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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
It shows how far we have gone down the road of guilt when histories of this type are called "revisionist", surely they should be mainstream!! Anyhow, this book is a fantastic encyclopaedia of potted examples showing how the English speaking world preserved, protected and expanded liberal democracy, free market capitalism, scientific enquiry, technology and military prowess since 1900. The evidence is overwhelming that English speakers have been Civilisation's last, great hope and in the main have succeeded when matched against the totalitarian onslaught and their apologists.

As Niall Ferguson's latest book Civilisation shows, in the main, English speaking peoples created and protected this civilisation, not due to any racial superiority, but the coalescence of several factors such as competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. Roberts adds that in the realpolitik of international relations, for English speaking nations to survive they need to demonstrate their prestige on the world stage; otherwise rival nations fill the vacuum. Thus we have had D day, and the Iraq war to name but a few.

Coming from a Left wing background I found Roberts's book a political revelation, having slowly become aware that much of the left/liberal world view is ideologically bankrupt and in some cases nihilistic.

Some reviewers have vented about Robert's views concerning Ireland. He puts forward the idea that Irish anti British republicanism and the actions of the Irish Republic has negated their being included as part of the English speaking peoples. Having read the book (which I doubt a lot of reviewers have) Roberts certainly hasn't expressed any prejudiced views against the Irish as a people, but he certainly has a negative view of the Irish republican establishment which has dominated political discourse in Ireland before and since independence. There are plenty of Irish political observers who would generally agree with Roberts assertions, such as Roy Foster, Kevin Myers and Conor Cruise O'Brien that there is a malign anti English, anti Protestant feeling that has distorted Irish political decision making over the years. Indeed I would put forward the theory that Irish republicanism has been bad for Ireland, bad for its economy, bad for its politics and bad for its culture. Don't misunderstand, there is a place for Irish patriotism, Irish republicanism is different.

I fear that there are siren songs against the ideas of the English speaking world. There is a creeping cynicism in popular culture that laughs at everything, but offers nothing in replacement. A relativism which takes into account all views, but makes no conclusions or value judgements. A culture of ignorance in which those of no talent rise to the top, and the clueless are asked for their views. Scientific analysis and research seems to go through a media lens which distorts, trivialises and sensationalises serious issues. These trends are pushed and promoted by an elite looking for cheap popularity, whilst undermining self confidence, initiative and clarity.

We need to read this book to reacquaint ourselves with what makes a successful society, what is worth defending and who are enemies are. Does Roberts get it all right?, no of course he doesn't coming from the right there are some things he mentions that I might not agree with, but overall this was a great "revisionist" read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2012
One tragic element of the left in Britain, and I include myself in this (sometimes), is that they tend to take themselves far too seriously. So, the critics of Roberts' book can come across as bigoted and pompous. Let's get it straight - Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples is fairly right-wing, patriotic (not nationalistic), and has a tendency towards blood and guts history. What else would you expect from Churchill? All Roberts does is portray the 20th Century in the same vein - and let's face it - much of the 20th century was extremely bloody and the English Speaking Peoples can be justifiably proud of much of their role in mitigating this. No book summarising this period could possibly be completely objective (can any book worth reading?), but, in my view, Roberts does a pretty good job - given the role of the book. Like Churchill's original manuscript, Roberts' update is extremely well-written, has fantastic pace, is generally well-researched with copious references, and reads well. Covering probably the most interesting century in the history of mankind, not to mention the best-documented, in a single volume is not going to please everyone - take it as a good place to start a more detailed study.

Personally, I found much of Roberts detail extremely interesting, and particularly liked his thorough examination of the rise of the USA - warts and all. These days it is fashionable in some quarters to ignore the huge amount the USA has done to try to make the world a better place, and concentrate on their mistakes and the many imaginary hidden agendas that country is claimed to have. There is absolutely no doubt that without the intervention of the USA, Hitler would have smashed the UK and the USSR. A strictly neutral USA would not have been attacked by Japan, and China, India, and SE Asia would have fallen under Japanese rule. It is also possible that a neutral USA would not have been moved to prevent Japan taking Australia and New Zealand as well. Hands up anyone who thinks all that would have led to a better world!

There are mistakes in this book, kindly pointed out by the always perfect Economist. I've never read a history yet that didn't have errors, any worth their salt remedy things in subsequent editions. I have no doubt that there will be other editions of Roberts' work, but why wait for them when you can enjoy the current version?
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2009
There are two types of review here, either praising or rubbishing this book. Well - whatever else it is this book is truthful, and for that it deserves 5 stars. Love it or hate it.
Having lived in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA (also Russia and Indonesia...and many more non English speaking) this book goes along way to explain those great countries and the freedoms they enjoy. Their history is a happy one - generally speaking, and this book resonates with that fact.
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55 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2006
I loved this book. In fact, I've been waiting for one like it for years. Why does every ethnic, linguistic, national and religious group but the English speaking peoples get to celebrate their history and accomplishments? Perhaps it's because our contributions have been so great. Perhaps it would seem like boasting, which we don't do very well.

I'm a Canadian and I love the way that the author treats all of the English speaking peoples as constituting one cultural, linguistic and, indeed, historical family. On the first page of the introduction, the author writes "just as we do not today differentiate between the Roman Republic and the imperial period of the Julio-Claudians when we think of the Roman Empire, so in future no-one will bother to make a distinction between the British Empire-led and American Republic-led periods of English-speaking dominance between the late-eighteenth and the twenty-first centuries. It will be recognized that in the majestic sweep of history they had so much in common - and enough that separated them from everyone else - that they ought to be regarded as a single historical entity, which only scholars and pedants will try to describe separately."

Bravo Mr. Roberts! It's about time.

If you, dear reader, are an English speaking person and are fed-up with a lifetime of being blamed for everything that is wrong in this world, read this book, celebrate your heritage, celebrate the magnificent and selfless contributions your people have made to the world and, most of all, celebrate your brotherhood and sisterhood with the Brits, the Yanks, the Canucks, the Aussies, the Kiwis and every other member of our far-flung family. Even though, in most circles, it's not politically correct to do so, for once, give yourself permission to be proud of yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2014
I chose this rating because this valuable contribution of History, cost me so little, and the purchse was a fantastic bye for a hardback book in excellent condition.
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39 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2006
Andrew Roberts is to be commended for this revisionist work: an excellent political review of the twentieth century from the point of view of the anglosphere. This will not appeal and does not attempt to appeal to the leftist cultural relativists that seem to infest the universities and the fourth estate these days. Indeed the book demonstrates time and again that the real enemy of the west is these disgruntled whiggish intellectuals who feed off the likes of Durante, the Webbs, Chomsky, Moore (Political-comedian, nice description!), ad infinitum, to justify their peculiar views of the evil (usually english-speaking) west.

It is quite a large book, but even so I felt that other manifestations of culture could have been emphasised more in the book, such as the significance of the many works of art promulgated in the period, including the enormous global consequences of television and cinema. In light of this I would also recommend Paul Johnson's excellent "Modern Times".
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2011
I came to this book seeking knowledge and understanding of the events that shaped the English-speaking world in the 20th century and I found it comprehensive and very readable.

However, the balance between verifiable fact and the author's opinions meant that, for me at least, it was less than satisfactory. Although I have none of the author's undoubted erudition, I was left with the enduring impression that he believes that the history of the English-Speaking Peoples belongs to the victors. It is not a view that I share.

Buy this book by all means but do not use it as your only source of reference.
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44 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2006
Contrary to some of the negative reviews below, Roberts seems to me an eminently fair and even-handed historian, proud of the achievements of the English-speaking peoples on the whole, but ready to acknowledge mistakes and even barbarities when they have occurred. It's also a great polemic. If Somebody has to be Top Nation - as Sellar and Yeatman would have it - whom would you prefer? So many other European nations slid into despotism and fascism during the twentieth century. Britain remained virtually immune. And now, even if George W Bush does seem a little shaky on foreign policy, to put it mildly, who would you rather was calling the global shots? China? Mr Putin's thuggish New Russia? The ineffably corrupt "international community" as represented by the UN? Er, don't think so. On the whole, as Roberts vividly and entertainingly shows, the English-American-Canadian-Antipodean axis has a great deal to be proud of - not least its capacity for endless self-examination and self-criticism. Maybe that's why so many people in other parts of the world are clamouring to come and live here.
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47 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2007
At 75 years of age, after reading and listening to thousands of documentaries of WWII and the Cold War, I did not realize how much I did not know until I read this book. A brilliant review of the period. I'm certain it will incur the wrath of the millions of Marxists in my country who hate the U. S.Gus Doering1614 Paper MoonCedar Park, Tx. 78613
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30 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2007
The occasional breeziness of the style can be irritating and the ending is rather disappointing, but I feel this is a book which is long-overdue. We are force-fed a relentless diet of anti-British anti-American anti-Imperialist propaganda from the media and a book which gives a balanced account of Anglo achievements is much to be welcomed!
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