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This Sceptred Isle: Twentieth Century (BBC) Paperback – 28 Sep 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140276017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140276015
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,003,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

To form a view of where Britain is at today, and indeed when it has been here before, take a look at This Sceptred Isle--Twentieth Century, sequel to the award-winning earlier text This Sceptred Isle,covering the Romans to Queen Victoria. The writer is a specialist in contemporary and military history who has aimed this book specifically at the general reader. The style is almost conversational and the comment circumspect, taking care to view actions in the context of their times. Organised chronologically, chapters on each decade are sub-divided into a section for each year, so that the book may be used as a reference tool and need not necessarily be read cover to cover--beneficial in what is a long text not broken by illustrations.

The coverage includes major world events and extends to sport, the arts and medicine. Also recorded are diverting details of everyday life, such as the appearance of the board game Monopoly and the first advertisement on British television. Containing more fact than philosophy, presenting opinions without being opinionated and taking the spin out of politics, Twentieth Century reports 100 years of unrest and fast-paced change and yet clearly expresses that our problems are not new and that in some significant ways the 20th century ends as it began. --Karen Tiley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Oct. 2000
Format: Hardcover
Listeners to Radio 4 will hardly need introducing to this book, which outlines the principal events of UK history in the 20th Century in a highly readable way. Originally broadcast during 1999, this is a worthy sequel to the original epic serial which covered the period from the Romans to Victoria.
This is a book written for a general audience, and readers should not expect dazzling new insights, or learned discussion of great events. However, as a (fairly conventional) overview of the last 100 years it will be enjoyed by many.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By anozama on 28 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Christopher Lee is a Cambridge History Fellow and was previously a BBC foreign affairs correspondent, and a prolific playwright.

He has created an extremely easy to read, interesting and enjoyable British history. Volume 1 covers 55 BCE to 1901 and this volume 1901-1999. He describes and explains all the key events, conveys a great depth of understanding, and brings the characters to life along the way.

Reasoned, succinct, illuminating, this is superb popular history
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss Day on 17 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book so much I bought one for my Mum as well. I liked the format of the book which made it really easy to dip in and out of. The book has a few pages maximum for each year with some condensed information. Each year had more about what was happening in the politics of the country rather than pop culture which I felt was appropriate but sometimes it was a little boring. Overall I would highly recommend as a fun and easy way to find out more about the 20th century and this I almost guarantee you will.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
What a marvelous experience! 22 Sept. 2009
By Christopher Richards - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I missed the audio broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Christopher Lee makes twentieth-century British history easily accessible. The book is organized by year, so the reader doesn't have to start at the beginning. However, I read it from cover-to-cover in just a few days.

In the introduction Lee talks about his own fascination with the stories his grandfather and grand-uncles told him. As I read this book, I pictured my own grandfather as a boy in Victoria's army in India. He lived with us when I was a boy and was full of stories. I imagined the tribulations of my father in the great depression. But to see the geopolitical forces that shaped the British experience is nothing short of amazing.

This book sharpens previously fuzzy perspectives. This is not the only Christopher Lee book I shall read.
first listened to the audible 1979-1999 portion...& it was the most terrifying and engaging "children's" bk ever 14 Oct. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that from kindergarten onward, I grew up amidst an odd array (some might even call "Insomnia," "Skeleton Crew," Patricia Cornwell books, and the likes, "grossly inappropriate") auidio books for children, so I have a high standard for what I consider "terrifying" or for that matter, "engaging" children's and/or audio books. However, the audible version of this starts out with high-pitched children saying the selection (1979-1999) is from a children's broadcast series....then, the book immediately segways into an adult narrating the most dystopian, high-level vocabulary, and engaging story I think I've ever read/heard.

Totally not what I was expecting. It was midnight and I was driving my car through a desolate portion of desert and very nearly crashed it during the first 2:30 minutes of the book. I ended up having to only listen to the book on the morning commute, because it would catch me off guard too often. Eventually, I had to buy the book, because I felt compelled to try to take notes on the audio portion and that does not go well with driving.

I haven't been able to review the book thoroughly yet, but the audible version is an excellent and informative source. It gives a variety of perspectives, integrated into an interesting (and terrifying) narrative, at least for 1979-1999. I, too, will be reading more by this author and from this series.
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