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The British: A Genetic Journey Hardcover – 5 Nov 2013

23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd; First Edition edition (5 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780270755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780270753
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'[O]ne of those books that are just about impossible to put down' --Sunday Express

'[A] new and revolutionary book, based on exciting new research […] a unique people's history' --Discover Your History

'Moffat has always been a magpie historian, picking up unsuspected jewels of information, at the same time never afraid to speculate, often in an agreeably provocative manner' --Alan Massie, Scotsman

'an engaging, beautifully-told people's history of Britain that will change your thinking about your family's origins forever' --Family Tree magazine

'a fascinating subject . . . Historian, journalist and DNA research company director makes for an excellent guide' --Your Family Tree

About the Author

Alistair Moffat was born and bred in the Scottish Borders. A former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television, he now runs the burgeoning Borders Book Festival as well as a production company based near Selkirk.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Russell N on 27 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a big let down. I expected its main theme to be an analysis of the British population based on genetic data, essentially explaining where the British had come from and what the genetic breakdown is.

In fact it is a rehash of the widely known and accepted history of Britain dressed up with incidental genetic information.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Elves on 1 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was particularly disappointing as a follow up to the far superior 'The Origins of the British' by Stephen Oppenheimer. There was very little genetic information contained in it, and while Moffat did manage to mention that tribes on both sides of the Channel had the same names, he failed to pick up on the point that most of those tribes were germanic - not Celtic. If you want to know where the British come from, this book is not likely to tell you too much.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Telemeter on 24 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the firs 20% of this book a hard slog. Maybe because I was expecting rather more and having been interested in British history I have read many original and interesting works. This book is entirely derivative which is forgivable but the first pa art is written in very poor journalistic style....so much so that it grated. Like a tabloid the author sometimes breathlessly invents things to 'engage' the reader...like how the Britons raced their chariots along the coast tracking the Roman fleet. Really? I think not.

Then it seems to get better, more facts and less artistic' license. Unfortunately, the facts turn out to be anything but. For example he assumes that the appearance of new pottery in the archaeological record has to indicate an invasion of new people. This was standard thought fifty years ago. The author is unaware that that is no longer so.

Similarly moving on in time he assumes the old view that Saxons came to England in post Roman times. Presumably he believes the origin myths of Hengist and Horsa being invited by Vortigern. He ignores the possibility that Saxons had long been in Britannia.

And so It goes on, this is a simplistic concoction of outdated ideas told at an increasing pace all through the book. All this is of course to interest you in what he has to sell. Unsurprisingly it turns out the author runs a genetic testing company. Nothing wrong in that, just remember that if your family ha roots in these isles that you are statistically almost certainly related to just about everyone that was alive here in 1200 and before and you do not need a genetic test to prove it.

There are great original books on the history of the peoples of Britain. For example, Britain BC and Britain AD by Francis Pryor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. Holmes on 6 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
The other two star reviews accurately sum up what is wrong with this book.

It is a mish mash of history, anecdote, speculation and some genetic material in that order. The first section is more enjoyable but even here the analysis and factual content is "lightened" by too much poetic license.

Possibly worth borrowing from the library but definitely not worth buying.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By marmar on 12 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not always accurate but a very interesting read. A lot of suppositions are given as facts. The book does take the reader on an interesting journey
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jem on 13 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this thinking it would be an update on Steve Walsh's 'Mapping the Human Genome'. It disappointed in this respect. More science and less potted history would have been welcome. And the celebrity examples towards the final chapters were unnecessary in my opinion.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By steve hall on 10 Jan. 2014
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A description of when and from where Britain was populated. It was interesting and I'm no expert but I did end with the feeling that we were getting a set of theories presented as facts
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LH Spaargaren-Wiggin on 7 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
...a bit long winded. The subject of this book is a really interesting topic, and mostly I enjoyed reading it. But there were sections that I found too long winded and I lost patience a bit. This was particularly where unfamiliar (ancient) place names and people's names were listed. It all got a bit monotonous...
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