10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Simply the best book on British history I've ever read,
This review is from: This Sceptred Isle : 55BC-1901 (Paperback)
The one thing we can never loose in Great Britain is our history. This book covers this enourmous subject in an informative and easy to read fashion. I have always been interested in our history, but the books I've tried to read have always been far to heavyweight and verbose. This book brings the story of our Islands to life. It also covers the various interactions with other countries (for example a quite detailed account of the American war of independance and some of their civil war), but does not stray from the main theme too far. Sure there are many omissions (for example there is no mention of the invention of the marine chronometer which enabled Britain the essentially rule the waves during the 18th Century) but clearly the book cannot afford to get bogged down if the entire story from 55BC to 1901 is to flow from page to page. I Listened to the radio series on which this book is based and it is an excellent companion. I think the coverage is a fair reflection "warts 'n' all" on the activities of the British, and therefore of interest to non-British readers who may shy away from a potential "rule britannia" union jack waving/back slapping tome. That said, I was pleased to see that some subjects were covered carefully and sensibly (such as Britain's relationships with Ireland and India) and perhaps the flack commonly aimed at the British (or perhaps more acurately at the English) for disasterous policies and the causing of misery to other nations should be considered more in context of the time and place, rather than with a modern critical eye.