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Customer Reviews

23
3.9 out of 5 stars
The British: A Genetic Journey
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Price:£4.66
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2014
This book was a big let down. I expected its main theme to be an analysis of the British population based on genetic data, essentially explaining where the British had come from and what the genetic breakdown is.

In fact it is a rehash of the widely known and accepted history of Britain dressed up with incidental genetic information.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2014
This book was particularly disappointing as a follow up to the far superior 'The Origins of the British' by Stephen Oppenheimer. There was very little genetic information contained in it, and while Moffat did manage to mention that tribes on both sides of the Channel had the same names, he failed to pick up on the point that most of those tribes were germanic - not Celtic. If you want to know where the British come from, this book is not likely to tell you too much.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2014
I found the firs 20% of this book a hard slog. Maybe because I was expecting rather more and having been interested in British history I have read many original and interesting works. This book is entirely derivative which is forgivable but the first pa art is written in very poor journalistic style....so much so that it grated. Like a tabloid the author sometimes breathlessly invents things to 'engage' the reader...like how the Britons raced their chariots along the coast tracking the Roman fleet. Really? I think not.

Then it seems to get better, more facts and less artistic' license. Unfortunately, the facts turn out to be anything but. For example he assumes that the appearance of new pottery in the archaeological record has to indicate an invasion of new people. This was standard thought fifty years ago. The author is unaware that that is no longer so.

Similarly moving on in time he assumes the old view that Saxons came to England in post Roman times. Presumably he believes the origin myths of Hengist and Horsa being invited by Vortigern. He ignores the possibility that Saxons had long been in Britannia.

And so It goes on, this is a simplistic concoction of outdated ideas told at an increasing pace all through the book. All this is of course to interest you in what he has to sell. Unsurprisingly it turns out the author runs a genetic testing company. Nothing wrong in that, just remember that if your family ha roots in these isles that you are statistically almost certainly related to just about everyone that was alive here in 1200 and before and you do not need a genetic test to prove it.

There are great original books on the history of the peoples of Britain. For example, Britain BC and Britain AD by Francis Pryor. Similarly, the Saxon question is much better addressed elsewhere. King of the North gives a good picture of the development of Saxon Northumbria and its context.

Curious, I looked up the author on Wikipedia. That entry explained a lot, (it's worth reading first)...eg the author was in fact a journalist.

Nevertheless 2 stars for trying and entrepreneurial spirit if not for any real insights given.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2014
The other two star reviews accurately sum up what is wrong with this book.

It is a mish mash of history, anecdote, speculation and some genetic material in that order. The first section is more enjoyable but even here the analysis and factual content is "lightened" by too much poetic license.

Possibly worth borrowing from the library but definitely not worth buying.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2014
Not always accurate but a very interesting read. A lot of suppositions are given as facts. The book does take the reader on an interesting journey
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2014
I bought this thinking it would be an update on Steve Walsh's 'Mapping the Human Genome'. It disappointed in this respect. More science and less potted history would have been welcome. And the celebrity examples towards the final chapters were unnecessary in my opinion.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2014
A description of when and from where Britain was populated. It was interesting and I'm no expert but I did end with the feeling that we were getting a set of theories presented as facts
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2014
...a bit long winded. The subject of this book is a really interesting topic, and mostly I enjoyed reading it. But there were sections that I found too long winded and I lost patience a bit. This was particularly where unfamiliar (ancient) place names and people's names were listed. It all got a bit monotonous...
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on 4 December 2014
Very interesting. As DNA analysing becomes a mainstream health tool we may all find a thread in this history.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2013
A fascinating and entertaining history of our heritage using recent developments in DNA research.
As always A. Moffat's books are thoroughly researched and well written.
An inspiring read I would highly recommend to everyone.
J. Leathley
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