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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
97
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 16 June 2015
A great guide to the history of Britain that highlight areas of interest that you may want to dig into further. Goes brilliantly with the TV program.
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on 23 December 2012
This is a very good read and compliments the other 2 books in the series by the same author. Very good details and a mirror to the TV series.
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on 27 December 2013
First rate - on time, in good condition, good price, good cause All the best for the year opening before us
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on 23 November 2013
This matches two other volumes i have, yet to read. It is good value and will be a source of reference.
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on 24 November 2000
Simon Schama is undoubtedly one of the great literary historians of the english speaking world. For this reason his History of Britain is all the more disappointing in its repetition of a fundamental error concerning the relationship of england to its conquered neighbours. He repeats the calumny of G.M. Trevelyan whose chapter on Scotland in the English Social History failed to give the northern kingdom full credit for its independent achievements. Why does someone as gifted as Schama continue to treat the Celtic fringe in this way? It is probably no more than academic laziness and insulting to people who, like myself, would rather see this island split into its natural constituencies. English cultural imperialism started as early as the 11th century with Malcolm Canmore's wife - a woman who preferred english to gaelic at court. Perhaps Dr. Schama would have been better served by restricting himself to producing a history of England instead of pretending to provide an objective account of three separate kingdoms.
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on 9 January 2015
Excellent - the book arrived early and the condition was better than expected.
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on 29 September 2015
A beautifully produced book, making it an ideal companion to the DVD series.
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on 21 August 2009
This is history at its worst.

Firstly, it is all Kings, Queens and aristocracy. And frankly, I don't give a toss. Most of them were egotistical, despotic, cruel, deceitful and just plain nasty. Roll on 1789 I say.

Secondly, I found it hard to follow just what the hell was going on half the time. A couple of guys get into a dispute there is fighting and suddenly, someone else is king, being just as much of a beast as his predecessor. And so we move on to the next decade. The body count gets bigger but nothing essential changes. It is like being rather tipsy and listening to a story in the pub, which is being told by someone who is totally drunk. Rambling, disconnected, and vital details are missing.

Thirdly, there is no social history. There is nothing about people's lives, technology or culture.

One minute this lot are all stabbing each other and then, all of a sudden, the shooting starts. So, err, when did guns and gun powder become part of the scene?

I am currently reading a history of science by Bill Bryson. Now, if you really want to know about the past, there is a book, which is laugh out load, informative and great for anyone to read, even if you hated science at school.

Forget it, Simon. You just can't cut the mustard.
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on 25 August 2001
An interesting and well writen book, with beautiful illustrations. It was an entertaining read, though I did get the impression that there was little that was new, and that it was simelar to other histories, possibly out of necessity as Simon Schama galloped through nearly 3000 years.
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on 2 December 2000
Come on, I am a Scot and I think Simon was pretty fair to us. He covers the Celtic wars, and the fact is that the respective histories of Celtic and German Britain are so completely intertwined you cannot cover one and fail to cover the other. So the long chapters on Tudor Britain contain alot about Mary Queen of Scots, for example... The whole of the first chapter is also on aboriginal Britons, focusing on Orkney.
This is great history writing, profound enough for those with an intellectual interest in the subject, and easy enough for those of us who are relatively new to the subject.
What new thoughts did Simon's narrative evoke in me? Well, when you look at the developing world, you will see precedents for all their social ills in our own society. We often think of ourselves as highly civilised and removed from nature, but when you read about the behaviour of Edward Longshanks, Henry the VIII or William Wallace, was it any different, in principle, from the behaviour of, say, a Sierra Leonian war lord? And our royal family are decendents of these people!!! History is about understanding human nature. If Simon Schama can provoke these sorts of thoughts and questions, then he is doing his job as a historian.
Plus, the narrative style makes a good read. Well done Simon, I think you have inherited the mantle of A.J.P Taylor.
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