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Real Britannia by [Brown, Colin]
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Real Britannia Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Review

Barely a page fails to yield some colourful historical nugget. --Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph on Whitehall

Brown is a cheerful guide - full of anecdotes and observations. --The Guardian on Whitehall

Shortlisted for Total Politics Best Political History of the Year

“Absolutely fascinating… It will ignite many debates over pub tables up and down the land.” David Cameron

‘In a most seductive way [Brown] induces you to accompany him on his visits to Tilbury for Queen Elizabeth’s Armada speech, to Hougoumont for Waterloo, to Park Hospital in Trafford, the birthplace of the NHS… and surprises and astounds in equal measure by what he has unearthed… Riveting [and] a fantastic way to become passionately immersed in our island story.’ Barry Sheerman MP, The House

‘Brown investigates the truth behind major events in British history, taking in the Battle of Waterloo, the Falklands and the suffragettes… to create a vivid picture.’ Big Issue

Book Description

Acclaimed author and veteran political reporter Colin Brown travels to the places where British history was made to unearth what makes this nation truly great. Was the longbow behind the landmark victory at Azincourt, or was it just that the English are better in mud? Did Queen Elizabeth I, a master of spin, know the Armada had capitulated when she drafted one of history’s most inspiring speeches? Who should be given credit – or blame – for today’s NHS? Was the Falklands War proof of Mrs Thatcher’s steely resolve or a grasping imperial folly? Was David Cameron right in announcing 1940 as Britain’s proudest year? Or should we give more due to the suffragette movement, the abolition of slavery, and the sealing of the Great Charter, Magna Carta, and its role in securing the rights of citizens – watershed events for democracy, but all with secret stories to share? These moments are among the top candidates to be Britain’s proudest year, in terms of both their historical legacy and their public following. Yet, befitting the politics of history-making, each was crafted by the propaganda artists of the day. To uncover the truth, it takes an intrepid reporter willing to squeeze around barbed wire, get down in the mud and take tea with a former War Cabinet minister. From the famous Battle of Waterloo to Brixham in Devon (the site of another, somewhat lesser known glorious episode), Colin Brown shows us the events and characters we believe we know so well – but how much of what we know is the truth?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2993 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009KO1EA2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #431,036 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
Having enjoyed the author's Whitehall: The Street That Shaped a Nation I was looking forward to securing a copy of his latest, an engaging and well-argued trawl through 10 tipping-point moments in our nation's history. Neither fashionably dismissive nor blimpishly triumphant, Colin Brown uncovers the inevitable falsehoods but leaves the magic largely intact: Britons may not be perfect, but we have an authentically great past. The wealth of detail and research is particularly impressive, so much so that the sheer readability of the finished book must be considered this author's major achievement.
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As history is my 'thing's, and I thought that I already knew much the stuff in this book, I bought it with modest expectations. I did Colin Brown a huge disservice. This book has ten, fairly lengthy, chapters, each focussing on a particular event in history that has had a profound influence on the making of 'Britain'. They run from 1215 right up to today and it surprised me that I enjoyed the post 1900 chapters the most, probably because I know less about this period than earlier history.
What really staggered me is the Stygian depth of research evident on every page, leading to a richness in story telling beyond anything that I can recall having the pleasure of experiencing before. This tremendous texture extends beyond the issue itself to encompass the people and places around that issue and is so accurately guaged as to always remain relevant and fascinating. We are often told that the only way to engage today's youth in history is to bring it to life and ' make it real'. Well, this book is no dry and dusty history text book. In fact, it's hardly history at all as, in every chapter, for me it was happening now, in real time, and I was right there.
There's something else that sets Mr Brown appart and that's his willingness to present all the facts, conjecture and speculation and then offer his own opinion. Particularly in later chapters, that opinion is extremely insightful and his lifetime of work as a political journalist and commentator delivers clear dividends. If this is how .all 'political jocks' can write, then I hope that more of them take it up.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I found Colin Brown's Real Britannia a fascinating read. I enjoyed the inclusion of personal anecdotes of his visits to sites that were important to the dates under discussion. This isn't a dry text book but a highly engaging account of key periods of British history that I found myself quoting to friends and family. It has made me realise my knowledge of British history is seriously lacking and inspired me to read further.
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Colin Brown's account of what really happened on those dates that every school pupil is supposed to learn by heart is very readable and presents the stories in an exciting manner. He gives references so he isn't making it all up!
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