Crown and Country: The Kings & Queens of England: A History Paperback – 31 Mar 2011
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‘A masterpiece of accessible history, underscored with profound scholarship…the author’s passion for his subject, the royal tale of England, which is the backbone of this nation’s story explodes from every page. I defy anybody not to enjoy this book’ Guardian
‘[Starkey] has a lovely eye for a good story…he also has a nice line in snarky humour…Starkey’s great skill is to weave big themes quietly into a rollicking narrative so that you absorb them almost without noticing they are there’ Daily Telegraph
From the Back Cover
From one of our finest historians comes an outstanding exploration of the British monarchy from the retreat of the Romans up until the modern day.
The monarchy is one of Britain’s most venerable and revered institutions – but also one of its most volatile. Starkey brings the tempestuous story up to the present, guiding us through the dissolution of the marriage between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, with a new chapter on the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, royal weddings and the future of monarchy.
Throughout, Starkey highlights both the strength and the terrible fragility of an institution that has seemed, at times, perilously close to extinction. He offers not only a brilliant overview of British history through her kings and queens but also a vivid portrait of British culture, politics and nationhood, embodied in an institution that has defined the realm for nearly two thousand years.
‘Excellent…the really crucial events in the history of the British Monarchy…are assessed with authority, wisdom and wit…This is Starkey at his fluent and entertaining best’ Sunday Telegraph--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Starkey is very readable, perhaps surprisingly so, this isn't heavy or dry and is in fact an easy read. Perhaps too easy. At times I felt he was glossing over too much, the book rattles along at quite a pace without much depth or time being given to any one period. Great for schoolchildren as the previous post said, gives you all the dates and names, but for in depth detail I'm afraid this book will leave you wanting.
Again agree with previous post, there are some factual errors here, very surprising, inexcusable really and would hope they are corrected when this goes to paperback.
On the positive side, Crown and Country is clear and easy to read and, whatever you think of the author's style, his judgement is first rate. I actually heard him on the Today Programme today, the very day that I happened to finish the book, insisting that his commentary on Magna Carta must be sound because he is a "great historian". I am not an expert but I suspect that this and most of the other points in his book are indeed sound.
The book comprises about 60% summary, 10% reference to sources and 30% commentary. It is this last 30% where the quality of the book shines. He gives fascinating insight, mostly in the first half of the book, into the origins of the British style of politics and the ways in which Britain's path diverged from the continent. As the book progresses the insight seems to get thinner and the feeling grows that important details are being skimmed over. I found little new or insightful in the discussion of Queen Victoria and after her the account descended into trivial (which is perhaps a reflection of the reality).
This book is a reissue of two former books combined into one and it may be worth getting just the first book which I found the most insightful.
It gives a high level overview of a monarch's reign and their high-lights and it achieves this in equilibrium across each reign. That includes no additional coverage for Agincourt or Crecy for example and i couldn't detect any favouritism.
The book read's easy and flows very well, this would appeal to the causal reader like myself, but maybe not the more learned historian who probably knows all the coverage already or the pedantic historian, who may pick up on a date or a individuals name spelt incorrectly.
Highly recommended, informative read.
The writing style is easy to follow, and the family trees are very helpful in helping to understand the various successions and fueds over the years. Inevitably, in a 500 page book which covers some 2000 years, each monarch and their times are covered rather briefly(for example only the first three of Henry VIII's wives are mentioned) but this book does show how it all links together and gives a good feel for the development of English history and life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
bit heavy going. i stopped reading after a while
i am a Starkey fan but found this laborious
Monarchy mad mum is over the moon with this book. Will keep her busy for hours poring over all the family trees for starters!Published 5 months ago by MISS JG
History written in a most entertaining way - if only books like this had been around when I was in my teens I am pretty sure I would have junked chemistry and settled for an... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kenneth J. Morris
Excellent. Jogs along like pulp fiction. Jauntily written for such a potentially dry topic.Published 7 months ago by R. E. Lee
A brave attempt to cover so much. I found it slowed down as the book progressed but they may have just been my feelings. Read morePublished 7 months ago by AgentMulderUK