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Real Britannia
 
 

Real Britannia [Kindle Edition]

Colin Brown
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Review

Barely a page fails to yield some colourful historical nugget. --Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph on Whitehall

Brown is a cheerful guide - full of anecdotes and observations. --The Guardian on Whitehall

Shortlisted for Total Politics Best Political History of the Year

“Absolutely fascinating… It will ignite many debates over pub tables up and down the land.” David Cameron

‘In a most seductive way [Brown] induces you to accompany him on his visits to Tilbury for Queen Elizabeth’s Armada speech, to Hougoumont for Waterloo, to Park Hospital in Trafford, the birthplace of the NHS… and surprises and astounds in equal measure by what he has unearthed… Riveting [and] a fantastic way to become passionately immersed in our island story.’ Barry Sheerman MP, The House

‘Brown investigates the truth behind major events in British history, taking in the Battle of Waterloo, the Falklands and the suffragettes… to create a vivid picture.’ Big Issue

Book Description

Acclaimed author and veteran political reporter Colin Brown travels to the places where British history was made to unearth what makes this nation truly great. Was the longbow behind the landmark victory at Azincourt, or was it just that the English are better in mud? Did Queen Elizabeth I, a master of spin, know the Armada had capitulated when she drafted one of history’s most inspiring speeches? Who should be given credit – or blame – for today’s NHS? Was the Falklands War proof of Mrs Thatcher’s steely resolve or a grasping imperial folly? Was David Cameron right in announcing 1940 as Britain’s proudest year? Or should we give more due to the suffragette movement, the abolition of slavery, and the sealing of the Great Charter, Magna Carta, and its role in securing the rights of citizens – watershed events for democracy, but all with secret stories to share? These moments are among the top candidates to be Britain’s proudest year, in terms of both their historical legacy and their public following. Yet, befitting the politics of history-making, each was crafted by the propaganda artists of the day. To uncover the truth, it takes an intrepid reporter willing to squeeze around barbed wire, get down in the mud and take tea with a former War Cabinet minister. From the famous Battle of Waterloo to Brixham in Devon (the site of another, somewhat lesser known glorious episode), Colin Brown shows us the events and characters we believe we know so well – but how much of what we know is the truth?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1383 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Nov 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009KO1EA2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #189,156 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A blunder by the PM D Cameron in America was the inspiration for my third book, Real Britannia. He said Britain had been the 'junior partner' to the US in 1940 whereas the US didn't enter the war until Pearl Harbour in December 1941. He said 1940 was still our proudest year but that caused another row. YouGov then ran a poll on which is "our proudest year?". The results made ten chapters that fascinated me, and took me all over Britain and parts of N France with loads of surprises - such as Magna Carta is not quite how it seems, Agincourt was not won by the Longbow but by the mud and the archers' "bollock" knives, and Churchill commissioned the report in the depths of World War 2 that was to lead to the birth of the NHS....under Labour.
I've been in the Westminster village for 30 years for the Guardian, the Indy from its launch in 1986, the Indy on Sunday, the Sunday Telegraph, and the Indy again. I've also authored a biography of John Prescott, before he took office in the Blair government, which was also full of surprises. Then an historical biography of a street and some of the people who passed through including Lady Caroline Lamb and Lord Nelson. It is Whitehall - the Street that Shaped a Nation, which stemmed from JP's offices in the historic centre of Whitehall including Admiralty House.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, and full of detail. 26 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover
Having enjoyed the author's Whitehall: The Street That Shaped a Nation I was looking forward to securing a copy of his latest, an engaging and well-argued trawl through 10 tipping-point moments in our nation's history. Neither fashionably dismissive nor blimpishly triumphant, Colin Brown uncovers the inevitable falsehoods but leaves the magic largely intact: Britons may not be perfect, but we have an authentically great past. The wealth of detail and research is particularly impressive, so much so that the sheer readability of the finished book must be considered this author's major achievement.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT FOR EVERYONE BUT I LOVED IT 17 Oct 2013
By Clive
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As history is my 'thing's, and I thought that I already knew much the stuff in this book, I bought it with modest expectations. I did Colin Brown a huge disservice. This book has ten, fairly lengthy, chapters, each focussing on a particular event in history that has had a profound influence on the making of 'Britain'. They run from 1215 right up to today and it surprised me that I enjoyed the post 1900 chapters the most, probably because I know less about this period than earlier history.
What really staggered me is the Stygian depth of research evident on every page, leading to a richness in story telling beyond anything that I can recall having the pleasure of experiencing before. This tremendous texture extends beyond the issue itself to encompass the people and places around that issue and is so accurately guaged as to always remain relevant and fascinating. We are often told that the only way to engage today's youth in history is to bring it to life and ' make it real'. Well, this book is no dry and dusty history text book. In fact, it's hardly history at all as, in every chapter, for me it was happening now, in real time, and I was right there.
There's something else that sets Mr Brown appart and that's his willingness to present all the facts, conjecture and speculation and then offer his own opinion. Particularly in later chapters, that opinion is extremely insightful and his lifetime of work as a political journalist and commentator delivers clear dividends. If this is how .all 'political jocks' can write, then I hope that more of them take it up.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring read 13 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I found Colin Brown's Real Britannia a fascinating read. I enjoyed the inclusion of personal anecdotes of his visits to sites that were important to the dates under discussion. This isn't a dry text book but a highly engaging account of key periods of British history that I found myself quoting to friends and family. It has made me realise my knowledge of British history is seriously lacking and inspired me to read further.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real history! 16 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Colin Brown's account of what really happened on those dates that every school pupil is supposed to learn by heart is very readable and presents the stories in an exciting manner. He gives references so he isn't making it all up!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Geoffrey's thoughts 4 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I saw this book in Cardiff Airport. I didn't want to pay full price and the print was too small for me, so I bought the kindle edition. It is well written and interesting, giving quite a lot of facts throughout that I didn't personnally know. (Whether that is saying much is not for me to say). However, the author states that his book is 'the truth behind ten defining events in British history' which is a bold and almost impossible claim to live up too or to prove. I thought it got better as it went on, as facts nine and ten were within his life time, and he obviously had particular inside knowledge of the build-up to the Falklands War as he was a political correspondent for 39 years. Well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars something to show Mr Gove 7 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ever been had ? History cannot lie? Colin Brown shows that we need to think again. The contents are as attractive as the title!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Facinating stuff! 19 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Plenty of interesting and well researched insights into truth or otherwise of some key events in our history. It's well written too! Enjoyed it and would recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars history is not quite how you imagined it to be 8 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
good read
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well researched and entertainingly presented.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars missed opportunity
A very enjoyable read but I was disappointed at the author's treatment of 1940 which is apparently ranked No1. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alexandra Tavernier
5.0 out of 5 stars entertaining and insightful
Having history in bite size pieces allows this author to interrogate and drill down to specific, and arguably, iconic points in our past and in doing so often contradicts our... Read more
Published 4 months ago by donv
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting short history of Britain
An interesting short history of Britain. It puts your own life in context with history. How short a time do we live.
Published 5 months ago by Sally Waltham
5.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent but pertinent
I enjoyed this very much mainly because it is funny while exploring serious matters. No one is safe if they are pulling the wool. It gives a new perspective on well known events. Read more
Published 5 months ago by lin Partridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and entertaining
If you want to understand the country you live in and finally understand why the US values the Magna Carta higher than we do, read this. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bristol John
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting in depth evaluation of historical significance.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and it was very insightful on its topics. The Author made very good links with the events of the past and it's bearing on us today. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Peter Langridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
As a book it's a great read. Perhaps you won't agree with the authors points or the moments he has chosen but there are some great small details, the sort of thing you can throw... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Pr Overend
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much fresh information.
Interesting book especially about king John and Churchill in 1940 but the rest was fairly standard stuff with very little fresh insight.
Published 6 months ago by Mr Geoff Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars SHOULD BE READ IN ALL SCHOOLS
AN EXCELLENT, SUPERBLY RESEARCHED UNIQUE INCITE INTO THE HISTORY THAT SHAPED BRITAIN, IRELAND AND EUROPE

I BOUGHT THIS BOOK TO DIP INTO WHILST ON HOLIDAY, BUT COULDN'T... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Howard W.
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