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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2004
In order to tell the story of the English monarchy, David Starkey starts from the Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar. This first volume ends with the early Norman kings of Britain, William the Conqueror and his sons William Rufus and Henry. Starkey succeeds brilliantly in bringing to life the men and women who shaped this period of history: politicians, plotters, butchers, and saints alike. Offa, Alfred the Great, Edward the Confessor, William the Conqueror and many others, all emerge as individuals with their own personalities, ambitions, and agendas. This is a short book, and provides an excellent introduction to this period of English history. My only regret on finishing it is that the second volume is not yet published.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I will not comment on the content of the material except to say that I thought it superb (and cannot wait for volume 2 for the missing bit). However, regarding the audio CD I did find the pitch of Tim Pigott-Smith's voice irritating as the volume dipped and rose constantly as if he were reading a thriller or horror story. I listened to this audio CD on my Creative Zen and even with the volume on maximum some (parts of) words kept falling out of clear hearing range. I also suspect, due to the intonation that Tim Pigott-Smith gave to some sentences, that he was not familiar with the order of the monarchs. In view of the quality of the writing it is a pity that a better reader could not be found. The Monarchy of England: Beginnings v. 1
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2009
This is an excellent product which I throughly enjoyed listening to. But please note that the Amazon product description is slightly deceptive. It says that; "The last king featured in this volume is Henry VI." whereas in fact the fourth CD ends in the reign of Henry I. The next audiobook volume currently available (narrated by Jim Norton) starts with the Tudors so there is something of a gap (about 400 years !)which seems to be unavailable on CD audiobook.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Pre-Tudor English history can seem daunting for many, and Dr Starkey has succeeded in producing a great introductory book for those who show a want to understand more about our glorious past - simply a must for the armchair historian.
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35 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2004
I have admired David Starkeys' previous TV work and books, based on his deep and expert knowledge of Tutor politics. However, this new TV series and book display serious shortcomings. It has been apparent in his delivery on TV that he is not a generalist and has been unable to show much passion for information given. In fact he seemed distinctly ill at ease with much of his input.
The book shows a desperately thin amount of information and argument and compared with his previous work is very disappointing. Perhaps this is the problem with authors being given lucrative extended contracts who then have to pontificate on areas not really within their capabilities. This is by a distance a severe blot on his reputation and a long way from his best work.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2012
Another gift for the amazing Rayleen (my wife). Again I was worried about the quality of the product I was purchasing online.
And again Amazon has not let me down. They have provided a great product at an Amazonazing price.
I recommend David Starkey to anyone wanting to learn more about British history.
Thanks again.
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on 7 April 2015
Excellent
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