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Crown and Country: The Kings & Queens of England: A History Paperback – 31 Mar 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (31 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007432003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007432004
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 398,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Buyers please note, this volume brings together two previously published works under the title Monarchy. The cynic in me says this is a clever ploy as it's not overly obvious on the cover.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This is a rapid high level account of British politics and monarchy over 2,000 years. I recommend it for people who are relatively new to the subject or who have only a passing interest. If you already have a reasonable knowledge of the subject or want a thorough treatment you may find it too insubstantial. In many places it is obvious that important details have been skipped or summarised and there are many excellent books which give much more depth. For those who like audio I recommend This Sceptred Isle, a much more comprehensive account full of quotes from primary sources.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very cross - the diagrams do not diplay on the Kindle or on my Knidle for PC. something I have noticed with great annoyance lately in other purchases- If you are going to sell books in this format it really isn't good enough if they don't work correctly and as of now each time this happens I will take the time to point it out- if I bought a new book from a shop and the opening pages were torn out I would take it back...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's plenty of material to make a fascinating narrative in English history, and this book mainly tells it well. There are a few areas that Starkey has glossed over, notably Henry VIII's later wives, and a few areas where his own opinion intrudes. I enjoyed this, but would have to say that I preferred Simon Jenkins' Short History of England (which is, in truth, no shorter, no more Anglo-centric nor less informative about the Monarchy than Crown & Country).
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Format: Hardcover
I have read a few books on various English kings. This book does a great role of piecing them all together without getting boggled down on a certain reign or time period.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Well written and interesting overview of the history of England, let down by poor proof reading especially in the family trees, which have, amongst other fundamental mistakes, Charles I's reign finishing 19 years before he was beheaded and William IV and George IV sitting on the throne during the same years, namely 1820 to 1830 - must have been a tight fit!
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Format: Paperback
This single volume history covers the defining events in England since Roman times. As expected this is history told through the stories of the kings and queens of each era, and traces the lines which link our present monarachy back to the Norman conquest and beyond.

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.
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