.I highly recommend this to anyone who needs to brush up on English history, is taking a class in English history, or is traveling to England. Thank you Robert Lacey for enhancing our vacation and educating some Americans!

5-0 out of 5 stars History made fun
I'm a big history fan, but I can understand why some find it boring. There are bad teachers out there anywhere; for the love of Mike, some people even manage to make biology boring. Well, this may be history as anecdote, but a. the anecdotes are fun, and b. isn't that really what history is, in a way, a succession of anecdotes? It's certainly not a bunch of dates you have to memorize (although knowing the anecdotes makes remembering general dates much easier). This has the bit about Henry II dying from a "surfeit of lampreys" (my favorite phrase in the English language)(no, seriously; sometimes I'll go to McDonald's to order a surfeit of lampreys just to see them roll their eyes and spit in my Big Mac)(I liek spit). It's got Guy Fawkes. It's got much of the dirt on Henry VIII. Even its little essay on Thomas Becket, easy to read and all, manages to speak to the reason why he is so revered without holding him up as a saint, exactly.

I'm told there are more English history books out there by this guy but I haven't read them. I imagine they assuage my one criticism about this book: it's a lot of drum and trumpet history and not nearly enough talk about the regular lives of people. Don't get me wrong; there's a bit of it, but those primarily concern the times when the common people got in the way of the leaders, like Piers Plowman or the little match girls. Lacey's book "The Year 1000" is a fantastic read precisely because it's *not* about William the Conqueror or Ethelred Unred. Don't get me wrong, kingly gossip is still fun to read, but I find the lives of commoners and burghers and so on much more interesting (and ultimately more important).

5-0 out of 5 stars Wager You Can't Read Just One
This book is such an enjoyable read that it truly EARNS the adjective so frivolously showered on other works - ADDICTIVE.This triumph is due to its two basic qualities: 1.) The gripping interest of the subject matter and 2.) Lacey's lively, sparkling prose punctuated with his gamin wit.It was, for me, a thrilling romp to go through what I learned in history classes as a schoolboy (We had to memorise those family trees of the houses of Plantagenet, York, Lancaster, Tudor, Stuart, Hanover and Windsor provided by Lacey at the outset here.) presented in such an anecdotal, jaunty manner.I say "addictive" because the idiosyncratic chapters of 2-7 pages covering "The Cheddar Man" to Watson and Crick are so enticingly titled - complete with odd little drawings underneath the date, duly explained in the next few pages, but passing strange-looking if you don't know (or, ahem, can't quite recall) the story - will keep the reader turning the pages from chapter to chapter long after he/she promised him/her self to turn out the light.

Another reviewer has provided many of the quotes I thought I might include to bait the reader with a sampling of what is offered here.But he missed one I think will appeal to prospective readers on both sides of the pond, from the chapter "`Spoilt Child' And The Pilgrim Fathers" - final paragraph:

"We should also, perhaps, revise our image of the Pilgrim Fathers all wearing sober black costumes with white collars and big buckles on their shoes.Shoe buckles did not come into fashion until the late 1660s, and, as far as the colonists' costumes, as inventoried on their deaths by the Plymouth plantation court, they sound more like those of pixies than pilgrims: Mayflower passenger John Howland died with two red waistcoats in his travelling chest; William Bradford also owned a red waistcoat, along with a green gown and a suit with silver buttons, while the wardrobe of William Brewster, the former postmaster of Scrooby, featured green breeches, a red cap and a fine `violet' coat." P.252

It makes one picture the first Thanksgiving in a rather more colourful light!

That's it. Have fun, learn or relearn many a thing, and don't stay up too late.
... Read more

5. The Penguin Illustrated History of Britain and Ireland (Penguin Reference Books)
by Barry Cunliffe
Paperback: 320 Pages (2006-08-30)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$12.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140514848
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Compiled by a team of leading historians, this is a wonderfully rich, lavishly illustrated history of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The reader is taken on a journey from prehistoric times to the present day, examining such topics as the spread of literacy, the development of transport, and the evolution of country houses on the way. British cities are brought to life in artwork reconstructions that take the reader back to the Dublin of the 18th century or London in the 1850s. Scholarly yet accessible, this is the ideal introduction to British and Irish history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Basically, an excellent historical atlas
This is not a narrative history as the title might suggest.It is really a historical atlas with good accompanying commentary and illustrations.As a historical atlas, it is superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent History book!
This history book is simply excellent.It is well laid out, clearly and passionately written, and is the absolute basis for British History in our home-schooling program.The maps and diagrams are well done, very interesting to investigate, and illustrate well the subjects covered.It is up-to-date, detailed, and the chapters are short and outlined well.Definitely the best British History book I could find, and I looked a lot! ... Read more

6. A Brief History of British Kings and Queens: British Royal History from Alfred the Great to the Present (The Brief History)
by Mike Ashley
Paperback: 464 Pages (2002-12-23)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$6.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786711043
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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In one portable volume, A Brief History of British Kings andQueens offers a royal biographical A–Z, its pages lavish in detailson all the rulers of the kingdoms within the British Isles, togetherwith their wives or consorts, pretenders, usurpers, and regents, fromQueen Boadicea of the early Britons to today’s Elizabeth II. Thiscomplete record of Britain’s kings and queens contains more than 1,000monarchs and 2,000 years of fascinating history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars British kings and queens
This book was great. I really learned a lot about kings and queens i was not very familar with. Also, when I read something in passing about a monarch, I went back to this book to get more information. I am really glad I bought this, however I do not recomend reading the whole thing through, unless that is your thing. I did, and my head sort of hurt afterwards because of all the information. One thing that sort of bothered me about the book was I would read some information that I had not read in any other sources that I have read about a certain king or queen. It made me a little uneasy about the accuracy of some parts, but it did add something interesting.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Reference Book
This author assumes that the reader lives in the UK and you happen to know where all the regions are located (I had to keep glancing at the maps). The interesting thing though is that he covers all monarchs from like 100 BC and all regions, but I ended up just skipping all those parts as I couldn't pronounce the names or the places (especially the welsh names how the heck to do you say "ap" or is this an abbreviation for something?). Also he covers each one so quickly you can't even get the chronology straight in your head. The book does have good geneological and chronological tables though. "Brief" is exactly information the book gives.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hefty tome covering all Brit royals
With individual portraits of all the kings of Britain, no one could accuse this of incompleteness, but the solemn tone and lengthy paragraphs make for a rather dry read.

Billed as from "Alfred the Great to the Present" it begins long before Alfred, with overviews of the Celts, the Roman Occupation, and the Dark Ages.Ashley's organising principle, unity versus disunity within Britain, results in some confusing arrangement of material. For example, in the first Section, Kingdom Against Kingdom:Early Britain:after "The House of Normandy 1066-1154" he backtracks several hundred years to the Kingdoms of Wales (500-1240) and Scotland (850-1165).Then the narrative resumes in 1154 with The House of Anjou.

This mine of information, though daunting at first glance, covers monarchs' appearance, character, consorts, political,social, religious and cultural history.Among 100 pages of appendices are lists of Roman emperors and governors, kings of British provinces, royal consorts, family trees.The massive bibliography, handy for historic royal watchers, precedes the index.

You would probably want something more snappy and anecdotal on your shelf as well as this.However it's worth investing in as a reference source. ... Read more

7. The History of the Kings of Britain
by Geoffrey of Monmouth
Paperback: 330 Pages (2010-04-20)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$14.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1452801894
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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The History of the Kings of Britain, written by legendary author Geoffrey of Monmouth is widely considered to be one of the greatest classic and historical texts of all time. This great classic will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, The History of the Kings of Britain is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless pieces of classic literature, this gem by Geoffrey of Monmouth is highly recommended. Published by Classic Books International and beautifully produced, The History of the Kings of Britain would make an ideal gift and it should be a part of everyone's personal library. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars The History of the Kings of Britain
I haven't had a chance to read this yet, but it arrived in good shape and on time.

3-0 out of 5 stars Medieval books and technology
Although I was told I would receive my books between 28th October and 13th November, they arrived at my door on 14th October...Wonderful! Thank you Amazon.
As you can see it's been about two weeks since I received my books, nevertheless I immediately started to read "The History of the Kings of Britain" to begin with, the cover is absolutely beautiful; the translation and introduction by Lewis Thorpe, poetic as well as accurate and I'm enjoying every single line of every page of this new old book...

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!!
This is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. Anyone with an interest in Arthurian legend or just a love of the dark ages should definately get a copy of this book. One of the first works of historical fiction, Manmouth's tales of Vortigern or the great Uther Pendragon will keep you thinking about the book long after you set it down. A must read!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Kings indeed
With details of troop deployments and excerpts from speeches kings deliver to their men before battle, it becomes obvious it is unlikely that the details are historically accurate. Little time is spent discussing personal relationships; most of the stories revolve around battle. The book is easy reading for the most part. Some of the details offered before any given battle are hard to understand, but they rarely have a significant impact on the course of the plot. The price is more than fair, considering the volume of the book itself and the multitude of fantastic stories. Despite the fact that the work cannot be considered a true source of history, there is still a great deal of educational value.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kind of weird, kind of long, kind of boring but still...
I had to read some parts of this book for class and there were times when I was so confused by the writing that I had to reread parts three or four times. At other times I had no problem understanding what was going on. Overall, it is an enjoyable read if you are interested in how biographies were written in the middle ages and if you don't take every word seriously since the author wasn't very faithful to history. ... Read more

8. The Story of Britain: From the Romans to the Present: A Narrative History
by Rebecca Fraser
Paperback: 848 Pages (2006-11-17)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039332902X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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“A beautifully written story, a box of delights, a treasure trove: final proof of truth’s superiority over fiction.”—Andrew RobertsA sparkling anecdotal account with the pace of an epic, about the men and women who created turning points in history.Rebecca Fraser's dramatic portrayal of the scientists, statesmen, explorers, soldiers, traders, and artists who forged Britain's national institutions is the perfect introduction to British history.

Just as much as kings and queens, battles and empire, Britain's great themes have been the liberty of the individual, the rule of law, and the parliamentary democracy invented to protect them. Ever since Caractacus and Boudicca surprised the Romans with the bravery of their resistance, Britain has stood out as the home of freedom. From Thomas More to William Wilberforce, from Gladstone to Churchill, Britain's history is studded with heroic figures who have resisted tyranny in all its guises, whether it be the Stuart kings' belief in divine right, the institution of slavery, or the ambitions of Napoleon and Hitler. 154 illustrations ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction
This book feels kind of like a textbook, but one of the interesting ones that you enjoyed reading when you were in school. Pick it up if you are looking for a book you can read a few pages every night.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable.
I am just starting this book and find it very enjoyable. I like the way this book is written. It holds my interest and flows well. I am learning much that I never knew before.
I guess I'm not so critical or picky as some readers. If there are some mistakes, so what. I haven't noticed. Of course, I've only started this book. But I read alot and do not always expect authors to be perfect. And sometimes when I think there may be an error, if it is important to me , I will try to do some research to find out if I am correct.
As to the person complaining about the reference to corn during the time of the Romans; the word "corn" has many different meanings depending on what country you are in.
Corn in the United States is also called maize or Indian corn.
In some countries, corn means the leading crop grown in a certain district. Corn in England means wheat; in Scotland and Ireland, it refers to oats. Corn mentioned in the Bible probably refers to wheat or barley.
Naturally, when our British forebears jumped off the Mayflower and found the American Natives brandishing long green stalks with funny yellow things pointing out of them, "corn" was the first word that came to mind, and the name stuck in American English.
Considering that the author is from England, I doubt that she is refering to Indian corn or maize which was brought back to Europe well after the Romans.

4-0 out of 5 stars A very good overview of British history
This is a very good book. Fraser has a difficult task in covering the history of Britain from the Roman invasion to 2003. She passes with flying colors. This book gives you an excellent overview of British history. You will learn who mattered, what mattered, and why. You will gain an understanding of the British, particularly English, psyche. This book does a good job explaining the evolution of Britain over the years and the various influences on this important nation. It does not cover everything in minute detail, but given the breadth and complexity of the topic, this would be an unrealistic expectation. However, at 785 pages of text it provides sufficient detail for a book of its breadth. If you are looking for a single book to learn about British history this is a very good choice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehending Britain
I purchased the book, The Story of Britain. for my husband who is not an historian.Rebecca Fraser has writtten a most readable version that kept his interest, in spite of being an engineer by training .She has been clear and concise but tells the history of her nation in aneasy to understand fashion.I would recommend this volumne to anyone who wants to get a better understanding of British history.Well done, Rebecca!

5-0 out of 5 stars Britain from Ancient Times to Today
Britain is one of the countries most responsible for making the modern world what it is today, and Rebecca Fraser covers the history of that great nation from Roman times to the early twenty-first century in "The Story of Britain".

The author stresses the strong commitment on the part of the British people to personal liberty, exemplified by the adoption almost eight centuries ago of the Magna Carta, which set up the principle of the rule of law that is still the foundation of the justice system of the Anglosphere today.

Fraser manages to cover adequately two thousand years of monarchs, wars, laws, literature, prime ministers, religious movements, technological advances, and social trends in less than 800 pages--the coverage of the English Civil War is especially compelling.At the end of the book, there are tables of the monarchs and prime ministers of the country.This is a very good one-volume history of one of the world's most important nations. ... Read more

9. Steaming Through Britain: A History of the Nation's Railways
by Chris Ellis, Greg Morse
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 184486121X
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Originally built as a patchwork of local rail links, the railroads in Britain boomed in the 1840s into a truly national network. This lavish volume celebrates the expansion of both narrow-gauge and standard railways, the forceful personalities that made them grow, and the technologies that redefined rail travel. From Stephenson's steam-powered Rocket in 1829 and Gresley's Flying Scotsman to today's blisteringly fast Eurostar, all of the most famous locomotives are here and presented in evocative photographs and art.
... Read more

10. A History of Britain, Vol. 2: The Wars of the British, 1603-1776
by Simon Schama
Hardcover: 544 Pages (2001-10-17)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$15.97
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Asin: 0786867523
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Inside these pages lies the bloody epic of liberty, the British Iliad.

The second volume of Simon Schama's A History of Britain brings the histories of Britain's civil wars -- full of blighted idealism, shocking carnage, and unexpected outcomes -- startlingly to life. These conflicts were fought unsparingly between the nations of the islands -- Ireland, England, and Scotland -- and between parliament and the crown. Shattering the illusion of a "united kingdom," they cost hundreds of thousands of lives: a greater proportion of the population than died in the First World War.

When religious passion gave way to the equally consuming passion for profits, it became possible for the pieces of Britain to come together as the spectacularly successful business enterprise of "Britannia Incorporated." And in a few generations that business state expanded in a dizzying process that transformed what had been an obscure, off-shore footnote to Europe's great powers into the main event -- the most powerful empire in the world.

Yet somehow, it was the "wrong empire." The British considered it a bastion of liberty, yet it was based on military force and the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Africans. In America, the emptiness of British claims to protect "freedom" was thrown back into the teeth of colonial governors and redcoat soldiers, while the likes of Sam Adams and George Washington inherited the mantle of Cromwell.

Simon Schama grippingly evokes the horror of the battle, famine, and plague; the flames of burning cities; the pathos of broken families, with fathers and sons forced to choose opposing sides. But he also captures the intimacies of palace and parliament and the seductions of profit and pleasure. Geniuses like John Milton, Thomas Hobbes, and Benjamin Franklin stalk vividly through his pages, but so do Scottish clansmen, women pamphleteers, and literate, eloquent African slaves like Olaudah Equiano.Amazon.com Review
The beginning of the 17th century promised that England's golden age would long outlast its Elizabethan namesake. Within a few years, that promise would end in civil war, political unrest, and international conflict, a period of strife that would last for two centuries, but produce the modern British nation. In this swiftly moving narrative, the second installment in a three-volume companion to the BBC/History Channel television series, Simon Schama examines key events that would utterly change British life: the collapse of monarchy and republic, the establishment of the beginnings of empire, and the ever-wider division between court and country. The wars that accompanied these turns of fortune were, Schama writes, "eminently unpredictable, improbable, and avoidable." With them came the Glorious Revolution, the bloody suppression of religious dissent, the conquest of neighboring kingdoms, and the wide-scale movement of large populations from one place to another--including the deliberate introduction of nearly 100,000 Scots, Welsh, and English settlers in Ireland, which, Schama writes, "utterly dwarfed the related 'planting' on the Atlantic seaboard of North America." Along the way, Schama considers actors major and minor in this tumultuous play, from the unlucky king Charles I to Oliver Cromwell (who "lacked the one essential characteristic for true dictatorship: a hunger to accumulate power purely for its own sake"), from the writer Daniel Defoe to the pragmatic politician Sir Robert Walpole, from William Pitt to the African slaves who peopled Britain's American colonies.

Though understandably rushed and sometimes unfocused, Schama's narrative ably captures Britain's transformation from island outpost to global power. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fine, Well-Written General History
Even more than its predecessor, this is a fine companion to the tv series of the same name.Partly that's because Schama isn't trying to do 4,600 years of history in one volume.And, besides constricting the time covered, Schama largely restricts the book to one theme:the notion of how the civil wars of the British, starting in the Stuart monarchies and ending with the American Revolution, led to a particular notion, an English notion of liberty.

In the Preface to the book, Schama describes himself as a "born-again Whig".He not only seems to mean an agreement with the gist of Victorian historians like Carlyle and Macauley - if not the details of their scholarship-- but what's been called the Whig notion of history, that great men matter.

Throughout the high points of the book, Oliver Cromwell and his reign, and the escalation of tensions before the American Revolution, he emphasizes history as often pivoting on the peculiarities of individual personalities.Cromwell, we see, may have been a theocrat, but he ultimately didn't think anyone, including himself, should have the power to sustain his regime.The loss of the American colonies was not inevitable - though Benjamin Franklin thought their eventual political and economic domination of the Empire was - but the result of stubborn personalities in the British government.

Besides the coverage of Cromwell and the English Civil War, the most interesting part of the book is how British culture and government went from, about circa 1740, explicitly rejecting a Roman style empire of occupation and all its attendant burdens and injustices, to Richard Wellesley's proconsulship in India.(The book really ends in 1800 India, not 1776, and the American Revolution is covered in full.)

Yes, Schama mentions the baser motives, deeds, and evils of this time including, of course, slavery.They have to be mentioned in such a general history, but the amount of time he spends on them is about right and not the obligatory genuflection to the modern Church of Imperial Guilt.

The broad outlines of this history were not new to me, but I learned many details I didn't know including some about the American Revolution.Since I'm not well-read about any of the events or personalities involved, I don't know what errors or questionable descriptions Schama has committed.(Though I do note that it is unlikely "The World Turned Upside Down" was played at Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown.)

As with the first volume, Schama's experience as art historian and essayist serve him well.His chapters are long essays, ending and beginning neatly around a theme.He has a knack for picking vivid anecodotes and writing them up to neatly summarize a period.My favorite, the beginning of an account of the Glencoe Massacre:"In Williamite Britain, showing up late could get you killed."

5-0 out of 5 stars Road to the wrong empire
Having Irish-Americans in your family can prejudice your take on British history especially during the epoch period of 1603 to 1776.Many an evening has been spent sitting in my in-laws living room discussing the evils of English tyranny and religious intolorance that sent the McCormick's, Tooey's, O'Brian's and O'Toole's across the Atlantic.That said, I am glad to say that volume II was an enlightening read and is a good overview of the circmustances which lead to British colonialism.As was the case in volume I, Schama does an excellent job of storytelling and bringing to life the personalities and contemporary social gestalt which ends up as history.I actually think this was a better book than volume I in that the limited scope of the time period covered enabled a deeper discussion.I especially enoyed reading Shama's description of Oliver Cromwell and the Rump Parliament; and I do agree with his subtle suggestion that it was perhaps a crude template for the government of the United States of America.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first volume..
After plowing through the first volume, I couldn't wait to get started on the second volume.This book was going to be incredible.After all look what was going to be covered.. Everything from 1603-1776.. This volume would climax with the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.Given Schama writing style in volume 1, this was going to be incredible....

But alas.... Although not as bad as the final volume, when compared to the first volume, this could have been soooo much better.Schama starts to depart from his telling of historical facts and gives way to relating aspects of British culture.It is almost like Schama can't quite decide on what type of book he his trying to write. Is his audience one with limited knowledge of British History, or is he writing to people looking for a more in depth discussion of certain aspects of Britich Society?

His writings about the religious upheavals is interesting and I was particularly intrigued by his detailed account of Oliver Cromwell, but as I finished this book, I could only feel somewhat cheated by his lack of detail in relating the middle part of the 18th century.

As with the first volume, the pictures and maps were outstanding.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun Read
If history bores you and you enjoy reading, I think Schama intends more to educate through entertainment than to simply educate.This is not the typical history book and is well-written.There are plenty of funny, interesting, and most often brief acounts given that help one understand and provide laughs at times.Schama is not a British historian and has lived in the US for maybe the last 25 years.But on account of being British, a Columbia professor, and--based on reading his three volumes on British history--an excellent writer, he has been encouraged and has writen about British history.
After reading this book I got a good feel of the life at the time, and I think that is largely due to the historical records Schama uses that show the emotions and logic of the times.The beautiful pictures also help in fostering a sense of what Britain is and was like.This book is a very easy and enjoyable read read, and I think this book is perfect for the reader unfamiliar with British history but does not take to history per se.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Let the Size Scare You Away
If you have any interest in British history at all, you will love this book. Granted, it is huge, but the size won't bog you down. Actually, readers will probably grow to appreciate the size (unless they carry it with them, as I did) because it lends itself to a smooth flowing structure. And the paintings and illustrations look terrific as well.

If you have read some other works by Schama, such as Dead Certainties or Embarrassment of Riches, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised by the author's relative clarity in this book.

My one complaint, though, is that the 500 pages are only organized into chapters and not broken down any further. Sometimes the transitions can be a bit jarring. But this is a minor quibble in an otherwise impressive book. And to think that it is only one-third of a series makes it that much more impressive.

If you have any interest in how Great Britain was formed or how it acquired its early empire, then Wars of the British is a perfect fit. ... Read more

11. Treasures of Britain: The Architectural, Cultural, Historical and Natural History of Britain (AA Guides)
by Automobile Association (Great Britain), Automobile Association
Hardcover: 704 Pages (2002-12)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$24.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393057402
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A beautiful, comprehensive guide to the architectural, cultural, historical, and natural heritage of Britain.

The most comprehensive illustrated guide to the art, architecture, and history of Britain ever produced. Written by a prestigious team of expert authors, Treasures of Britain includes over 2,000 alphabetical entries that describe England's heritage and landscape, from medieval churches and cathedrals to historic castles and stunning gardens. Lavishly illustrated with over 1,500 color photographs, this is an unrivaled volume, a classic source of information on Britain's past and present. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I've always wanted to see Great Britain. The number of historical places is amazing. You've seen them in movies and travel guides. This book brings them together in a beautiful way. The photography is wonderful and the descriptions of the places reviewed are excellent and informative.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Great Britain. It's a great way to see some of its amazing landmarks.

5-0 out of 5 stars A valuable resource for travelers to the UK
Simply stated, this book certainly helped me plan my 4 trips to the UK.Comprehensive, filled with gorgeous pictures and maps to indicate the placement of the treasures found in this lovely country.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent resource
This book will serve as your "forever" resource on everything England.If you have never been there it will help you to develop a plan, and it will help you find things that are off the track.It is a resource that seasoned travellers will find excellent as well.I have the newest edition and one of the originals, they are both fantastic.If you have room for only one big England book, this should be it, and if you have room for many you will still value this one the most!

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific treasury for any anglophile!
What a wonderful book.It is set up like an encyclopedia, in alphabetical order, with entries about places in Britain that are of architectural, cultural, and historical interest.The entries are fascinating and the pictures are beautiful.I can open it on any random page and be enthralled.I could spend hours engrossed by it!

The only downside of this book is that it is a constant reminder that no matter how many times you have visited Britain, there are still hundreds of places and things in Britain you still need to see! ... Read more

12. The Hollow Crown (Penguin History of Britain)
by Miri Rubin
Paperback: 400 Pages (2006-01-28)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$6.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0046HAJE0
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
There is no more haunting, compelling period in Britain's history than the later middle ages. The extraordinary kings - Edward III and Henry V, the great warriors, Richard II and Henry VI, tragic inadequates killed by their failure to use their power, and Richard III, the demon king. The extraordinary events - the Black Death that destroyed a third of the population, the Peasants' Revolt, the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Agincourt. The extraordinary artistic achievements - the great churches, castles and tombs that still dominate the landscape, the birth of the English language in "The Canterbury Tales". For the first time in a generation, a historian has had the vision and confidence to write a spell-binding account of the era immortalised by Shakespeare's history plays. "The Hollow Crown" brilliantly brings to life for the reader a world we have long lost - a strange, Catholic, rural country of monks, peasants, knights and merchants, almost perpetually at war - but continues to define so much of England's national myth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars A Hollow Book
Ms Rubin is a writer who excels in writing keenly focused "micro-historical" works, and her other medieval studies (on Sacramental theory and slanders against Jews) are excellent and informative. She seems to be out of sorts in this "macro-history" though.

Part of the problem is the evident limits of the Penguin English history series which evidently caps each volume at between 350-400 pages. You can only do so much with these limits especially when you are covering both narrative history and related sub-topics like economic and social history.

Even within the editorial limits, Rubin's book wanders around a lot and fails to mention some rudimentary info. The Black Plague is discussed in less than 2 pages and the casualty figures for England are never mentioned. The infamous death of Edward II is alluded to but not described. If you already know about the period in question, you know these facts, but this book purports to be for lay persons. The Hundred Years War is covered sporadically and incompletely.

Even with the info that is included in the book, the organization is choppy and not entirely logical. The death of someone you haven't even heard of in the narrative so far is mentioned in the "economics" section of the period chapters and then at the end of the chapter in the "politics" section, the life of the fellow who died back in "economics" is finally put in context.

Anyway, Miri is a good writer at heart and with a better editor and / or a bigger page allowance, this could have been a great book. As it stands, newcomers to the period are better off with Tuchman's "Distant Mirror" and those already familiar with English history will probably find this book to be too basic to be of use. Other books in the Penguin series are better, especially Kishlansky's work on the Stuart era.

4-0 out of 5 stars My kingdom for an editor
The book 'The Hollow Crown', by Miri Rubin, is a fascinating text.It covers the mid-to-late Plantagenet time, beginning after the pivotal time of famine in the early 1300s, continuing up to the beginning of the Tudor era - this is a time that may be best known generally thanks to Shakespeare's plays, although the plays do exhibit poetic license taken by Shakespeare to heighten both the dramatic art and the political regime of the Tudors.

This is an interesting period, with the dynastic stability of Edward I giving way over the generations to inter-family strife, better known now as the Wars of the Roses.Rubin's chapter divisions follow the reigns of the major monarchs in rough outline:Edward II, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV & V (combined into one chapter), Henry VI, and the finish (Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, and into Henry VII's reign).As this is a fairly standard way of dividing British history, it makes things accessible to the general reader as well.Within these broad divisions, however, Rubin carries various themes across the periods as needed - economic, geopolitical, cultural and other kinds movements and shifts are reflected by more than the rise and fall of particular monarchs.Rubin also takes a fairly even-handed approach, without taking sides in particular controversies (Was Henry IV's rise to power a legitimate one?Was Richard III's reign legitimate, and did he have the princes in the Tower murdered? - Rubin references such controversies without taking a partisan stance).

As others have noted in their reviews of this book, it wants a good editor, and unfortunately modern publishers have been cutting back on their editorial services to authors under the mistaken reasoning that computer editors can do an adequate job - alas, such is not the case for scholarly writing, and Rubin's text is most assuredly scholarly writing.Despite the fact that Rubin states in her introduction that this is not intended as a book for other professional historians, the reading can be heavy-going and detail-oriented at times, but other parts have a wonderful narrative flow.

I am one who can never get enough of history, and perhaps now qualify (as a newly-hired adjunct professor of history) as one of the professional historians for which this book was not intended, but I am very glad to have read it.Rubin's scholarship is careful, and her final essay, a narrative bibliography of sorts, is in itself a pleasure to read.Rubin lists the extended bibliography on her professional webpage (Queen Mary College, University of London, search for her name among the staff), and this is a wonderful resource for further reading as well.There are useful maps, some colour plates in the centre, and a genealogical chart tracing Edward II to Henry VII.The index is well done (always a plus in scholarly writing).

Perhaps one element that sets this apart from many standard histories is the concentration on issues of daily life and work of the common folk by Rubin - many royal and official histories detail the great movements of state or the personalities of the high and mighty, with only glancing care toward the greater mass of people living during the times.Rubin gives good account of the way in which people worked, traveled, traded, and acted in religious, social and political ways.This is an element not to be missed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, but apparantly not for everyone...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It connects all the themes of late medieval England in a wonderful way. But then again I am a student of history and currently specializing in this period in English history. To me, this work is a really good introduction to the period and I read it before going to bed. According to the other reviewers here it is a hard read for someone not acqainted with the period and I can understand this, but I wanted to add a more positive view of the work. If you are a student of history and interested in this period (having some prior knowledge) this is a good introduction which offers a good starting point for further, more specialized, research.

1-0 out of 5 stars Was there an editor for this book?
The problems the other reviewers (to date) have mentioned share, I think, a very basic source or cause.This is certainly one of the most poorly written books I have ever read.This comment applies at all levels, from sentence structure (many are simply ungrammatical or otherwise incoherent), to paragraph organization (hardly one without a glaring non sequitor), to narrative flow (the author seems to have no notion of how to tell a story, of any length).I would cite examples, but anyone who browses the book in a bookstore will find them in less than 60 seconds.I fail to see how any general lay reader will come away from it (and yes, I read it all) with a coherent sense of the period, and even learned readers will be more confused than enlightened.I'm sorry to be so negative, but the editors at Penguin have sadly let down not only their readers but the author herself.For a comparison between night and day, check out vol. 5 in this series, Brigden's "New Worlds, Lost Worlds," which is excellent.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, informative, but difficult reading
This book gives an admirable portrayal of diplomacy, politics, economics, social arrangements, and life styles in 14th and 15th Century England; I learned a great deal from it. However, it assumes considerable familiarity with both English history and European history of that period, and in several places I found myself lacking background for understanding the significance of what Rubin relates. For example, although I'm familiar with some of the course of the Hundred Years War, I found myself lacking background on details of Edward III's campaigns needed to follow Rubin's discussion. Likewise, I wish I understood what parcels of England were controlled by such magnates as the Duke of Lancaster, whose lands were scattered across much of England, butI don't happen to know that. In a few cases where I do happen to have the requisite knowledge I found myself wondering what fraction of readers will. For example, her treatment of the years in which the "black death" initially reduced population in England, and in Europe overall, by perhaps a third, assumes considerable familiarity with the onset and spread of that pandemic and with its varying impact on diferent regions; I happen to have studied this recently, but how many readers will have recently refreshed their knowledge of that topic?

My other problem with the book is that Rubin uses quite a number of words without definition that were current in the period she discusses, but which had already fallen out of use by the end of the 16th Century; I found my vocabulary inadequate to grasp the meaning of a number of these. The book would benefit greatly by a glossary; not everyone has the OED, and those who do may by somewhat irritated in reading this book to have to consult the OED every few pages to find out how some word was used in the 14th Century.

On the other hand, Rubin's careful discssion of Wycliffe, of "Lollards", and of "Lollardy", enabled me to grasp for the first time in my life the complexities of that topic as it applies to England. In this, and in various other respects, I learned much.

I'm glad to have this book, and will undoubtedly read it again, but I wish it weren't such a tough read for me. Before I do read it again, I'll have to turn to other books to fill the gaps in my knowledge that made Rubin's book hard for me to follow. ... Read more

13. A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank, But Uninvested with Heritable Honours
by John Burke
Paperback: 762 Pages (2010-02-04)
list price: US$52.75 -- used & new: US$28.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1143644085
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14. History of the Communist Party of Great Britain: The General Strike, 1925-27 v.2 (Vol 2)
by James Klugmann
Paperback: 373 Pages (1987-05-05)
list price: US$25.25 -- used & new: US$21.25
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Asin: 0853153744
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15. Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History (Transatlantic Relations)
Hardcover: 1157 Pages (2005-03-01)
list price: US$270.00 -- used & new: US$197.10
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Asin: 1851094318
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16. A History of Modern Britain
by Andrew Marr
Paperback: 640 Pages (2009-03-06)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0330511475
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This engaging volume tells the story of how the great political visions and idealisms of Victorian Britain came to be defeated by a culture of consumerism, celebrity, and self-gratification. It explains how in each decade, political leaders found themselves confounded by the British people, who always turned out to be harder to herd than predicted. Historically Britain has been a country on the edge—first of invasion, then of bankruptcy, then on the vulnerable front line of the Cold War, and later in the forefront of the great opening up of capital and migration. This history follows all the political and economic stories of the modern era as well as with such social trends as comedy, cars, the war against homosexuals, oil-men and punks, Margaret Thatcher’s wonderful good luck, political lies, and the true heroes of British theater.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars AUDIO CD Review: Different to the TV Series
Getting this for my Birthday, I was dreading that it was just a rehash & a promotion of the series on TV.
Indeed, it has many similarities, but there is enough fresh in here to make full use of the different medium.

As something of a history & politics buff, I found his assessment of most of our post-war leaders to be fair & frank & that he is not as pessimistic as some historians have been about this period (e.g. The Very Bloody History of Britain: 1945-Now). Considering his ending moral as well (that all political careers end in failure) the book has a freshness & authenticity coupled with a sense of idealism (rather than cynicism) that often pervades political writings.

One criticism that I'm not sure many listeners will be aware of though is that Marr appears to have quite a fondness for Thatcher. This comes over especially in his pronouncement that only 'only the 1945-51 Labour Administration & Thatcher's first two terms really dealt successfully with Britain's problems'. I note that he omits Blair's first term.
Minor quibble though this is, I am a Thatcherite & am aware that not everyone thinks her policies were good - in fact most are divided on the subject altogether.

That being said, one criticism I don't uphold is that this is purely 'political history' - it may concentrate on that as his specialty, but there are also many elements of social, cultural & even comedic history which keep the narrative interesting.

And, best of all, Andrew Marr passes the test of being both a good narrator AND a good author (which is so rarely achieved in this format). And for that, I would say that this book (in any format) is a worthwhile purchase & is easy to absorb, while not compromising on facts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read
An astonishing accomplishment and an intriguing read. Andrew Marr is a political journalist with a respected career. He currently has his own television show in which he discusses the top stories of the week from the political world and this is definitely his main hook for the book in which he tackles over 60 years of British history. Focusing mainly on the politics since world war two, Marr gives his an impartial look at the premiership of each PM right up to the closing stages of the Blair years. He focuses on their blunders and their successes and tries to give a different spin on the premiership of those who are historically called a disaster, such as the Callaghan Labour government of the 70s.

His writing ability is superb as he manages to discuss an event which, to some, may be one of the biggest events in post war Britain and make it understandable yet, at the same time, detailed. His writing style is effective and makes the entire book fun to read and when I engage in it I find myself reading on and on and the time flies by. Some of my favourite moments are his discussions of the politics when he's talking about such things as the formation of the NHS under the Atlee Labour government, the fall of the Churchill era during his final term as PM and also such things as the three day week and the unforeseeable rise of Thatcher. I enjoyed the odd dip into non-political subjects such as music and fashion, but he really shines during his political analysis.

He is a very sympathetic story teller and doesn't have an agenda when discussing the lives of some of the most disastrous people in a particular government. One thing I did seem to resent was that he just sailed over the Irish conflict and never really gave it much of a talking point as he simply pointed out that events such as Bloody Sunday occurred and then moved on. It's understandable why he couldn't go into too much detail, but I would have preferred if he had committed a bit more time to the troubles. Otherwise this is a really well written book and it's fantastic to know that he's currently working on a book that focuses on the first half of the century which I will definitely be picking up.

I would rate this very highly and recommend it to anyone with even a light interest in the history of Britain. Ignoring all the typing errors that occurred from time to time you can really enjoy this as a casual book on history and can give you some great points that you can explore in much more detail.

5-0 out of 5 stars a fascinating history of our times
This is a marvellous book that thoughtfully and perceptively explores the twists and turns of British society over the last 65 years. Marr's skill as a narrator, his insights into what the political and economic forces that have transformed Britain from the austerity and heroism of post war Britain to the multi-cultural global economy/ consumer driven society of the Millennium is the work of a first rate historian. He brings to life so many of the characters who have influenced British politics, not just the Prime Ministers, but figures such as Ernest Bevin, Roy Jenkins, Tony Benn, Denis Healey and others. Marr also examines the cultural and social changes that have taken place and allows us to marvel and wonder at the country and its people that have evolved from the pioneers of the Welfare State into todays' consumers and customers.
I read this book from cover to cover on a return flight from London to San Francisco and couldn't put it down until finished!
... Read more

17. A Land of Liberty?: England 1689-1727 (New Oxford History of England)
by Julian Hoppit
Paperback: 602 Pages (2002-10-03)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$50.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199251002
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This book provides an authoritative general view of England between the Glorious Revolution and the death of George I and Isaac Newton. It is a very wide ranging survey, looking at politics, religion, economy, society, and culture. It also places England in its British, European, and world contexts. An annotated bibliography provides a guide through a vast minefield of secondary literture. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Table of Contents
Table of Contents
England after the Glorious Revolution

The Glorious Revolution and the Revolution Constitution

The Facts of Life

A Bloody Progress

The Political World of William III

Wars of Words and the Battle of the Books

Faith and Fervour

England, Britain, Empire

The Political World of Queen Anne

Profits, Progress and Projects

The Wealth of the Country

The Political World of George I

Urban and Urbane

An Ordered Society





5-0 out of 5 stars Very readable and comprehensive
A very well- rounded introduction to a period of British history that should be better known. The author strikes a good balance between the political narrative and his coverage of the social, economic, cultural, and military developments of the age. This book should be accessible to anyone with a serious interest in this period in European history.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Power Emerges
Writes Professor Roger Hainsworth, formerly of Adelaide University, South Australia:Students of English history will welcome this new volume in the New Oxford History of England series.1689-1727 is a very significant period for the history of the British people and indeed it proved important to many European people also for this reason: during it Britain became a great power and in the process the growing hegemony of France over western Europe was first confronted, fought against and finally halted. More of this later. Dr. Hoppit, although his eye is undimmed by romantic illusions about past eras, has a positive tale to tell. He writes that in late seventeen and early eighteenth century England "political discord was contained and then undermined. Warfare was endured and survived. Britain's empire was extended and its value increased. Population began slowly to grow. Many towns flourished. Agriculture, industry and commerce all showed signs of expansion .... society was not stagnant, it was on the move." This favourable assessment might have astonished contemporaries both at home and abroad. They still perceived England as politically unstable, riven by party ("faction"), and menaced by the apparently unbridgeable dynastic dispute between the Jacobite supporters of the exiled James II and then of his son (the Old Pretender) and the Whig and Orange Tory supporters of William III, Anne and the Protestant Succession (the Hanoverians). Meanwhile the British state was menaced by growing poor rates, menacing numbers of unemployed, seemingly endless foreign wars, and a growing mountain of debt: all presided over by a government which appeared more powerful and uncheckable every year and was backed by that worst of all English nightmares: a permanent army. Dr. Hoppit explores these fears and traumas incisively and expertly and makes it clearer than it perhaps has ever been made before why the positive developments prevailed and the worst fears ebbed away. The fundamental problem for historians of the period is to explain how England become a great power during the reigns of William III and Anne. Cromwell's disciplined army and a powerful navy had made England a great power fleetingly during the 1650s. However, there was no way to finance these prodigies on a long term basis. The restored Charles II almost went broke disbanding these extravagant instruments of power. England's resurgence in the two decades following the Glorious Revolution of 1689 astonished foreign observers who had believed, reasonably enough, that England's small population doomed it to the side-lines of European politics. In a long contest between Britain and France surely there could be only one result? England with Wales had only about 5.25 million in 1700. Scotland had 1.23 million and Ireland about 2 million. France, the most populous country in Europe (including Russia) had 22 million. These bare statistics proved deceptive. Although eighty per cent of England's population were rural dwellers, almost thirty per cent of the population were engaged in some form of industry. Manchester was then only a large village but Defoe estimated it provided "outside" employment to 40,000 weavers and allied trades. In fact England was the most urbanised country in Europe and if this was partly because ten per cent of the people lived in London her urbanisation was to increase hugely during the eighteenth century while London's population stagnated. Industrial strength and a powerful navy were gradually joined by a formidable army. During Anne's reign it would be led by one of history's greatest commanders who was also a remarkable diplomat and builder of alliances: the Duke of Marlborough. The financial problems of the mid seventeenth century were resolved by taxation passed freely if grumpily by the House of Commons which had now become a permanent institution of state rather than an irregular occurrence. The taxes funded that unusual novelty the National Debt which was partly managed by an enlarged Treasury assisted by an inspired creation, the Bank of England. The two great European wars of the period weakened the Continental powers, especially France, but left Britain stronger than when she entered them. Many speculated about this paradox but no great power seemed able to copy the method even supposing they understood it. All these matters receive due attention in this volume. So also does a range of other important topics: the remarkable growth of parliamentary government which in time would make possible the political peace of Sir Robert Walpole's long prime ministership during the 1720s; the decline into impotence of the Jacobites; the astonishing efflorescence of a print culture of books, newspapers and pamphlets; the slow decline of the Anglican hegemony in the face of stubborn Dissenters and ideas of religious tolerance; the extraordinarily rich burst of public and private building ranging fromWren's St Paul's to Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor's masterpieces (Castle Howard and Blenheim the best known of many); and the steady advance of pragmatic, experimental science. This last owed much to one man and in a fine passage Hoppit writes that the year his period ends is better defined not by the death of George I but by the death aged 84 of one of his subjects. Interred like a prince in Westminster Abbey with the Lord Chancellor, two dukes and three earls among his pall-bearers, he was Sir Isaac Newton. That indeed was the end of an era. This is a worthy addition to a very collectable series. There are the minor flaws often found when the author has to shoehorn a complex discourse into a confined space. Stylistic faults occasionally jar and infelicities of sentence structure ("there were those (such as Locke had done) who strongly argued ...") often require the reader to turn back to disentangle the sense. However, Dr. Hoppit's text is informative, interesting, thought-provoking and engrossing. He has explored the diverse facets of his subject with care and sensitivity to their nuances. All students of this significant period will be in his debt for decades to come. Had it been put in my hands when I was studying this period as an undergraduate I would have gnawed on it like a famished wolf. ... Read more

18. Food Culture in Great Britain (Food Culture around the World)
by Laura Mason
Hardcover: 264 Pages (2004-10-30)
list price: US$55.00 -- used & new: US$5.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 031332798X
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Product Description

Students, Anglophiles, and literature hounds will want to delve into this delightful survey of foodways of a culture both ancient and cutting edge. Only in recent years have modern kitchen conveniences become taken for granted all over Britain. British cooking has also made tremendous strides lately, and the changes in shopping and food options, preparation, restaurant-going, and diet are detailed.The cooking traditions and classic dishes for which Britain is known are described as well, as they still help to define the people.

Commercialization and globalization are shown to characterize British foodways today. For instance, Britain's regionalism is eroding. Health and environmental issues such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy have come to the fore. Television cook shows are all the rage. Women working outside the home and the increase in single-parent households fuel the demand for quick and pre-prepared meals. The trends are well supported by statistics. A timeline, glossary, and resource guide enhance the narrative.

... Read more

19. The Royal Tombs of Great Britain: An Illustrated History
by Aidan Dodson
Hardcover: 248 Pages (2005-03-03)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$806.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0715633104
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The royal tombs of the British Isles have long been neglected as archaeological monuments. Within their sarcophagi, vaults, or graves, royal bodies underwent various treatments before burial. At one extreme, the flesh of Henry V was boiled off the bones. More generally, the internal organs were removed and the flesh treated with spices in a process akin to mummification. Having been interred, the royal dead were not necessarily left in peace. Some were moved from one burial place to another. Civil disturbance also disturbed royal slumbers, particularly during the Reformation, when a number of abbeys housing tombs -- particularly in Scotland -- were destroyed. Finally, throughout the ages, antiquariansor the curious have opened a number of the tombs to examine or verify their contents. It is from these researches that much of our knowledge of British royal tombs derives.Aidan Dodson provides a concise digest, largely based on primary source material, of all that is known about the various royal sepulchres of the rulers of Great Britain down to the present day. Entries include a biographical note on the tomb’s owner, the circumstances of death, the architecture and decoration of the tomb, post-interment history, and bibliography. The book also includes summary details of the burials ofroyal consorts, of the Stuarts in exile, and of foreign monarchs buried in Great Britain. A final appendix lists and describes the principal chapels, churches, and mausolea that contain royal tombs. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Nnot worth that much
Nice book nice information but by no means is WORTH THAT MUCH please don't fall for that. Way too overpriced

5-0 out of 5 stars Matthew
This book starts with the kings of Dark Age Britian, talks about where their tombs are located and what even happened to the bodies after death. Some, like William I's tomb, was ransacked at least twice, and the bones were lost; only a single femur remains at his tomb in Caen.

Another interesting thing the book documents are the tomb chest at Winchester Cathedral. During the Civil War ara, they were opened and the bones were thrown around the church. They were gathered and placed back in the chest but in different configurations.

Forsomeone interested in the tombs of Britain's rulers, this book gives the reader an overview of their last resting place. Some portions are more detailed than others, but it is detailed enough to mention even where the tombs of Scotland's early kings are located.

Finally a book that completes the very final story on the various Kings of Great Britian.Normal biographies end with their death.This book takes you beyond that - not just where the kings were buried - but what happened afterwards.An excellent read start to finish - and well illustrated too!Would have been nice to have a selection of colored photographs - but what's available will do.For anyone interested in the subject - I highly recommend this book.You will not be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars illustrated survey of all of Britain's royal tombs
Surprisingly considering England's attachment to the monarchy, there has been no comprehensive guide to the royal tombs--until this one. Dodson locates all of the known tombs of Britain and Scotland's long line of kings and queens of the varied kingdoms before they were united into the one United Kingdom and after they were when there was a single line of monarchs. With this, he gives notes on the historical background of each monarch, including his or her burial, and on "post-internment history," which sometimes includes movement of the body to another resting place. Surveying the lives and burials of the numerous monarchs, "Royal Tombs..." can also serve as a guidebook to the burial places. There's just enough material for the historian looking for basic information and for the curious tourist. A teaching fellow in archaeology and anthropology at the U. of Bristol, Dodson has written previous books on the pyramids and royal families of Egypt. ... Read more

20. British History For DummiesIllustrated Edition
Hardcover: 492 Pages (2008-12-15)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$18.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470994681
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
History is always a popular subject and British history has created some of the most lively and fascinating stories there are! Britain as we know it today has been shaped by centuries of political turmoil between state and church, as well as international conflicts, making its history a fascinating insight into how modern Britain has emerged.

For this special, hardback edition of British History For Dummies, we’ve added over 100 black and white and colour photos for an even more explosive experience of British history.

British History For Dummies Illustrated Edition:

  • British history is still a major topic of interest, emphasised by the continual TV coverage and documentaries
  • Inside you’ll find rip-roaring stories of power-mad kings, executions, invasions, high treason, global empire-building and forbidden love- not bad for a nation of stiff upper lips!
  • Includes fascinating information in the fun For Dummies style- from the Stone Age right through to modern day Britain and everything in between!
  • Provides the ultimate British history experience and the hardback format with over 100 illustrations make it the perfect gift for amateur historians
... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars just what I was looking for
I took this with me on a trip to London because the last time I went I spent half the time trying to figure out the royal family and how British history all fit together.This book was perfect for a tourist's help with British history.I enjoyed the sites so much more because I had a bit of a background of who people were and why they were important.It is a super easy ready and a fun read.It was just what I was looking for, but there were a lot of places where I wish I would have had a bit more information than the paragraph or two in the book.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK for a quick review, but buyer beware.
First, a caveat for my fellow Americans: this book is written primarily for a British audience. The author states in his introduction that he assumes the reader has studied some British or English history at school, but found it confusing or doesn't quite remember who did what. Personally, I'm an American studying English literature, and I bought this book to help provide some context for the works I'm reading for school. At times I felt like I was missing something that this book assumed I knew. Still, since I'm not the book's target audience, I'm not taking off any points for that.

I will, however, take away a star for the book's factual errors. One example is the book's assertion that "'Viking' isn't really a noun, but a verb (or if you're really into this sort of thing, the word's a gerund) meaning 'going off as a pirate': You might say you were going off a-viking for the day." Cute, but the Oxford English Dictionary disagrees. The first half of the word, according to the OED, "was probably formed from Old English wic, camp, the formation of temporary encampments being a prominent feature of viking raids"; the second half is "a suffix forming derivative masculine nouns, with the sense of 'one belonging to' or 'of the kind of'."

But from my perspective, a bigger problem is the way the information is presented. It's hard to get a good feel for the people and places who make up these stories. The author is so concerned with being approachable and informal that he never quite manages to build any narrative thrust. That might seem an odd criticism of a book of history, but after reading a few chapters I found that my head was filled with a bunch of facts without connections or significance. You could piece together enough information to pass a test with this book, but not enough to gain a solid understanding of history.

I still enjoy paging through this book to review the major points, but it's no longer my primary source for learning about British history. For that, I'm enjoying Rebecca Fraser's The Story of Britain: From the Romans to the Present: A Narrative History. It, too, assumes a British audience, but Fraser spends enough time on each event (her book is twice as long as Lang's and contains far less white space) to hammer the important names and places into my feeble memory, while at the same time giving me a better feel for the way it all fits together.

3-0 out of 5 stars Only a quick intro, and not much help for those who want more
I found this book to be a positive introduction to British history. It's challenging to move fast enough to cover such a wide topic while also giving enough detail to make it interesting. This book focuses more on the kings and queens than on the culture of England. What was most striking to me was how thin the bonds of empire can be within the British Isles and how central religion was to defining the nature of Britain. I wanted a little bit more detail on British imperialism. I felt that the last hundred pages or so were rushed. Also, I was annoyed by a lot of parenthetical asides (go back to my first sentence to see the challenge of writing this history, stuff like that). My biggest criticism of this book is that there is no bibliography. Now that I've gotten a quick intro to British history, I'd like to have something in the "Part of 10s" that the Dummies series offers that offers some further reading. I've taken a Complete Idiot's on the History of the Roman Empire, and I'm pleased that there's a bibliography in that book in case I want to read other works on the Romans aimed at a popular audience.

This is a decent book if you're looking to get a quick primer in British history, but I'm sure that there is better stuff out there. Gotta give this 2.5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully entertaining- and you learn something too!
I wanted to read a general history of Britain, and that is just what I got. The book takes you from the very beginnings to present day and is a great overview of Britain's history. I really enjoyed reading it. It wasn't dry and boring, but very entertaining while giving you important info. I highly recommend it. In fact, I am ordering US History for Dummies and hope that it is just as good.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best history book
If I had of had this book when in high school, I would have liked history. (History was not my favorite class in those days.) ... Read more

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