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A History of Modern Britain [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Andrew Marr
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 May 2007

A History of Modern Britain confronts head-on the victory of shopping over politics. It tells the story of how the great political visions of New Jerusalem or a second Elizabethan Age, rival idealisms, came to be defeated by a culture of consumerism, celebrity and self-gratification. In each decade, political leaders thought they knew what they were doing, but find themselves confounded. Every time, the British people turn out to be stroppier and harder to herd than predicted.

Throughout, Britain is 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 now reshaping the world. This history follows all the political and economic stories, but deals too with comedy, cars, the war against homosexuals, Sixties anarchists, oil-men and punks, Margaret Thatcher’s wonderful good luck, political lies and the true heroes of British theatre. It accompanies a major five-part documentary series for BBC television.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio; Abridged edition edition (17 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405092076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405092074
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Marr was born in Glasgow in 1959. He studied English at the University of Cambridge and has since enjoyed a long career in political journalism, working for the Scotsman, the Independent, the Daily Express and the Observer. From 2000 to 2005 he was the BBC's Political Editor. He has written and presented TV documentaries on history, science and politics, and presents the weekly Andrew Marr Show on Sunday mornings on BBC1 and Start the Week on Radio 4. Andrew lives in London with his family.

Product Description


Insightful views on political visions, the Cold War, the Thatcher years, comedy and cars, from one of the brightest stars on the British political scene. A must-have book. --Choice magazine

Book Description

'Andrew...has a real talent for digging out the little anecdotes that bring history to life'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I originally bought this book after hearing about the TV programme and reading the reviews on here and also because I thought it would be a good education for me.

As I neared the end of the book I re-read the reviews here and was somewhat surprised to see some 1 and 2 star reviews, although on reading them I did agree with some of their content.

Overall the book as far as what I hoped to get out of it was 5 stars. Very readable and a great review of politics from 1945 until 2006.

However I do have some comments about it. I didn't quite understand the infrequent dips into non-political issues e.g. fashion in the 1960s. Although I can understand that this was an important backdrop to the political situation (more liberal rules etc) the 'dipping' was a little inconsistent, almost as if either Andrew Marr or the publisher had said 'Nice book can you do a few non-political bits please?'. I did enjoy the 'dips' but wonder whether the book would be better without them, or with more of them? On balance they could probably have been worked in within the theme of the politics hence my title for my review - the book shoudl be A Political History of Modern Britain.

I was also a bit disappointed that more detail was not given to decimalisation (a couple of lines) which as an 11 year old I remember very clearly - surely that was a political hot potato worthy of more discussion?

As for the reviewer who complained it was like A-level History, well I didn't do that and for me the depth of the writing was enough, but I accept that perhaps the book is very superficial, though I have to say highly enjoyable.

These comments would not have made me drop a star in my rating, but the appalling typos I am afraid do, so 4 not 5.

Well worth reading though despite my tiny reservations.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick to what you know? 5 Dec 2008
I liked this book, and as an overview of the post war to modern day period, it's pretty acceptable but I was surprised at how much of his comments/narrative were seemingly only evidenced by politician's own memoirs. Not greatly partisan sources!! I was also annoyed by the sheer volume of typos - Had someone shot the editor? Perhaps after this performance they should have! I also found his forays into pop music and fashion quaintly embarrassing! My final comment, though not necessarily a criticism was how much more interesting and accurate (for me) his comments and observations etc appeared to be from 79 onwards, which I assume was when he became more closely involved with events through his journalism.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid history reads like a novel 1 Aug 2009
OK, in 600 pages you're not going to get the full comprehensive history of post-war Britain. What you do get is a page-turner that keeps you interested, informed and entertained throughout. From the immediate pre-war period until the end of the Blair years Marr provides a terrific insight not only into the formative and influential events but very enjoyable insights into and mini biographies of the personalities and players that have shaped them.
The style is very engaging and you can hear Marr as you read. Very highly recommended, especially I think, if you are in your 50s or older and can relate to the times, events and the personalities.
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255 of 276 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, popularist history 26 May 2007
This is easy to read, general history for the average person in the street like me who has a broad interest in the life of the country but who hasn't got the background to read the "proper" histories. I love this because I can dip in and out, or I can read it in linear chunks. I love the style which is chatty and friendly. And the period interests me because it is really before I was around, so I see the echoes of it but never experienced these things for myself. A lot changed in Britain post war, and I didn't really appreciated how much until I read this.

I can't really comment on the absolute accuracy, and I'm sure it isn't definitive, but it is approachable. It's like a Bryson book of science rather than a Hawking, but with history.

It's quite bit and heavy in hardbook though, but if that is my principle complaint then take this as an unqualified recommendation!
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
This is an enjoyable, easy-to-read overview of postwar Britain but Marr does seem to get away with some shockingly wooly points that would have caused my history teacher's red pen to run out of ink!

The first chapters, about Britain's politics immediately after WW2 up to the 60s I thought were excellent, but as soon as he gets into economics, pop music etc it does become pretty sloppy tabloid generalisation. As a typical upper-middle class BBC journo and well-known chum of Gordon Brown he's also painfully PC, especially jarring in a history book, re. the unqualified good of multiculturalism, the NHS and welfare state, the liberal reforms of the 60s onwards etc. There's also a very sniffy attitude to the developments of business, the UK economy and consumerism.

Also it would be really useful in a future edition to occasionally include in the margins what year he's talking about. In an overview, thematic history it's very hard to follow exactly when specific things are happening, and Marr rarely gives any dates in his text.

Then there's the typos - I'm not that much of a pedant but I was seeing a glaring one every few pages! In a history book from a respected BBC journo this is really poor, and does make you wonder if some of the facts and quotes are in fact accurate, given that there was so little scrutiny in the editing process.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% satisfied.
Quick delivery and well packed, 100% satisfied.
Published 6 days ago by M. Weller
5.0 out of 5 stars who found it a very good
Very well received gift for a member of my family, who found it a very good read
Published 9 days ago by Barbara R
5.0 out of 5 stars Good buy
Good quality, great and reasonable buy. Would recommend
Published 14 days ago by Natasha Fowler-Ekar
5.0 out of 5 stars PRIME ?
The book is good 5 stars for the read but why is it advertised as prime when it is delivered 10 days after ordering it. Read more
Published 20 days ago by M. allsopp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Accurate, humorous and thoroughly readable
Published 1 month ago by SOS
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by NombreMio
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and well researched
It took long time to read, but it was well worth the effort. Provided more detail than one might expect from a book that covers such a long period of time.
Published 3 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Who are we?
Picking up the many threads of politics, culture, religion and the way they have been interwoven into the fabric of British life is a major achievement. Read more
Published 3 months ago by barry taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A history book that is a page turner
I always appreciate a history book that manages to avoid simply listing of facts (as interesting as those can be sometimes). Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. David J. Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - Andrew Marr is simply superb
This is a brilliant accompaniment to the TV series. Andrew Marr is an excellent broadcaster and his books are very adept and in tune with the history of Modern Britain. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. D. Taborda
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