Customer Review

6 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a History of ENGLAND, 22 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A History of Britain, Vol 1: At the Edge of the World: 3000BC-AD1603 (Hardcover)
This is from start to finish a History of ENGLAND as some of your reviewers have already grasped. Shame on the BBC and on such an eminent historian for passing this off as a History of Britain when Wales, Ireland and Scotland are only mentioned in passing whenever they rain on the parade of the kings and queens of England. This is deeply disappointing in what was trailed as a ground breaking history and not acceptable at this time when the British constitution is being re-written around us. How are we to understand what has led to the tensions between England and its too-long subordinated partners unless we understand the history of each individual nation? Somebody please write a book that shows the English why the rest of us Brits automatically support whatever team is playing against them.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Feb 2009 01:59:49 GMT
N. Snel-Hest says:
Ireland is not part of BRITAIN. Get your damn facts right.

Posted on 8 Jul 2010 10:23:21 BDT
I can't help getting a sense of nationalism from these negative reviews.

I don't agree that this is a History of England. Sharma concentrates on the most powerful leader of the day whose power centred on Britain. Then, as now, most of the time this is a history of the politics of London-based rulers. Some of these were also powerful in France, Scotland, England, Italy or wherever. Some did not rule "England" but Wessex or Southern England or a patchwork of places. Objectively, this seems like a sensible decision. Subjectively, to a nationalist, it seems like dismissal.

I think that in order to provide any sort of readable narrative over a period of almost 5000 years, this boiling down is necessary. Otherwise, it would read like a novel with too many disparate threads; "OK England, and now to Scotland, and now to Wales, a bit on Northern Ireland..." repeat ad nauseum. One has to remember that Scotland (for example) has about 10% of the population of England (as does say the North West of England which gets much less individual attention than Scotland).

That said, I would agree that given his introduction, it would be fair to add in a lot more social history. The flaw in the book seems to be an unending fascination with the succession of Kings and Queens a la Starkey. To have added 2 or 3 parrallel "Kings and Queens" narratives to the core would have made it worse and been just poor writing.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2011 14:00:41 GMT
Plantlife says:
"Somebody please write a book that shows the English why the rest of us Brits automatically support whatever team is playing against them. "
That book is two sentences long:
1 - Because it's drummed in to you all your life by friends, family and media.
2 - Because you enjoy doing it!

All other reasons involving 'Years of oppression', 'Arrogant', 'You always laugh at our football team' etc. will be removed by the editor in light of points one and two.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2011 22:39:31 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Feb 2011 22:45:53 GMT
I think the simple reason that many historians use Britain rather than England in thier titles they do not want to appear favourable, nationalistic, or offensive to the non-English people's of Britain. They are simply going with the fashionable politically correct trend of replacing the term 'England' with 'Britain' wherever possible, instead of having some sinister imperialist agenda. These historians may actually be trying to avoid causing offence, but if they entitled thier books 'History of England' people would undoudtedly complain about this too. There is just no pleasing some people.
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