An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy New

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: £1.94

More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading An Utterly Impartial History of Britain on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge) [Paperback]

John O'Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
Price: £6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
You Save: £2.70 (30%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 1 Nov.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £3.95  
Hardcover £13.93  
Paperback £6.29  
Audio Download, Abridged £9.45 or Free with 30-day free trial
Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook £13.89  

Book Description

5 May 2008

Many of us were put off history by the dry and dreary way it was taught at school. Back then 'The Origins of the Industrial Revolution' somehow seemed less compelling than the chance to test the bold claim on Timothy Johnson's 'Shatterproof' ruler.But here at last is a chance to have a good laugh and learn all that stuff you feel you really ought to know by now...

In this 'Horrible History for Grown Ups' you can read how Anglo-Saxon liberals struggled to be positive about immigration; 'Look I think we have to try and respect the religious customs of our new Viking friends - oi, he's nicked my bloody ox!'Discover how England's peculiar class system was established by some snobby French nobles whose posh descendents still have wine cellars and second homes in the Dordogne today. And explore the complex socio-economic reasons why Britain's kings were the first in Europe to be brought to heel; (because the Stuarts were such a useless bunch of untalented, incompetent, arrogant, upper-class thickoes that Parliament didn't have much choice.)

A book about then that is also incisive and illuminating about now, '2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge', is an hilarious, informative and cantankerous journey through Britain' fascinating and bizarre history.As entertaining as a witch burning, and a lot more laughs.

Frequently Bought Together

An Utterly Impartial History of Britain: (or 2000 Years Of Upper Class Idiots In Charge) + An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain: or Sixty Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes as Always + 1000 Years of Annoying the French
Price For All Three: £18.87

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Edition edition (5 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552773964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552773966
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John O'Farrell is the bestselling author of several novels including The Best A Man Can Get, This is Your Life, May Contain Nuts and The Man Who Forgot His Wife. He has also written the very successful history books An Utterly Impartial History of Britain and An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain, as well as a political memoir, Things Can Only Get Better. A former comedy scriptwriter for shows such as Spitting Image and Alias Smith and Jones, he is the founder of the satirical website NewsBiscuit and is well known for appearing on TV programmes including Grumpy Old Men, The Review Show and Have I Got News For You.

Product Description


"...teaches some history along with laughs, wry smiles and groans." (Daily Express) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

A cantankerous history of Britain by one of our most popular humorists

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
128 of 141 people found the following review helpful
As a former university history student, I have to say that I knew shockingly little about the times of Ancient and post- Cromwellian Britain. Most history books I read were so dry and, frankly, dull, that I felt my head hitting the page after the first lines of the introduction. This book is totally different, and all the better for it. From reading this book, the author has made British history flow from one dynasty to the next so that you are compelled to turn the page. OK, so it might not be a true historians critique of our past, but it's one that is easily relatable. Running through the narrative is a wonderfully sarcastic wit, which not only serves to make the book more pleasurable to read but also reminds us of our true murky past, should we think that Britains history is one of stiff- upper- lipped honour and decency from start to finish. Each monarch is scrutinised for what they really were, from Elizabeth I and what really caused the defeat of the Spanish Armada (bad weather!) to the puritanical despotism of Cronwell's rule, despite being seen nowadays as almost a national hero, having a statue in pride of place outside Westminster.

I would recommend this book to anyone, as a funny, witty, and informative guide to British History. If you're new to History or just want to refresh your memory or expand your knowledge, this book is well worth a read. It'll make you laugh too, which is always a plus!
Was this review helpful to you?
81 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History with humour 4 Jun 2008
O'Farrell enters Bill Bryson territory here by providing a read that's informative yet fun - it gives a basic chronological account of British history, the facts interspersed with a great many jokes, most of which warrant a bit of a smile if not outright mirth.

It's certainly worth a go if you want to reacquaint yourself with the rudiments of our island's history, or maybe find out about them for the first time if the dry and dusty approach to History at school left you yawning.

Overall, a very entertaining read provided one doesn't get cross with its flippant approach to the subject, which would be to miss the point. Those wanting a scholarly treatment should look elsewhere, but if you like to have a laugh and learn a bit as you go, this is for you.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
115 of 132 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amusing but poorly researched 4 Nov 2007
As a History teacher, I'm all for making the subject more accessible and fun. This book tries to be a cross between '1066 And All That' and the Terry Deary 'Horrible History' for adults. Parts of it are very funny indeed and there are some sections which do inform as they entertain. Unfortunately, and I hate to be a killjoy, the whole thing is let down by the sheer laziness and superficiality of John O'Farrell's research. As he cheerfully admits , his factual information is largely skimmed from a few books and a quick trawl through the internet. Parts are just plain wrong, and as another reviewer says he seems completely ignorant of the last 20 years of Historical research. His account of the First World War, for example, is full of old myths and inaccuracies. Much of his 'analysis' is simply assertion, and there is no sense that History is a subject open to debate and different interpretations. To be fair, the title and subtitle of the book do acknowledge this in a way. However, if you're going to enthuse people about a subject, surely you should make some effort to make the information you're putting across as accurate as possible. I don't think Bill Bryson would have received plaudits for his popular science book if he'd got Einstein's Theory Of Relativity completely wrong!
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Here is the perfect, ahem, toilet book. Easy to pick up and put down, it lightly dusts over the details of British history to put forward the extremely partial views of the author on some subjects - especially when they can be connected to issues today, such as immigration. One annoyance in this is that although there is a less than lengthy bibliography at the end, many statements we are meant to take as facts are left unaccredited. As an example Britain before 1066 had "...a well developed legal system, effective regional government, good trade networks, strong coinage and thriving churches and monasteries" Did it? You won't find any evidence to back this up in here I'm afraid. And there are lots of bald facts like this produced with no specific evidence, or clues as to where we might want to go to see the evidence. But am I missing the point of this book?

As a laugh out loud comedy book this is really rather good. Some of the "jokes" are sub pythonesque and hit you over the head like a hammer. For example, one of the first landlords to be ostracized by his tenants after new land laws were brought in was a Captain Boycott. As the author says, "...this could be a whole new word in the English language" "Yes, if landlords evict anyone we'll captain them" OK perhaps you had to be there, but there are many, better examples of this sort of humour in this book.

One thing worth noting is that the humour does seem to relent as the book (and history) goes on. Perhaps more recent events aren't as rich pickings for this sort of thing as the Dark Ages, but nevertheless, the author's partiality does come out when we get nearer the 20th Century so there is definite irony in the title.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Quite funny.
Published 8 days ago by Dave Bennett
3.0 out of 5 stars 1066 And All That updated
This is essentially 1066 and All That for the 21st Century. John O’Farrell, who is better known for his Guardian articles and novels of modern life, has written a racy and humours... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Douglas Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hilarious but also great for a brief over view - would buy it for both adults and children
Published 24 days ago by pam kenworthy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Peter H
5.0 out of 5 stars I read the hard back several years ago and loved it and now re-reading...
I read the hard back several years ago and loved it and now re-reading on my new Kindle and enjoying it just as much. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michael Leach
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Very good book
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Helen Wicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain - Worts and all
I bought this book whilst on holiday in Scotland a few weeks ago thinking that I'd need something to read when it rains. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gurinder Punn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Funny book that good entertainment
Published 2 months ago by Rhiannon Meadows
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Extremely witty and funny
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn some history
A great way to learn some history. Somewhat opinionated of course (as all historians are) but fun. Even though he's clearly a Maggie Thatcher... Read more
Published 2 months ago by johnnnynick
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
right wing comedy? 0 30 Jan 2014
See all discussions...  
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions

Look for similar items by category