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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our Island Story - a great read
I bought this book at Christmas for my nine year old and was pleased to find that my eleven year old was captivated by it too. We enjoy reading books out loud as a family and this book makes a great read for sharing. Don't expect it to 'tie-in' with the random topic based school history curriculum, this book is a consecutive account that unashamedly...
Published on 24 Feb. 2006 by MRS DEM SCOTT

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64 of 88 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A re-issue unworthy of the author and a much-loved work.
'Our island Story' is a wonderful if idiosyncratic re-telling of British history, it's intention being to make history exciting and accessible to young readers. The author is quick to point out the dubious veracity of some of the material she uses so nobody is knowingly misinformed or has the wool pulled over his or her eyes.
It is a great pity that...
Published on 15 Jan. 2006


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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our Island Story - a great read, 24 Feb. 2006
By 
MRS DEM SCOTT (LUTON, Bedfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I bought this book at Christmas for my nine year old and was pleased to find that my eleven year old was captivated by it too. We enjoy reading books out loud as a family and this book makes a great read for sharing. Don't expect it to 'tie-in' with the random topic based school history curriculum, this book is a consecutive account that unashamedly includes an element of myth and magic.I don't think that my children had realised that a clear understanding of the English/ British succession was within their intellectual grasp before hearing this engaging narrative.Furthermore all those Edwards,Henrys and the rest now have a relevance in their minds that was not there before. My children can now see a clear causal link between that subject called 'history' and that thing called 'politics'. Sometimes it takes an exciting story to awaken knowledge and bring it to life. The book covers a very broad sweep of British history and I would recommend it for families to share.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!!!, 9 Mar. 2007
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This review is from: Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls from the Romans to Queen Victoria (Paperback)
Our Island Story is truly exceptional. I remember my grandfather reading me this book when I was younger, and being fascinated by what is truly a great narrative of British history. Now reading it to my friend's children, both they (and I!) feel the same. History is suddenly exciting; even the TV is less attractive!! What is more, this new edition has been supplemented with brilliant illustrations that really brings the book alive in their minds. I can only say, buy it!
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95 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History that teaches and delights, 13 Sept. 2005
'In this book you will find the story of the people of Britain', writes the author. She continues: 'The story tells how they grew to be a great people, till the little green island set in the lonely sea was no longer large enough to contain them.'
This is big, bold sweeping history, at once charmingly simple and accessible for children and sufficiently courteous and informative for adults. HE Marshall guides us through from the earliest myths about Albion and Brutus through to the death of Queen Victoria, taking in wars and rebellions, tyrants and outlaws, treachery and love, the evolution of our liberal democracy and the deaths of those who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today. With a deftness of tone that most writers can only dream of, Marshall's prose is equal to the challenge of expressing tenderness for the Princes in the Tower, and pride for Boadicea - 'the Romans', she points out, 'did not understand that many of the women of Britain were as brave and as wise as the men, and quite as difficult to conquer.' It is unashamedly proud without ever sounding arrogant. We learn how all sorts of great moments or phrases have passed into our folklore and idiom - such as 'England expects' - and all is rendered with an impressive sense of chronological cohesion.
Which is of course topical and explains why this glossy centenary edition has been republished. At a time of great anxiety about how poor is the teaching of history in our schools, how it has become fragmentary and partial, this book shows just how history could foster a shared sense of national identity. As politicians and academics witter on pompously, unclear about how to deliver the most important elements in history - the chronology, which makes it intelligible, and the stories, which make it memorable - Our Island Story offers itself as an answer. For young and old alike, passionate, energised history is engaging and invigorating. Indeed, I've lost count of the number of people who have recommended this book to me, particularly parents who read their childhood copies to their children as an excuse to revisit it themselves, and it's been the subject of numerous newspaper and radio panegyrics in recent months. Our Island Story is perhaps more literature than history - I suspect HE Marshall would have preferred it to be thought of in this way - and as such it would have also pleased Sir Philip Sidney: it both teaches and delights.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasserting our history, 13 Sept. 2005
By A Customer
Civitas have done this nation a great service in reprinting this beautifully written history of Britain. At a time when even Gordon Brown is questioning the very meaning of 'Britishness', this enchanting book provides us with a tale of a nation we should all be proud of.
It is the perfect antidote to the lifeless, fragmented history that most children receive today. With its spledid narrative and enticing characters, 'Our Island Story' should be a big hit with children and parents alike.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sumptuous new edition, 6 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls from the Romans to Queen Victoria (Paperback)
Even if you've already got the hardback edition of Our Island Story, this new paperback version truly is a keepsake worth buying. The publishers have really put the icing on the cake with this edition by taking a series of glorious paintings from the Palace of Westminster to illustrate H.E Marshall's magical retelling of history. These surprisingly sharp and colourful reproductions will undoubtedly delight children and adults alike with their sumptuous detail.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book in all regards - outstanding., 12 Jan. 2006
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I recently bought this for my son, having read reviews in the Daily Telegraph, which helped underwrite the recent re-introduction of this previously out of print classic. The Mirror & other newspapers have also written rave reviews about this book. In a nut shell, here are the things I like about this book:
- it is beautifully written with simple, image filled prose.
- the stories are short, unusual, colourful and upliftingly positive. I read 2 or 3 stories to my son each evening. I find it at least as interesting as my son, perhaps even more so -- but he loves it too; I thought he was not listening at first but he is, intently even as he plays while I read it to him. He is old enough now that he could read this large-ish type book himself but I want to read this one.
- it provides a useful high-level history of Britain for young children to build on. It is fast paced rather than getting bogged down in detail, moral dilemmas, etc. -- it provides a single, simple, view point that I think works best way for young children.
- it is illustrated with very attractive period color images that are better than one normally encounters.
- the book is well printed and bound (something I look for increasingly).
- for a book written 100 years ago, it is surprising up to date with regards to sex-equality (the author was a woman, born in Scotland, that grew up in England and later lived in America...and possibly Australia?).
Interesting they re-issued it with the shorter American version of the title. No matter.
Note: The Daily Telegraph and its readers are funding free copies of this book for British Primary Schools through an 3rd party organisation, Civitas. This book really is a superb and uplifting introduction to British history for young children that will particular appeal to those living in Britain, of British stock or members of the Commonwealth/former empire/former colonies (America!).
The best book I have seen in a long time. Highly recommended.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fierce struggle and high intrigue, magic and poisoned daggers, and a queen who defied the norm..., 12 April 2007
This review is from: Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls from the Romans to Queen Victoria (Paperback)
It looks more like a history book than anything else, but as soon as I started reading "Our Island Story", I was fascinated. Combining English history with folklore and fairytales, and with a narrative voice so homely that you immediately envision biscuits and milk by a quaint fireplace, this book is charming from the beginning.

As a young girl raised on Hans Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm, I've come to expect a lot from my fairy-tales, and the accounts of Merlin and Arthur, Boadicea, and the Civil War are dramatic and moving, and it infuses the characters and dates taught in schools with feelings and emotions, provides history with a sense of humanity. And the pictures - vibrant and engaging - provided an entertaining accompaniment. I'm sixteen and I'm in love with this book. The little children I babysit (7 and 9) were as interested when I read them an excerpt the other day. What more recommendation does it need?!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About time too, 3 Dec. 2005
Thank god such a fantastic and enjoyable book is able once more to be read by millions. A truly good book for adults and especially for children. If you want your children to get a good grounding in English history without the recent poison of postmodernism then this is the book for you. Read it again and again
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British history at its best, 4 April 2010
I bought this book for my 10 year old daughter as I knew that she would only be taught a narrow interpretation of British history at school. We've enjoyed reading this book, with its fascinating stories. It puts history into context, how can we expect children to know about history if we don't give them a helping hand - they only learn such a small amount at school. I wish someone would do a second book from Queen Victoria (where this one ends) to the present day. I have enjoyed reading this with her (and I recommend the CD too).
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 26 Sept. 2005
By A Customer
As a primary school teacher I was very excited to hear about the republication of Our Island Story. Having found my pupils knew very little English history, Our Island Story was just the ticket. This charming book is not only a great starting point for young historians, but a rip-roaring read. Forget the Rowling's and Wilson's this year, its this lovely classic which will surely top many a child's Christmas wish list - and many a teacher's too!
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