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Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls, from the Romans to Queen Victoria Hardcover – 22 Sep 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 494 pages
  • Publisher: Galore Park; 1st. Edition edition (22 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1902984749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1902984742
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.6 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

I was given H.E. Marshall's Our Island Story at Christmas 1936 and I've still got that copy. It was a direct inspiration for me in my career as a historian. --Lady Antonia Fraser

The reason that parents will go to such lengths to try to track down copies of Our Island Story is because of the sheer quality of the writing. Telling a story from history might be old-fashioned, but it stimulates a child's imagination like nothing else. --Andrew Roberts, The Sunday Times 2005

Our Island Story is a marvellous antidote to the fractured, incoherent history most primary school childen are taught today. It chimes with the Prince of Wales's campaign to restore narrative and chronology to history teaching and has been endorsed by Antonia Fraser, one of our leading historians, who says the book has earned her lifelong gratitude. --John Clare, Education Editor, The Daily Telegraph

Book Description

First published in 1905, this beautifully written narrative sets out the history of Britain in a way that has delighted and enthused children for generations.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By MRS DEM SCOTT on 24 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book at Christmas for my nine year old and was pleased to find that my eleven year old was captivated by it too. We enjoy reading books out loud as a family and this book makes a great read for sharing. Don't expect it to 'tie-in' with the random topic based school history curriculum, this book is a consecutive account that unashamedly includes an element of myth and magic.I don't think that my children had realised that a clear understanding of the English/ British succession was within their intellectual grasp before hearing this engaging narrative.Furthermore all those Edwards,Henrys and the rest now have a relevance in their minds that was not there before. My children can now see a clear causal link between that subject called 'history' and that thing called 'politics'. Sometimes it takes an exciting story to awaken knowledge and bring it to life. The book covers a very broad sweep of British history and I would recommend it for families to share.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jay Morovski on 9 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Our Island Story is truly exceptional. I remember my grandfather reading me this book when I was younger, and being fascinated by what is truly a great narrative of British history. Now reading it to my friend's children, both they (and I!) feel the same. History is suddenly exciting; even the TV is less attractive!! What is more, this new edition has been supplemented with brilliant illustrations that really brings the book alive in their minds. I can only say, buy it!
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95 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Blake Morley on 13 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
'In this book you will find the story of the people of Britain', writes the author. She continues: 'The story tells how they grew to be a great people, till the little green island set in the lonely sea was no longer large enough to contain them.'
This is big, bold sweeping history, at once charmingly simple and accessible for children and sufficiently courteous and informative for adults. HE Marshall guides us through from the earliest myths about Albion and Brutus through to the death of Queen Victoria, taking in wars and rebellions, tyrants and outlaws, treachery and love, the evolution of our liberal democracy and the deaths of those who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today. With a deftness of tone that most writers can only dream of, Marshall's prose is equal to the challenge of expressing tenderness for the Princes in the Tower, and pride for Boadicea - 'the Romans', she points out, 'did not understand that many of the women of Britain were as brave and as wise as the men, and quite as difficult to conquer.' It is unashamedly proud without ever sounding arrogant. We learn how all sorts of great moments or phrases have passed into our folklore and idiom - such as 'England expects' - and all is rendered with an impressive sense of chronological cohesion.
Which is of course topical and explains why this glossy centenary edition has been republished. At a time of great anxiety about how poor is the teaching of history in our schools, how it has become fragmentary and partial, this book shows just how history could foster a shared sense of national identity.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Civitas have done this nation a great service in reprinting this beautifully written history of Britain. At a time when even Gordon Brown is questioning the very meaning of 'Britishness', this enchanting book provides us with a tale of a nation we should all be proud of.
It is the perfect antidote to the lifeless, fragmented history that most children receive today. With its spledid narrative and enticing characters, 'Our Island Story' should be a big hit with children and parents alike.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gemma Denison on 6 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
Even if you've already got the hardback edition of Our Island Story, this new paperback version truly is a keepsake worth buying. The publishers have really put the icing on the cake with this edition by taking a series of glorious paintings from the Palace of Westminster to illustrate H.E Marshall's magical retelling of history. These surprisingly sharp and colourful reproductions will undoubtedly delight children and adults alike with their sumptuous detail.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By sir_isaac_newton on 12 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently bought this for my son, having read reviews in the Daily Telegraph, which helped underwrite the recent re-introduction of this previously out of print classic. The Mirror & other newspapers have also written rave reviews about this book. In a nut shell, here are the things I like about this book:
- it is beautifully written with simple, image filled prose.
- the stories are short, unusual, colourful and upliftingly positive. I read 2 or 3 stories to my son each evening. I find it at least as interesting as my son, perhaps even more so -- but he loves it too; I thought he was not listening at first but he is, intently even as he plays while I read it to him. He is old enough now that he could read this large-ish type book himself but I want to read this one.
- it provides a useful high-level history of Britain for young children to build on. It is fast paced rather than getting bogged down in detail, moral dilemmas, etc. -- it provides a single, simple, view point that I think works best way for young children.
- it is illustrated with very attractive period color images that are better than one normally encounters.
- the book is well printed and bound (something I look for increasingly).
- for a book written 100 years ago, it is surprising up to date with regards to sex-equality (the author was a woman, born in Scotland, that grew up in England and later lived in America...and possibly Australia?).
Interesting they re-issued it with the shorter American version of the title. No matter.
Note: The Daily Telegraph and its readers are funding free copies of this book for British Primary Schools through an 3rd party organisation, Civitas.
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