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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 July 2016
This book is the third in a three book series which traces what happened to the Britain, the British, and the subsequent British Empire since history was first recorded.

My grumble about the 2 previous books in the series were a bit... brief and breezy, which is something that the author acknowledges for this book, which covers the period between the time we lost the American Colonies to the year 2000.

It wasn't a bad book, but it's strange, a lot of the empire was built post 1776 (which surprised me, I just assumed it had been about longer, which it wasn't with the exception of the Americas, West Indies, and our slave related issues in Africa). So this book covers the entirety of what most British people might call "Modern Britain", and even then, it's all build up and no action. The eventual reversion back to a small country was only pretty briefly covered (in his introduction, Schama said he felt weird writing about his life as history).

The other thing that surprised me was how much of the book seemed to imply that the English thought of Wales, Scotland and Ireland as the basis of empire, rather than being equal partners, or regions of a greater entity, which is something I'd not thought of before reading this book.

All in all, it's a good read, I just suspect it could have been better if it had been split in two books as long as this book. (less)
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on 9 February 2014
The entire series is cleverly constructed with a flowing and easily absorbed narrative. Clearly by the third (if not the second) book the story had reached far beyond kings and queens and their various intrigues. Instead the author cleverly picks out key characters or circumstances both well known and seemingly insignificant to give flavour and context to the age. The juxtaposition of Orwell and Churchill is particularly insightful as not only do they seem so far apart at first glance but also so very close together at their most basic level. In essence this is what is to be British; to have divergent views and ways of life and yet in our hearts we hold dear a tradition of democracy and mutual dependency. The case the author makes for keeping the United Kingdom in the face of a potential split by Scotland is fundamental. A good read, never a dull moment and while anyone could argue for all the various omissions would such an encyclopaedic book capture the spirit and vitality (warts and all) of Britain as well? - I doubt it.
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on 19 December 2015
I am an old man (78), at least old enough to have precise memories of World War 2 which , as a child of a Belgian refugee family, I lived through with my mother in Cardiff. My father served as a sailor in the Royal Navy. A couple of days ago my son gave me this book as a present. Needless to say that, browsing through its 447 pages, my attention was focused on Schama's description of those dramatic and tragic days of May 1940 when the war developed to full-blown proportions. I have never read such a poignant and passionate description of Winston Churchill in his role, not just as prime minister of Britain, but above all as ultimate savior of his country. Schama, rightfully, emphasises the capital importance of Churchill's supreme command of the English language, a quality which Schama himself demonstates with impressive mastership. Every young person whose curiosity is aroused about Britain and its history during the 19th and 20th century, should read this volume.
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on 14 June 2014
its a great read all the books are good to read and its the history of my England nothing else to say all three book
are first class a insight into life well done Simon Schama and a big thanks.
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VINE VOICEon 6 November 2009
I bought the original book when it first came out and really liked - great style and tells history as a narrative where one event flows into another rather than a series of single events
BUT .. this is just a re-issue of that original book and it was very difficult to tell that from the description on Amazon
So I was disappointed as I thought it was an updated version - or a new take as it said it was published in 2009
As it was it will make a good Christmas present - but I was disapppointed as I thought it was a new title
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on 13 November 2010
As a Simon Schama fan I was delighted to receive my copy of his "History of Britain" Vol.3 which brings me 'bang up-to-date' with my British History. I really appreciate Schama's effectively simple but explicit style of presenting history.
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on 22 January 2013
This isn't even a history book as far as I am concerned. It is mostly just random series of essays about different aspects (seems to be a lot about Victorian authors/artists, etc) of British history within timeframe of 1776-2000,, not really much of any serious discussion on the Industrial Revolution that began in Britain and spread shortly around the world. I had liked hist Volume 2 on the English Civil Wars and Revolution enough to try Volume 3..but Volume 3 seems to be the result of the author ,not having time to write Volume 3 so he just wrote a "fun essay" volume or his team of history scholars/writers who helped him with previous editions quit and left him to write this all on his own..and he instead wrote a book of "fun essays volume" instead.. (actually he even mentions , to my surprise, at the beginning of the book how this volume was going to be different than previous volumes..and not a chronological , detailed history, but a book of essays..this is mistitling a volume of a product and to me, a rip off).

Big question for where did the 5 star reviews come from...but I suspect they must be friends of the author this is so obviously a bad non-history of Britain..that can be my only conclusion.
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on 11 February 2015
very good product, arrived in good time
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on 6 January 2015
very good
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on 23 October 2014
Unfortunately I do not like the author's prose
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