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This Sceptred Isle (BBC Radio Collection) [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Christopher Lee
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition 8.99  
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Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, 16 Sep 1999 --  
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Book Description

16 Sep 1999 BBC Radio Collection
The award-winning story of Britain, from the arrival of Julius Caesar in 55BC to the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Christopher Lee's history of Britain provides the definitive radio account of the events and personalities that have shaped our nation. From foreign invasions and war to economic crises and social revolution, this is a compelling journey through centuries of dramatic change.

This handsome box set, available on cassette and CD, contains all ten volumes in the series as well as a special eleventh cassette about the making of the programmes, in which the series' creator Christopher Lee talks to the radio producer Pete Atkin.

Narrated by Anna Massey, and featuring extracts from Sir Winston Churchill's A History of the English-speaking Peoples read by Peter Jeffrey, This Sceptred Isle is absorbing, informative and essential history.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (16 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563553162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563553168
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 15.2 x 11.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,803,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Wonderful…This Sceptred Isle has provided one of the greatest treats for listeners in recent years.' -- Paul Donovan, Sunday Times.

Book Description

Fully updated volume charting 2000 years of British history from best-selling author Christopher Lee --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British History for the common man ! 22 Jun 1999
By A Customer
If you are the kind of person for whom the word history evokes memories of dusty old school rooms and dull-as-ditchwater lessons taught by equally dull and dusty old men, then "This Sceptred Isle" is just the antidote you need. Based on Churchill's Nobel prizewinning "History of the English-speaking People" and covering the period from the first Roman visit to these shores up until the death of Victoria, the longest reigning monarch, this book is the best introduction to British history imaginable. The style is light and conversational without being superficial and the liberal use of passages from the great man himself as well as contemporary sources lend the book added interest and authority. A slight criticism is that the geneological trees in the back of the book could have been a bit more extensive and a useful addition would have been a set of time lines or a year-by year summary such as that contained in "The Oxford History of Britain", however, these are minor quibbles. "This Sceptred Isle" is not the definitive text but is a superb primer that gives the reader a clear and detailed overview so that they can decide which period they can focus on next. The layout stresses the gradual nature and continuity of historical developments mixing politics with the social history, science and philosophies of the age. All the famous historical figures are here along with some you may not have heard of but who nevertheless made essential contributions to the development of the nation. Who first proposed the idea of cabinet government ? And in whose reign ? Where do we get the office of the Exchequer from and which monarch started it ? When did the sinking of the White Ship occur and why was it such a disaster for Henry I ? Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better 4 Jun 2012
By Tiki
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To be fair this is not a bad book; but it could so easily be better. To begin with, it appears to have escaped the attention of a good proof reader, because it is littered with errors. For the most part these are grammatical and punctuation mistakes, which are irritating and interfere with the flow of the work, but some are factual and really inexcusable in a published work of this nature. On page 421, for example, there is a reference to the Battle of Trafalgar, where the date is given (inaccurately) as 21 September 1805, whilst on page 428, a further reference to the battle correctly gives the date as 21 October 1805. On page 412 there is a mention of the Irish lawyer and politician, Daniel O'Connell, who also appears on page 451, where he is called David O'Connell. It is quite clearly the same person, because on each of the pages the dates 1775-1847 appear immediately after the name. On page 566 it says: "...the important British political moment at the start of the 1920s was the appearance, for the first time, of the Labour Party as Her Majesty's Opposition...". The fact is that there was a king on the throne at this time and it was His Majesty's Opposition. A less egregious error perhaps than the two others quoted but something that ought to have been picked up before the presses were allowed to roll.

Leaving aside the sloppy editing, the other way in which this book could be improved, without too much effort, is by the inclusion of a few maps and diagrams. The six hundred pages of this volume contain not one illustration. This betrays its origins as a series of radio programmes, where pictures are admittedly superfluous. But it doesn't follow that in translating the work for publication as a book it is acceptable to take the same approach.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing 30 Dec 2009
Format:Library Binding
Having read the other reviews on this page I wonder if I perhaps listened to a different recdording to everyone else. I'm an avid student of British history, particularly the 18th and 19th centuries, and while I appreciate the weight of this work and the lively style of the recording, In see it more as a sequence of missed opportunities than anything else.

This is very much the old-fashioned style of history. If a fact isn't related to the royal family or the prime minister, then it seems it's not worth recounting. The first few volumes, before a real lineage of royalty and an enlightened age is established, are actually quite exciting, if a bit too focussed on battles. After that, the series rapidly devolves into a stuffy list of kings and queens. Who married whom, who bumped off whom, and so on. My medieval history is a bit vague, and I found it incredibly jarring when the narrators failed to talk about what language the people were speaking, what religion the people were outside of court, and when they mentioned great feats of architecture such as the parliament buildings, without ever mentioning when, how or why they were built, and who by. Similar occurences can be found throughout this work - lots of assumed knowledge.

There is absolutely nothiing notewworthy here on socio-economic history, philosophy or art. This is a massive history of Britian that does not mention Chaucer, Johnson or Dickens. This is an in-depth history of Britain that mentions Shakespeare only once - in direct reference to a plot to overthrow the king. The Georgian period skirts around the Napoleonic Wars, giving it two CDs when many other periods had three.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings
I found the writing and style of this book rather childish and at times irritating.

It does have its merits in combining comment, large chucnks of Churchill's Nobel... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Peter Steward
5.0 out of 5 stars Devoured
This series of cds has been listened to repeatedly in the car and has enhanced my understanding of history even if it is orientated towards Kings and Queens. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Colin Banks
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary book
Necessary for all lovers of British history. Also good for people who are beginners at British history and wantt to know more
Published 5 months ago by Erla
5.0 out of 5 stars The best history read for the UK
I keep reading this for reference and it inspired me to get the audio tapes as well. Your own history is a pretty good story.
Published 5 months ago by Jim Collier
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book A must read
Clear concise and gripping.This edition is even better than the previous. A valid contribution to the historical selection of books available.
Published 6 months ago by D E Combes
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good summary of the development of the British Isles
The book is a summary of a vast period of time and many events. If you require detail you may be disappointed but it sets out the historic chronology of kings, wars and events of... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Andrew Ogden
3.0 out of 5 stars A good, easy to read history of Britain
Having read other books on the history of Britain I found this book a bit simplistic, wanting a lot more depth into the historical events that interested me.
Published 18 months ago by J A Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars A big book which scratches the surface of the subject
This book does. What it says on the cover and gives a history of great Britain from the earliest days to today built I am left with the feeling that it tries to cover to much... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars Gallop through British history with this book
I was familiar with much of British history, however, I sometimes struggled to remember what happened in what order. This book gives an excellent overview of the British history. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Stepas
5.0 out of 5 stars Sceptered isle in
Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to read this book it is stored by for rainy days. But I managed to down load it safely.
Published 22 months ago by patricia
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