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76 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well informed
I've been moved to review this item mainly in response to the only other review on this site having awarded it one star, and seemingly holding against Simon Schama personally the misguided and belligerant conduct of kings.

Certainly this work is a whirlwind tour of history. A lack of detail may be a partial downfall but this is inevitable when faced with the...
Published on 4 Mar. 2010 by R. P. Caulfield

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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very much like the curate's egg - good in parts
however:-
Despite considerable detail about the French component of the English nation in earlier chapters, along with the campaigns and consequences, the Hundred Years War only gets mentioned by name!
My main irritation however, and the complete spoiling of the book for me, is the fact that the first third is quite good, and the last third OK, but the middle...
Published on 12 April 2001


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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 Aug. 2014
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very good
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a Honest Book!, 2 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
Finally a Honest Book that tells it all. I have read alot of books about this then, and have not found such a good book. Being that a american living in the U.K. this book helped more for me to understand the rich history that is Britain.
Signed, American living for now in London, England.
P.S. LOVE ENGLAND LITTLE MORE THAN THOSE COLD STATES.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a thoughtful and intelligent look at British history, 28 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
As a history graduate I have to say I immensely enjoyed Schama's take on the history of Britain. Naturally, by covering such a wide period he had to make some sweeping statements but I very much approve of looking at our kingdom's history via kings and religion as these were fundamental to the times. Scotland and Wales were covered entirely appropriately and to try to look at past events through modern patriotism is inappropriate. Facts are facts and no amount of Blairite rewriting will alter them. Bravo Schama for daring to take his modern approach to make history more accessible to us all.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An efficent view of history, 19 Jun. 2013
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Studying archaeology, other aspects appeared from many quarters. Schama's book gives an excellent and useful amount of overview, explanation and background
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars schama's book is an unfortunate blunder, 24 Nov. 2000
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johanlouw5@hotmail.com (Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
Simon Schama is undoubtedly one of the great literary historians of the english speaking world. For this reason his History of Britain is all the more disappointing in its repetition of a fundamental error concerning the relationship of england to its conquered neighbours. He repeats the calumny of G.M. Trevelyan whose chapter on Scotland in the English Social History failed to give the northern kingdom full credit for its independent achievements. Why does someone as gifted as Schama continue to treat the Celtic fringe in this way? It is probably no more than academic laziness and insulting to people who, like myself, would rather see this island split into its natural constituencies. English cultural imperialism started as early as the 11th century with Malcolm Canmore's wife - a woman who preferred english to gaelic at court. Perhaps Dr. Schama would have been better served by restricting himself to producing a history of England instead of pretending to provide an objective account of three separate kingdoms.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 25 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
An interesting and well writen book, with beautiful illustrations. It was an entertaining read, though I did get the impression that there was little that was new, and that it was simelar to other histories, possibly out of necessity as Simon Schama galloped through nearly 3000 years.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Populist history at its best, 2 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
Come on, I am a Scot and I think Simon was pretty fair to us. He covers the Celtic wars, and the fact is that the respective histories of Celtic and German Britain are so completely intertwined you cannot cover one and fail to cover the other. So the long chapters on Tudor Britain contain alot about Mary Queen of Scots, for example... The whole of the first chapter is also on aboriginal Britons, focusing on Orkney.
This is great history writing, profound enough for those with an intellectual interest in the subject, and easy enough for those of us who are relatively new to the subject.
What new thoughts did Simon's narrative evoke in me? Well, when you look at the developing world, you will see precedents for all their social ills in our own society. We often think of ourselves as highly civilised and removed from nature, but when you read about the behaviour of Edward Longshanks, Henry the VIII or William Wallace, was it any different, in principle, from the behaviour of, say, a Sierra Leonian war lord? And our royal family are decendents of these people!!! History is about understanding human nature. If Simon Schama can provoke these sorts of thoughts and questions, then he is doing his job as a historian.
Plus, the narrative style makes a good read. Well done Simon, I think you have inherited the mantle of A.J.P Taylor.
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Old fashioned, but well done, English history, 8 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
Again, I have to agree with earlier reviews of this book; this is a history of England instead of a history of Britain. Prof Schama is an excellent historian but has fallen into the trap of see History almost purely in terms of Kings and Courtiers within Greater England. Disappointing - a bit like fast food, looks good but and in fact, very run of the mill, old fashioned and unsatisfying.
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8 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There are perhaps 10 million Non-English Britons......., 27 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
who wince everytime an Englishman appears to equate 'Britain' with England, and who appear to blur the edges of 'Britishness' versus 'Englishness'. Britain is a rich amalgamation of different peoples straddling four modern-day countries with distinct languages and customs, and (formerly)different kings and kingdoms. You'd be forgiven for believing this book was just about England. If you are English you will probably gloss over that fact because you appear to never give it a thought. I'm every bit as British as an English person, but I am not English. The book looks and feels like it was written by someone who is perpetuating all that nonsense. If you are a thinking person, hopefully you'll realise that this is hugely important when you talk about 'Britain'. This book does too little to examine the historical tensions in these islands between the member countries of Britain. Ironically, in the 21st Century, Britain is redefining itself. The various countries that make up the UK have arguably different perceptions of what it means being, or even feeling 'British'. Part of the many reasons why the 10 million non-english britons feel increasingly non-british, is because of books like this, television like this, newspaper reports like this. Not very wisely titled.
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6 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a History of ENGLAND, 22 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This is from start to finish a History of ENGLAND as some of your reviewers have already grasped. Shame on the BBC and on such an eminent historian for passing this off as a History of Britain when Wales, Ireland and Scotland are only mentioned in passing whenever they rain on the parade of the kings and queens of England. This is deeply disappointing in what was trailed as a ground breaking history and not acceptable at this time when the British constitution is being re-written around us. How are we to understand what has led to the tensions between England and its too-long subordinated partners unless we understand the history of each individual nation? Somebody please write a book that shows the English why the rest of us Brits automatically support whatever team is playing against them.
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