Top critical review
A breezy read
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)