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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive and fascinating
This is more or less the only available general history of Britain in the eighteenth century. Mr. O'Gorman is professor of history at Manchester University and is writing for students and other academics. He has clearly read the entire literature on the subject and refers frequently to it, and a feature of the book is his weighing up of opposing viewpoints.
The...
Published on 13 Jan. 2005 by conjunction

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Life is too short
I was intrigued by the high ratings given by other reviewers, but found solice in their belief that this book was not for the faint hearted, and that it was indeed somewhat heavy going. I read history at university and teach organisational studies and the economics of education at university level so dense texts are nothing new, but I found this work poorly structured...
Published on 30 Jun. 2010 by Dr Greville Rumble


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comprehensive and fascinating, 13 Jan. 2005
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This review is from: The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History 1688-1832 (Arnold History of Britain) (Paperback)
This is more or less the only available general history of Britain in the eighteenth century. Mr. O'Gorman is professor of history at Manchester University and is writing for students and other academics. He has clearly read the entire literature on the subject and refers frequently to it, and a feature of the book is his weighing up of opposing viewpoints.
The style of the book is to chop the period up into three or four segments and then go through each segment three times, looking in turn at political, social and other aspects. This can be wearisome particularly to the general reader such as myself, but the result is a thoroughly thought through and comprehensive understanding of the period. You have to really want to understand how the social aspects, of say working class movement for reform or the influence of the movement for catholic emancipation worked in with the political juggling of Canning and Peel to really enjoy this book, but if you do it works a treat.
At times I felt Mr. O'Gorman's enthusiastic juggling of the different strands leads to unintentional obscurity - some sentences I just could not figure out, and it can be irritating when he repeatedly refers to events without explaining them because he doesn't do that until the next chapter. Also if you want blow by blow accounts of the Napoleonic wars or the glories of our foreign policy you need to read a more traditional history, here you just get enough to produce a balanced account of life in Britain and the general development of our country.
On balance a readable, enthusiastic, balanced and comprehensive history of a fascinating period.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Life is too short, 30 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History 1688-1832 (Arnold History of Britain) (Paperback)
I was intrigued by the high ratings given by other reviewers, but found solice in their belief that this book was not for the faint hearted, and that it was indeed somewhat heavy going. I read history at university and teach organisational studies and the economics of education at university level so dense texts are nothing new, but I found this work poorly structured. The author also assumes prior knowledge. For example, there is an early reference to the Junto - but no explanation as to what this group was. I don't necessarily want to run to the internet to check a fact out. For all the evident scholarship of the author, this was heavy going and life is too short. In the end I threw it in the pile that is on its way to a second hand bookshop and turned with pleasure to the much better written Land of Liberty? England 1689-1727 by Julian Hoppit (New Oxford History of England). Yes, I know that I will have to read several volumes to cover the ground that Professor O'Gorman covers in a single volume, but the at least I might enjoy the process. So frankly I wouldn't recommend this book either to the general reader interested in the history of England, or even to an undergraduate student.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars University standard!, 18 Jun. 2009
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This review is from: The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History 1688-1832 (Arnold History of Britain) (Paperback)
A highly detailed book. Not for the faint hearted, but a good academic book well suited to history students.
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