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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 5 months ago by Dr. Philip Woods

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3.0 out of 5 stars Topics worth expanding
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
Published 2 months ago by K. Catleugh


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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 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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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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This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Kindle Edition)
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Disunity of Union, 27 Jan 2014
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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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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 10 July 2014
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Not very well argued.
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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
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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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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This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Kindle Edition)
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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This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Kindle Edition)
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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This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Kindle Edition)
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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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GOOD ON PAST, WEAK ON FUTURE., 1 Feb 2014
Linda Colley has written a concise and very readable analysis of how the United Kingdom became united - and where the structural faults in that political union may be found. She writes with subtlety and authority about the UK's formative history - which is admirable, given the highly compressed nature of much of her analysis. But, when she suggests some of the ways in which the British State might develop in future, she seems to lose some of her edge, and the various scenarios that she describes are rather bland and unconvincing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pop-history introduction to the problems facing the Union, 15 Feb 2014
This review is from: Acts of Union and Disunion (Kindle Edition)
Colley's Acts of Union and Disunion provides a wide-ranging if somewhat superficial take on the history of the UK and Great Britain. This is unsurprising given the length of the book (156 pages) and the extent of the topic. Consequently those searching for a serious, in depth and academic assessment of the problems facing these islands will not find it here.

However, to judge Colley to be lacking depth is disingenuous at best since that was not the book she set out to write. As a popular introduction to the problems facing the UK it is well written and,interesting, kindling a genuine interest in the topic in the reader which will lead many readers to look for more advanced and varied texts. Indeed, this is perhaps fuelled by the lack of a singular or clear conclusion by Colley which may frustrate some readers. The book is narrative and description heavy and could be accused of lacking analytical content.

Nevertheless, Colley's enthusiasm for the subject is infective and engaging. The book is well worth reading as a introductory text and the lack of a singular conclusion invites interested readers to advance to more developed texts and understandings of the subject matter which is no bad thing.
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