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on 20 November 2010
Buyers please note, this volume brings together two previously published works under the title Monarchy. The cynic in me says this is a clever ploy as it's not overly obvious on the cover.
Starkey is very readable, perhaps surprisingly so, this isn't heavy or dry and is in fact an easy read. Perhaps too easy. At times I felt he was glossing over too much, the book rattles along at quite a pace without much depth or time being given to any one period. Great for schoolchildren as the previous post said, gives you all the dates and names, but for in depth detail I'm afraid this book will leave you wanting.
Again agree with previous post, there are some factual errors here, very surprising, inexcusable really and would hope they are corrected when this goes to paperback.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 April 2015
This is a rapid high level account of British politics and monarchy over 2,000 years. I recommend it for people who are relatively new to the subject or who have only a passing interest. If you already have a reasonable knowledge of the subject or want a thorough treatment you may find it too insubstantial. In many places it is obvious that important details have been skipped or summarised and there are many excellent books which give much more depth. For those who like audio I recommend This Sceptred Isle, a much more comprehensive account full of quotes from primary sources.

On the positive side, Crown and Country is clear and easy to read and, whatever you think of the author's style, his judgement is first rate. I actually heard him on the Today Programme today, the very day that I happened to finish the book, insisting that his commentary on Magna Carta must be sound because he is a "great historian". I am not an expert but I suspect that this and most of the other points in his book are indeed sound.

The book comprises about 60% summary, 10% reference to sources and 30% commentary. It is this last 30% where the quality of the book shines. He gives fascinating insight, mostly in the first half of the book, into the origins of the British style of politics and the ways in which Britain's path diverged from the continent. As the book progresses the insight seems to get thinner and the feeling grows that important details are being skimmed over. I found little new or insightful in the discussion of Queen Victoria and after her the account descended into trivial (which is perhaps a reflection of the reality).

This book is a reissue of two former books combined into one and it may be worth getting just the first book which I found the most insightful.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 January 2014
This single volume history covers the defining events in England since Roman times. As expected this is history told through the stories of the kings and queens of each era, and traces the lines which link our present monarachy back to the Norman conquest and beyond.

The writing style is easy to follow, and the family trees are very helpful in helping to understand the various successions and fueds over the years. Inevitably, in a 500 page book which covers some 2000 years, each monarch and their times are covered rather briefly(for example only the first three of Henry VIII's wives are mentioned) but this book does show how it all links together and gives a good feel for the development of English history and life.
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on 2 July 2011
I have read a few books on various English kings. This book does a great role of piecing them all together without getting boggled down on a certain reign or time period.

It gives a high level overview of a monarch's reign and their high-lights and it achieves this in equilibrium across each reign. That includes no additional coverage for Agincourt or Crecy for example and i couldn't detect any favouritism.

The book read's easy and flows very well, this would appeal to the causal reader like myself, but maybe not the more learned historian who probably knows all the coverage already or the pedantic historian, who may pick up on a date or a individuals name spelt incorrectly.

Highly recommended, informative read.
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on 21 June 2013
Very cross - the diagrams do not diplay on the Kindle or on my Knidle for PC. something I have noticed with great annoyance lately in other purchases- If you are going to sell books in this format it really isn't good enough if they don't work correctly and as of now each time this happens I will take the time to point it out- if I bought a new book from a shop and the opening pages were torn out I would take it back...
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I have to confess to being a little bit disappointed with this, although I suspect that probably comes from having more than the usual familiarity with the history of the British monarchy. As a primer or an introduction to the subject, I have no doubt it would be very good. But I found it a little too lacking in depth. Its scope is admirable, and I was pleased for once to find a book that traces the history of the monarchy beyond 1066 and William the Conqueror. But the flipside of tracing such a lengthy period of history is that it only really scratches the surface.

Added to that is the fact that it is essentially serving a dual purpose - a history of the monarchy as an institution and a history of the monarchs themselves. Being very familiar with the history of Britain's monarchs, I was hoping for more of an analysis of what makes Britain's monarchy unique, how it survived and evolved, where it is heading. I found this book didn't focus enough on that aspect for me. Perhaps it could almost have been separated in two volumes?
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on 12 April 2013
I bought this item to gain more of an understanding about the progression of the British monarchy throughout the ages. It does a very good job of filling in the blanks about some of the periods in our history with which I was less familiar and provides interesting anecdotes about the more famous monarchs along the way. The style in which the author narrates the book is actually very engaging and was the right way to go about it in my opinion. Some readers may expect a different narrative style if they are used to reading other books in this genre.
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on 17 August 2015
There's plenty of material to make a fascinating narrative in English history, and this book mainly tells it well. There are a few areas that Starkey has glossed over, notably Henry VIII's later wives, and a few areas where his own opinion intrudes. I enjoyed this, but would have to say that I preferred Simon Jenkins' Short History of England (which is, in truth, no shorter, no more Anglo-centric nor less informative about the Monarchy than Crown & Country).
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on 7 March 2013
My history knowledge is woeful, so I was looking for a book that would tell me the stories of ALL the monarchs. I could then buy books on individual monarchs if I wanted to know more. I found this and although I'm only a third of the way through it, I'm loving it. It's well written, and gives me exactly the level of detail I wanted at this stage of my......'education'. :-)

This book is a must if you want a potted history of English monarchs.
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on 21 March 2012
Superb. Easy to read and understand. Nobody does it better. Parts of history which are not easily understood become clear in Starkeys capable writing. Starkey and the Tudors are as one but to produce such an expansive volume on the English monarchy shows what a master of history he is. Reading Crown and Country is a must for those whose knowledge of history before the Tudors and after William and Mary, is woolly. As an academic subject of study history was way down the list but David Starkey has rekindled the interest. This book has broadened that study to discover more about the early kings and queens of England before the Tudors.
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