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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good non-Anglocentric history of the British Isles
Davies writes a superb book which is a wonderful antedote to all the horrendous old anglocentric histories I remember reading years ago. In my opinion Davies correctly emphasises the importance of all the constituent parts of the Isles. The book begins by examining the prehistory of the isles and I note that one other reviewer states that he felt this chapter to be a...
Published on 21 Mar. 2007 by Mike J. Wheeler

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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but a limited idea of what history is.
With this his latest book Norman Davies has set the seal on his claim to be the foremost popular British historian of our times. This makes it all the more unfortunate that he perpetuates the old idea history is nothing more than the history of the governing elite. That is the subject matter of this this book. The other 99% of the British and Irish peoples, and the...
Published on 8 Mar. 2000


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Again, a really excellent author, 16 Sept. 2013
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Have already given my review of Norman Davies, would thoroughly recommend him to anyone who wants to find out what really happened, rather than just someone's subjective opinion.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars History a pasion, 23 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Isles: A History (Paperback)
I have read "EUROPE: A history" by the same author and he had impressed me. I am very pleased with this book as well
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Birthday Present, 12 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Isles: A History (Paperback)
This was a very big book and quite heavy reading so did not tick all the boxes for my husband
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What would a future "Norman Davies" would say?, 10 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Isles: A History (Paperback)
"The isles" can be described, at best, as a half truth.

Mr. Davies debunks and destroys many myths that prevail about English history. He sets the record straight about the role of Wales Scotland and Ireland in English and British history. However, it seems that Mr. Davies ran out of steam by the time he got to the period of the British Empire. The British Empire crimes go unpublished in this book.

The British invented the concentration camp in the Boer wars.
The British were responsible for the death of an estimated thirty million Indians through starvation.
The methods the British used to put down the Indian revolt of 1857 were almost identical to those the Nazis used in the Warsaw uprising.
The British flooded china with opium, causing untold suffering and damage. When the Chinese government tried to ban the opium, the British declared war and brought china to its knees.

This is a very, very short list, and there are many, many more items.
This can be compared to writing the history of Germany during the Nazi years and leaving out what happened in Poland and Europe.

The sad thing about all this is that Mr. Davies is, arguably, the best historian out there today. I have read his "God's playground", "Europe", "Rising 44" and "No simple victory".
The man is a genius.
He has educated me and informed me on many issues in history. This is why I am so abysmally disappointed with this present work.
One is left to wonder why? Why become what you try to expose? Why write a book that would be refuted as "apologetic" by a future "Norman Davies" type historian?
Why?
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8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as much fun as Jane Austen's History of England, 7 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Isles: A History (Paperback)
Norman Davies is a peculiar writer. He goes to great lengths to impress upon us the legitimacy of the national myths of the so-called Celts (most of whom have a Germanic or Romance language as their mother tongue these days anyway). The English however were a frigid nasty universally despised lot from the beginning, who have never really existed anyway. So he says. When all is said and done, his attempts to deconstruct dubious historical terms and concepts is wholly laudable. Yet, he falls down in the way that many modern English people do, by replacing a belief in English-infallibility with a belief in English innate wickedness and original sin. It is ironic that, in his attempt to de-anglocentricise history, Davies never stops going on about the English. An enjoyable read but not as much fun as Jane Austen's History of England.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Isles: A History (Paperback)
No Comment No Comment No Comment
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book bad packaging, 29 May 2014
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This review is from: The Isles: A History (Paperback)
The book - paperback and quite thick - was in good condition. However this was a bit of a miracle as the flimsy grey plastic sleeve used as packaging was torn open so that the book was falling out. If there was any paperwork inside it, it was gone. Would have given 5 stars but for this.
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5 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstanding British History, 15 Mar. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Isles (Hardcover)
This book is an abject disapointment for any amateur historian wishing for a new insight into British history. The author babbles about the continental influence on British history, dedicating 40 consecutive pages at a time to the French or the Norwegians. However, he spends no pages looking at the macro-situation in the UK. A few casual references to Cornwall is all those of us wishing for an insight into British society can hope for. The book is a dismal failure on all levels.
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11 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 24 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Isles: A History (Paperback)
Right from the first chapter where the writer insists on using his own weakly imagined names for geographical areas that already have perfectly good ones, this book is nothing more than an opinionated amateur's view of British history. He admits in the introduction that he is not a trained historian and boy does it show.
Full of untested and unexplained assertions.
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