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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Perspective on a Complex Period, 12 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Reign of George III: 1760-1815 (Oxford History of England) (Hardcover)
Mr Watson was not a prolific historian, but as his thirty page annotated bibliography reveals, he certainly seems to know his period. He writes with a command of detail which somehow makes you feel he is writing from memory (and enthusiasm) without having to look up his facts. This enthusiasm extends as much to fine detail in techniques of spinning, or to the manufacture of iron and steel as it does to a measured but appreciative critical eye cast over the Romantic poets, all considered in the context of the change and development of the time.

My reason for taking up this volume was first an interest in Pitt, who is the central character, but also in the politics of the ensuing decade or so; I wanted to know more about Canning and Castlereagh. The latter's achievements emerge fairly clearly, but I didn't learn much about Canning, except that he was excitable, interested in reform, and fell out with Castlereagh, among others. I'm not sure I learned of any of his achievements in this volume. He does not, for example, make it clear that Canning was responsible for the planning of the bombardment of Copenhagen.

However in his writing on Pitt Watson excels himself. There is a tendency to hero worship statesmen, or to belittle them, and the Pitts have had at least their share of this treatment from historians. However perspective is Watson's hallmark and we get a good picture of Pitt as a radical whose radicalism was always subservient to his desire to maintain consensus at a time of crisis.

An unusual feature of the book is the dismissal of a number of foreign monarchs as `lunatic', `mad' etc without further embellishment. I don't mind this, but it's unusual in a historian. In fact considering the complexity of his task Watson manages to be as readable as any serious historian, if not more so.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It is what I wanted and expected, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: The Reign of George III: 1760-1815 (Oxford History of England) (Hardcover)
The Oxford History of England is a well known and useful basis for the study of English History It is what it is. Authors of individual volumes are all well known historical authorities. They have done a good job.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic History, 3 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Reign of George III: 1760-1815 (Oxford History of England) (Hardcover)
George III, history starts to become interesting again after the Whig hegemony. We are on the cusp of the modern world, and Steven Watson's book is a really good general introduction to this period
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 23 July 2014
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This review is from: The Reign of George III: 1760-1815 (Oxford History of England) (Hardcover)
Would definitely recommend! Excellent condition for a second-hand book.
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The Reign of George III: 1760-1815 (Oxford History of England)
The Reign of George III: 1760-1815 (Oxford History of England) by J. Steven Watson (Hardcover - 26 Mar 1963)
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