14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
As a comedy book 4 stars, as a history book 2 stars. Average 3 stars!,
This review is from: An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper-class Idiots in Charge (Hardcover)
Here is the perfect, ahem, toilet book. Easy to pick up and put down, it lightly dusts over the details of British history to put forward the extremely partial views of the author on some subjects - especially when they can be connected to issues today, such as immigration. One annoyance in this is that although there is a less than lengthy bibliography at the end, many statements we are meant to take as facts are left unaccredited. As an example Britain before 1066 had "...a well developed legal system, effective regional government, good trade networks, strong coinage and thriving churches and monasteries" Did it? You won't find any evidence to back this up in here I'm afraid. And there are lots of bald facts like this produced with no specific evidence, or clues as to where we might want to go to see the evidence. But am I missing the point of this book?
As a laugh out loud comedy book this is really rather good. Some of the "jokes" are sub pythonesque and hit you over the head like a hammer. For example, one of the first landlords to be ostracized by his tenants after new land laws were brought in was a Captain Boycott. As the author says, "...this could be a whole new word in the English language" "Yes, if landlords evict anyone we'll captain them" OK perhaps you had to be there, but there are many, better examples of this sort of humour in this book.
One thing worth noting is that the humour does seem to relent as the book (and history) goes on. Perhaps more recent events aren't as rich pickings for this sort of thing as the Dark Ages, but nevertheless, the author's partiality does come out when we get nearer the 20th Century so there is definite irony in the title.