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Crown and Country: A History of England through the Monarchy Hardcover – 30 Sep 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 488 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007307705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007307708
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 4.1 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr David Starkey is Bye Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He is a winner of the W.H.Smith Prize for Biography (for Elizabeth) and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Service to History presented by the Historical Association.

Product Description

Review

‘Eminently readable…Starkey is particularly good at explaining the shifting tone of monarchical power…“Crown and Country” is a masterpiece of accessible history, underscored with profound scholarship…the author’s passion for his subject, the royal tale of England, which is the backbone of this nation’s story explodes from every page. I defy anybody not to enjoy this book.’ Guardian

‘Entertaining…Starkey writes with the snappy zest of an unrepentant telly-don…he has a lovely eye for a good story…he also has a nice line in snarky humour…Starkey’s great skill is to weave big themes quietly into a rollicking narrative so that you absorb them almost without noticing they are there.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Excellent…the really crucial events in the history of the British Monarchy…are assessed with authority, wisdom and wit…This is Starkey at his fluent and entertaining best.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘This book…is vivid, lucid and engaging…his judgements delivered with quasi-Pontifical assurance are often acute…a very enjoyable book.’ Daily Telegraph

‘David Starkey tours England's monarchical horizon with gusto.’ Sunday Times

‘Starkey brings the past to vivid life.’ Daily Express

‘Combines compelling narrative and lucid analysis to guide us with a sure hand…Starkey’s book will undoubtedly make him and his publishers a tidy profit.’ Spectator

From the Back Cover

From one of our finest historians comes an outstanding exploration of the British monarchy from the retreat of the Romans up until the modern day.

The monarchy is one of Britain’s most venerable and revered institutions – but also one of its most volatile. Starkey brings the tempestuous story up to the present, guiding us through the dissolution of the marriage between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, with a new chapter on the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, royal weddings and the future of monarchy.

Throughout, Starkey highlights both the strength and the terrible fragility of an institution that has seemed, at times, perilously close to extinction. He offers not only a brilliant overview of British history through her kings and queens but also a vivid portrait of British culture, politics and nationhood, embodied in an institution that has defined the realm for nearly two thousand years.

‘Excellent…the really crucial events in the history of the British Monarchy…are assessed with authority, wisdom and wit…This is Starkey at his fluent and entertaining best’ Sunday Telegraph

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. A. Johnstone on 20 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Buyers please note, this volume brings together two previously published works under the title Monarchy. The cynic in me says this is a clever ploy as it's not overly obvious on the cover.
Starkey is very readable, perhaps surprisingly so, this isn't heavy or dry and is in fact an easy read. Perhaps too easy. At times I felt he was glossing over too much, the book rattles along at quite a pace without much depth or time being given to any one period. Great for schoolchildren as the previous post said, gives you all the dates and names, but for in depth detail I'm afraid this book will leave you wanting.
Again agree with previous post, there are some factual errors here, very surprising, inexcusable really and would hope they are corrected when this goes to paperback.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jacks on 2 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have read a few books on various English kings. This book does a great role of piecing them all together without getting boggled down on a certain reign or time period.

It gives a high level overview of a monarch's reign and their high-lights and it achieves this in equilibrium across each reign. That includes no additional coverage for Agincourt or Crecy for example and i couldn't detect any favouritism.

The book read's easy and flows very well, this would appeal to the causal reader like myself, but maybe not the more learned historian who probably knows all the coverage already or the pedantic historian, who may pick up on a date or a individuals name spelt incorrectly.

Highly recommended, informative read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By poleon on 21 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Superb. Easy to read and understand. Nobody does it better. Parts of history which are not easily understood become clear in Starkeys capable writing. Starkey and the Tudors are as one but to produce such an expansive volume on the English monarchy shows what a master of history he is. Reading Crown and Country is a must for those whose knowledge of history before the Tudors and after William and Mary, is woolly. As an academic subject of study history was way down the list but David Starkey has rekindled the interest. This book has broadened that study to discover more about the early kings and queens of England before the Tudors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This single volume history covers the defining events in England since Roman times. As expected this is history told through the stories of the kings and queens of each era, and traces the lines which link our present monarachy back to the Norman conquest and beyond.

The writing style is easy to follow, and the family trees are very helpful in helping to understand the various successions and fueds over the years. Inevitably, in a 500 page book which covers some 2000 years, each monarch and their times are covered rather briefly(for example only the first three of Henry VIII's wives are mentioned) but this book does show how it all links together and gives a good feel for the development of English history and life.
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By hfffoman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 April 2015
Format: Paperback
This is a rapid high level account of British politics and monarchy over 2,000 years. I recommend it for people who are relatively new to the subject or who have only a passing interest. If you already have a reasonable knowledge of the subject or want a thorough treatment you may find it too insubstantial. In many places it is obvious that important details have been skipped or summarised and there are many excellent books which give much more depth. For those who like audio I recommend This Sceptred Isle, a much more comprehensive account full of quotes from primary sources.

On the positive side, Crown and Country is clear and easy to read and, whatever you think of the author's style, his judgement is first rate. I actually heard him on the Today Programme today, the very day that I happened to finish the book, insisting that his commentary on Magna Carta must be sound because he is a "great historian". I am not an expert but I suspect that this and most of the other points in his book are indeed sound.

The book comprises about 60% summary, 10% reference to sources and 30% commentary. It is this last 305 where the quality of the book shines. He gives fascinating insight, mostly in the first half of the book, into the origins of the British style of politics and the ways in which Britain's path diverged from the continent. As the book progresses the insight seems to get thinner and the feeling grows that important details are being skimmed over. I found little new or insightful in the discussion of Queen Victoria and after her the account descended into trivial (which is perhaps a reflection of the reality).

This book is a reissue of two former books combined into one and as it may be worth getting just the first book which I found the most insightful.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Ball TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
I have to confess to being a little bit disappointed with this, although I suspect that probably comes from having more than the usual familiarity with the history of the British monarchy. As a primer or an introduction to the subject, I have no doubt it would be very good. But I found it a little too lacking in depth. Its scope is admirable, and I was pleased for once to find a book that traces the history of the monarchy beyond 1066 and William the Conqueror. But the flipside of tracing such a lengthy period of history is that it only really scratches the surface.

Added to that is the fact that it is essentially serving a dual purpose - a history of the monarchy as an institution and a history of the monarchs themselves. Being very familiar with the history of Britain's monarchs, I was hoping for more of an analysis of what makes Britain's monarchy unique, how it survived and evolved, where it is heading. I found this book didn't focus enough on that aspect for me. Perhaps it could almost have been separated in two volumes?
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