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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but thought-provoking book
This short book is based on a series of 15 short talks given on BBC Radio in January 2014. The talks are available on BBC i-player for at least a year and are worth listening to, if only to enjoy Professor Colley's distinctive clarity of presentation. The book is useful for adding illustrations and a helpful set of recommendations for further reading. Although it...
Published 13 months ago by Dr. Philip Woods

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in substance
Especially given the fact this has been marketed as worth reading in light of the Scottish independence referendum, I found this disappointing. It is a collection of short essays - really very short - adapted from a radio programme about the forces that have pulled the United Kingdom either together or apart over the centuries. However, none of the essays develop their...
Published 5 months ago by Historian


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in substance, 15 Sept. 2014
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Especially given the fact this has been marketed as worth reading in light of the Scottish independence referendum, I found this disappointing. It is a collection of short essays - really very short - adapted from a radio programme about the forces that have pulled the United Kingdom either together or apart over the centuries. However, none of the essays develop their points in sufficient detail to be particularly interesting. There is no intellectual meat of note here, and you'll have to go to Colley's other books for that. I particularly did not feel that I came away from it more enlightened about events in Scotland than I went in.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but thought-provoking book, 26 Jan. 2014
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Dr. Philip Woods (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Paperback)
This short book is based on a series of 15 short talks given on BBC Radio in January 2014. The talks are available on BBC i-player for at least a year and are worth listening to, if only to enjoy Professor Colley's distinctive clarity of presentation. The book is useful for adding illustrations and a helpful set of recommendations for further reading. Although it addresses current concerns of British national identity, it is strengthened by the author's historical expertise, especially in the late-eighteenth century- the chapter on America, for instance, reminds one of the closeness of the two countries in the eighteenth century and the fact that the loss of the 13 colonies was the first break-up of the Union. The fact that we survived that disunion, and the loss of most of Ireland in the 1920s, may suggest that we could survive a vote for Scottish Independence. However, Colley suggests that we don't really need to go through further traumas of disunion if only the Government would allow for constitutional modernisation and a federal state with a Parliament for England. Professor Colley may be one of the experts that the GOvernment would and should actually listen to.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Disunity of Union, 27 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Paperback)
The subtitle of this book is "What has held the UK together-...?".
A question which, after reading the book, you might well ask. Ms Colley offers a cogent and fluent explanation why Britain has lost an empire, and most of Ireland in the early 20th century and is in imminent danger of losing Scotland, if not, eventually, Wales and, who knows, parts of the English provinces, given time. She certainly seems to know her subject inside out. My only regret is that much more length was not devoted to the intensifying disconnect between London and the rest of England, let alone the other countries that make up the UK. A recent reviewer in a national newspaper, but not on this forum, said that the book had opened her eyes to the ways in which Westminster government policies have actively discriminated against the North (and, I'd add, the Midlands). I was already well aware of that but actually found surprisingly little of it in the book, especially considering that the author grew up in the North herself.
In all a fascinating read which may well make you wonder how the UK has lasted so long in anything like its present form.

Douglas
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An historical essay, well worth the read., 3 Oct. 2014
By 
Samuel Romilly (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A short, succinct and simple account not just about the union between Scotland and England, but about about Ireland, Wales, Europe and the USA (a trans-Atlantic Union has been several times suggested, most recently by Churchill, but the Yanks were having none of it).

It was published before the results of the Socottish Referendum, and studiously avoids taking public sides, unlike the German press that poured scorn on the Scot Gnats, but a little like Her Majesty. Perhaps the result left Colley purring as well. I do hope so. For anyone wanting to understand the issue from a historical perspective this is a good place to start.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well written well researched, 2 Mar. 2014
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Maria Rowe "books is me" (england) - See all my reviews
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It was a joy to read: concise, dealing with current issues of disunion from the historical perspective. very clear, communicative, global perspective. I have learnt a lot
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Long View, 8 May 2014
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Sofia (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Paperback)
Based on a series of talks, commissioned by BBC Radio 4, Colley's book about the British Isles takes a timely look at the stresses and strains of what we now call the United Kingdom. Full of interesting asides, providing answers to such unusual questions as why the heir to the throne is traditionally called "The Prince of Wales", or when the moniker "UK" caught on, this is an enjoyable and thought-provoking book bringing history very much to the fore as Scotland's referendum on independence approaches. Whilst I am sure that there are weightier (in all senses of the word) books out there about the future and politics of the United Kingdom, one could do a lot worse than to start with "Acts of Union and Disunion" with its broad historical view. A really interesting little book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent underpin..., 21 Feb. 2015
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first came across Linda Colley as a guest speaker on a Magna Carta MOOC and was impressed by her breadth (intellectual) and vitality; having lived outside of the UK for the last 12 years had missed her BBC eminence... this is proving a great introduction to her thinking and represents an excellent underpin to any studies of matters constitutional...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Topics worth expanding, 28 April 2014
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K. Catleugh - See all my reviews
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Linda Colley is always well worth reading. Her decision to more-or less stick to the format of her broadcast series, has whetted the appetite more than satified the desire to read what might be her fully developed ideas on each topic. Might one expect an expanded version sometime?
KC
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4.0 out of 5 stars Timely read, 19 Feb. 2014
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A clearly written, thought provoking account of the state of the Union at the moment and how we got here.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Acts of Union, 19 Feb. 2014
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A timely publication by a historian who has written extensively about the formation of Britain as a national entity. It is an important read to get the background to the current debate about the issue of Scottish independence.
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Acts of Union and Disunion
Acts of Union and Disunion by Linda Colley (Paperback - 2 Jan. 2014)
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