Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book about the British People
When I asked for this book for Christmas from my wife, I had been under the impression it dealt with the genetics of the British people. The book does do this, but it is hardly the primary focus. I quickly was over any disappointment as the book captured my attention through sharp, crisp writing, a plethora of engaging facts, and seamless storytelling.

The book...
Published on 31 Mar 2007 by Simon B. Gallimore

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick to archeology
I liked this book but it is very clear that it is written by an archeologist who wanders beyond his speciality into recorded history. On the well-known dispute about the proportion of Anglo-Saxons in the English population, all I can say is that anyone who thinks they were a minority needs a new pair of glasses, or has never been to Wales, Cornwall or Scotland. I cover...
Published 22 months ago by John Priestley


Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stick to archeology, 11 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
I liked this book but it is very clear that it is written by an archeologist who wanders beyond his speciality into recorded history. On the well-known dispute about the proportion of Anglo-Saxons in the English population, all I can say is that anyone who thinks they were a minority needs a new pair of glasses, or has never been to Wales, Cornwall or Scotland. I cover the same ground in my own book, "History of the Britisih Isles to 1714 AD" and I come down firmly in the camp of the Anglo-Saxons. Miles sits on the fence.

When dealing with the period immediately before the Peasant's Revolt of 1381, Miles refers to the previous monarch as Edward II (died 1327) instead of Edward III (died 1377). Then he talks about a tax being imposed on foreigners by Richard II in 1440 (Richard II died in 1399). At a later stage he talks about the control of the tobacco trade by the monarchy contributing to the revolution of 1760 - what revolution? Does he mean 1642, or even 1775? There was no revolution of any kind in 1760. At the Battle of Waterloo, he says the British deployed 21,000 infantry where the size of the army (including cavalry) was actually 67,000 men. On the same page he refers to Abraham Crowley's steel works - what? Does he mean Abraham Darby's cast iron works? There is no Abraham Crowley in Wikipedia. He then refers to the completion of the canals between the Severn and the Mersey in 1727, when in fact one link in this, the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal, was not completed until 1772. Later he refers to the Municipal Corporations Act of 1838 (it was passed in 1835 - he gets the date right on the next page). You get the idea.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book about the British People, 31 Mar 2007
By 
Simon B. Gallimore (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
When I asked for this book for Christmas from my wife, I had been under the impression it dealt with the genetics of the British people. The book does do this, but it is hardly the primary focus. I quickly was over any disappointment as the book captured my attention through sharp, crisp writing, a plethora of engaging facts, and seamless storytelling.

The book deals with the subject of just who the British people are and how they came to be. Woven into the tapestry of the tale are the histories of the pre-historic people of Britain, of the Celts and Picts, the Britons, the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans and every people and culture who have contributed to the bloodlines of the British people.

This is not a history of the Kings and Queens of England, or the hundreds of battles fought, or of the Empire. It is truly a history and an examination of the people of the British Isles.

One quickly comes to understand that it is impossible to define virtually anyone in Britain as simply "English" or "Ango-Saxon" or "Irish" - that the vast internal and external migrations and transpositions of people, language and culture that have occured over the millenia serve to blur the lines that supposedly differentiate the various home nations in terms of ancestry.

So many notable books concentrate solely on the English or on the Scots or only on the Irish, and many books that focus on Britain give only passing mention to the home nations other than England and her people. The Tribes of Britain is an excellent bit of writing about the British people as a whole and would be of interest to students of history and to the many people with any sort of British ancestry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile and informative though tangential and agendaed, 11 Feb 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
If you are thinking of buying this book, I would certainly recommend it as great value for money. It is lucid and packed with interesting facts about every era of British history, so you are bound to have your mind expanded in some way.

The author was Chief Archaeologist of English Heritage and brings a huge amount of personal knowledge and experience to the subject - he seems to have done one or other excavation relevant to practically every subject he talks about, and to have spent time all over the British Isles.

The basic idea of the book is to start at the beginning and talk about the successive waves of people who have come to the British Isles - from the pre-H. sapiens Boxgrove man of 500,000 years ago, via the first modern humans arriving after the last glacial maximum, the Celts, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings, the Normans, the Huguenots, the East European Jews, the West Indians who came on the Windrush in 1948, and the Ugandan Asians, up to the Somalis arriving as we speak.

The trouble is that the author continually loses focus and the book degenerates into a (very readable and original) social history of Britain. At one point, after reading several pages on the Vikings in Iceland, I thought "hang on, what has this got to do with the matter in hand?" The answer is, not a lot; the author just got carried away retailing his knowledge of the Viking migrations - but it was interesting all the same.

As far as the book's ostensible purpose is concerned - i.e. the ethnic make-up of the British population and how it got to be that way - it all ends up being rather vague. This is no doubt a reflection of the fact that no one really knows to what extent, say, Anglo-Saxon invaders displaced an existing British population; people argue about it but there are no definitive answers. The author makes some passing references to DNA studies, but he does not much use them in his main narrative. On the other hand, those who do use the DNA to build a picture of the biological origins of the British population (e.g. Stephen Oppenheimer) can seem to be missing the point when they imply that their forensic accounts of ancient migrations explain who we are and render conventional history and archaeology obsolete. Surely, it is things like the Roman period, the Norman invasion and the arrival of the Huguenots that are truly relevant to understanding modern British society, not what we've got on our Y-chromosomes. It doesn't matter whether I'm biologically descended from the Normans or not - the way I live is still shaped by their legacy. In this respect, the present author, by focusing on the social effects of the migrations rather than on numbers and percentages, can be said to supply a good antidote to the "DNA fundamentalists".

For me the most annoying aspect of the book is the underlying "right on" attitude. This is something it is hard to put your finger on, but there is a subliminal tendency towards looking down on the people of the past who did not share our modern concerns for equality and human rights regardless of class, gender, race or sexual orientation. It sometimes seems that the author's basic thesis is that the British are and always have been racists. On the one hand, he describes how Britain has repeatedly accepted refugees and taken a principled stance over things like the slave trade, but on the other he also makes sure to mention lynchings and rabid rhetoric against blacks or Irish Catholics etc., sometimes quoting extremists as if they represented mainstream opinion. You could say this is balanced but the scales always seem to tip slightly towards representing the British as peculiarly hostile to outsiders. In other words, there is a bit of a guilt trip involved. To give an example, with reference to Britain's Aliens Act of 1905, which restricted immigration for the first time, we are told the Tory government "succumbed to...pressure" and "xenophobia was made respectable" - a rather loaded statement betraying little sympathy for the concerns (misguided or not) that lay behind the act. By contrast, we are told simply that there were "restrictions on entry to the United States as a result of the McCarron Act [sic] of 1952"; i.e. when it comes to the US we get a neutral statement with no mention of anyone succumbing to xenophobic pressures (pp. 429, 441).

To finish on a positive note, one thing I liked about the book was the author's eye for detail. When he mentions the Huguenots, for example, he takes the trouble to explain where the word comes from (actually two competing theories), and this is typical throughout. He explains why and when ideas, names and practices arose so that dimly remembered factoids from one's schooldays begin to slot into place and make sense.

Overall, it's not quite what it says on the tin, but it remains an interesting perspective on the history of the British Isles.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable but with no real conclusions, 12 Dec 2009
By 
uncle barbar (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
So, what did I like about this book?
It was very readable - almost un-put-down-able. It went from era to era seamlessly and I was impressed with the author's grasp of the history of Britain and his obvious knowledge and enthusiasm for archaeology. I really ENJOYED the book but had a number of reservations about it...

Where I felt it let me down was in a number of areas. Here and there it merely drifts into narrative about the history of Britain - with little thought as to `the tribes of Britain'. I am unsure what I was expecting - maybe some more about the genetic make-up of today's Briton. There are large swathes of the book where it just tells me people and events which you can read in countless other General History of Britain books.

Also, it was a little strange how the author kept putting in bits from his own experiences and childhood - in some ways it was endearing but I also found it a little distracting.

The main reason why this didn't get top marks for me though was that there were absolutely no conclusions. Indeed the last chapter ends with a bit of a whimper - he just is "chatting" about the New Britons and then it ends. Not really much about what the whole book means - how the Face of Britain is expected to change in the future really. Almost as though he was told to write 450 pages and when he got to page 450 he just typed a fullstop and that was it.

The four stars show that I enjoyed this book - it just left me feeling it needed one more draft and a concluding chapter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of basic errors, it's a disgrace., 11 Aug 2010
By 
Mrs. S. V. Read "sylvie" (burton upon trent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
Has this book been edited? Henry VIII did not accede to the throne in 1502, Richard II was not born in 1377, nor was he king in the mid-fifteenth century. If he can't get basic facts right, I can't trust anything else he writes. Total sloppiness.

Otherwise, very little analysis, far too anecdotal. A total disappointment.

(And he says he did the Tudors for A level in the sixties, as I did, and still can't remember dates!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The disappearing people.., 26 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
I just started reading this today, after receiving it as a X-MAS gift and naturally immersed myself in the chapters concerning the dark ages, which facinate me the most. Mr Mills argued well and often presented convincing evidence, but it seemed sketchy in parts.
He claims, for example, that there was no mass migration of saxons into britain, and that they did not expel the native romano- british population, but rather assmilated them.

Whilst this seems reasonable enough considering the evidence he also says that there was a sigfificant decrease (possibly as much as 50%) in the romano british poluation in the period of the fifth century. Yet the author provides no explanation for this. We are not told what happened to these people, how it happened or why.

This seemed unsatisfactory, and left me wanting answers. As a historian and archeologist I felt that the author should have given at least some rudimentary explanation here, if only a theory.

1.5 Million people cannot simply have dissappeared after all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 29 Jan 2010
By 
Miquel (Barcelona, Catalonia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
This book helped me discover and understand the history of Britain and of the different people that throughout history have made of this island their home. It is a fascinating journey since the early prehistorical times until our days. Very well documented and written. I do not hesitate for a second in giving it 5 stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So you think you know your origins?, 9 Oct 2008
By 
Geoff Buck (Newton Abbot, Devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Tribes of Britain (Paperback)
This is a comprehensive study of British history from the perspective of its "tribes". The author calls upon a wide range of sources and the latest archaeological techniques, including DNA testing, to support his views. Although nearly 500 pages it is easy to read with the occasional touch of dry humour, and for those that don't want to read it straight through it would be easy to pick up and put down. It dispels many of the common misperceptions of the early history of the British Isles, and explains who the "true" Britons, Celts, Scots, Irish, Romans, Vikings, and so on, were, or are. Those who believe in racial purity will have their views seriously challenged!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xaa493ea0)

This product

The Tribes of Britain
The Tribes of Britain by David Miles (Paperback - 3 Aug 2006)
6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews