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Britain From Above
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2008
What a great book. I happened to stumble upon the tv show when I was channel flicking last weekend and was totally engrossed. They mentioned the companion book so ordered it online the next day. And I wasn't dissapointed. It's got some amazing photographs and fantastic ariel shots (i wish that my photography was that good!). I really recommend this book...not just something to dip into from time to time but as a great gift to give to someone too.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 August 2008
This is an amazing book - I bought a copy for my Dad as he loves this sort of thing. Stunning photography and excellent for "dipping in and out" whenever you feel like it. I loved the "making of the series" piccies at the back too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2009
Some of the photos were very good but mostly they were on industrial scenes in the south of England. I was expecting more variety from the whole country.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2008
I bought Britain From Above as a present and what a success! The whole family were enthralled. Amazing and unique photography alongside interesting commentary make this book a real showpiece and a good addition to any coffee table. I think I might have to buy a copy for myself!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 November 2013
Firstly, although this is the book that accompanied the TV series, Andrew Marr did not write it. Marr provided the foreword, but the words are those of someone called Ian Harrison. Secondly, although there were six TV episodes, the book is split into nine chapters. As Harrison explains, it is still essentially the book of the series; he adds that the value of the book over the DVD is primarily "the leisure to pore over the images in detail."

In his introduction, Harrison points out that, "This is not a conventional book of aerial photographs - there are no grand shots of Britain's castles, cathedrals or stately homes, no stunning vistas of our magnificent coastline and most famous tourist attractions; rather, it is packed with the unusual, the industrial, the hidden and the quirky." This is true. It is not a look from above necessarily at outstanding landscape or important heritage sites, but rather tat aspects of modern British life: pylons and quarry pits, sewage works and car parks. Our small individual actions from turning on a tap to throwing away an item of rubbish are seen in frightening proportions when looked at here in a national context.

All well and good, but immediately on commencing the meat of the book the reader comes across negative issues, such as the frustrating mixture of imperial and metric. Thus Loch Ness is measured in miles for its length and breadth but the reader will not immediately be able to gauge its depth in comparison because that measurement is given in metres. Duh! Another bugbear is that some of the captions are not as specific as to their location as one might have want or expect.

On the positive side there are occasional comparative shots of the same locality between the 1940s and today, for example showing the extent of hedgerow removal. (The loosely-written text, however, incorrectly implies in this instance that all the nation's hedgerows only date back to the eighteenth century.) Indeed, there is a whole chapter comparing today's landscape with the same localities in times gone past, from the 1930s through to the 1970s. In one instance - the rate of the erosion of part of Norfolk's coastline - the difference is so great in so short a time that the comparative photograph dates only as far back as the 1990s.

A word about coverage. I count about 140 photographs in the book as a whole. These are spread all over Britain, although there are none of Wales - or the counties of the Welsh Marches - apart from two in the very south of the principality. But the coverage is nevertheless patchy: all four of Somerset are of the Glastonbury Festival; five of the six of Norfolk are of disappearing Happisburgh. But there is definitely a top-heavy focus on London and the southeast. Whilst there are fourteen shots of Scotland, I counted thirty-six of the City of London. Indeed, there is a whole chapter on the capital, including archive shots. Meanwhile surrounding Essex has five and Kent has eleven, almost as much as the whole of Scotland.

In this it also mirrors the TV series. Whilst much of what is shown and written is interesting and useful, there comes a point where the shot of yet another angle of Canary Wharf becomes just plain annoying and demonstrates a clear lack of breadth of vision that this book and the series were and are attempting to show.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2013
Britain from above hardback book.
I gave it to someone visiting Britain, they found things they didn't know, so enjoyable reading
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2014
I caught some of the TV show, and this book fills in the gaps. The photography is amazing and presents a new perspective..
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The BBC show "Britain From Above" had some stunning and thought-provoking aerial photography, a rare chance to see our country from a different perspective, but the accompanying narration was a little bit light on detail and sometimes raised more questions than answers.

The book, in a way, is the same. The photographs- large and eye-catching- are captivating and will have you poring over every building and detail in an almost "Where's Wally?" way. The text is more informative than the TV narration, but perhaps not enough. I would've appreciated a bit more detail, a few more statistics, a little bit extra about the history or story behind some of the places photographed.

As a photobook, 5 out of 5- but for the slightly light text, 4 out of 5.
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on 20 May 2012
A fascinating book; not just packed with great pictures but backed up by an extremely interesting narrative.

Some of the pictures are beautiful standalone pieces of art, almost abstract in their composition.

This is definitely a book that needs to be left on a coffee table - excellent for dipping into when you've got a spare five minutes, or need some entertaining during the TV adverts. Though be warned, it's so absorbing that you may not notice your TV programme has started again!

A superb choice for Father's Day.
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on 22 November 2014
I bought this book for my husband and he is very pleased with it. There is lots of information and the photo's are impressive. I would highly recommend this book for different age groups ranging from an older child to adulthood.
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