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on 22 December 2017
For some reason , the cover of this book did not appeal to me. But the words very definitely do. It is beautifully written in a style which gripped me from start to finish. And it is true. ( I have given up on fiction at the moment , because after reading all the works of Charles Dickens , nothing compares.) Crown&Country has made me fall in love with reading again.
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on 28 October 2017
This book suits what I wanted re the monarchy. It is written in the style which the author speaks on his tv programmes. As I read it I can almost picture him saying the words. I have not completed reading it yet and indeed I am only half way through the book so have arrived at about 1300AD. I would highly recommend the book for giving much more information than any tv series can give.
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on 26 September 2017
It was good to read more about the early kings of England/the British Isles but, when I bought the book, I was hoping to use it as a gateway to more sources about some of the lesser known monarchs of the UK. Unfortunately, unless I missed it entirely, there does not seem to be an extensive bibliography. It's a shame really, as the author's previous books have been extensively sourced.
Good read, and got some new information from it, but in the end, not as useful as I thought it would be.
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on 26 December 2017
I enjoyed and understood the story telling although he did seem to add his own slant on the most recent history. It was concise and well writen.
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on 21 November 2017
A fascinating read by a brilliant narrator - never dull
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on 3 January 2018
Good read.Explains how monarchs worked,how they have evolved and affected the lives and country. Excellent book and thoroughly enjoyed reading.
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on 6 August 2017
Very interesting
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on 30 September 2017
The Master historian,another great book
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 24 April 2015
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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on 1 August 2017
...and at times witty. So, I enjoyed what Starkey had to say.

But as well as a general read I was looking for the complex relationships between Monarchy and Church: to misquote the popular song "...horse and carriage... you can't have one without the other..." I found the often difficult symbiotic relationships very well described by Starkey.

So this is a very good read - with plenty to stimulate the little grey cells.
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