Top critical review
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At points intruiging but never quite analytical.
on 30 May 2001
I expected greater things from Starkey, but perhaps I have missed the point. My immediate appraisal of this best seller was that it was dumbed-down history, missing great details and at times being too familiar with the reader. However, it could be argued that these are its strengths. Starkey continues from his television series making history accessible to the non-historian. For this he must be praised. However, Starkey seems intent on leaving the door open for a sequel so much, that this book lacks any meaningful conclusion. Additionally, Starkey, in trying to uncover fresh evidence and ideas, sometimes goes off on a tangent using irrelevant or unreliable sources. This book, however, is important as it perhaps marks the coming of "sexy history", which can only be a good thing as long as it does not become too simplistic or inaccurate. Starkey, like AJP Taylor, is one of my favourite historians because he makes history interesting, telling a story rather than lecturing facts at the student. Starkey is the most important historian of his generation.