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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars


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on 29 January 2015
Great book, the second in the series of three, all three need to be read starting with volume one obviously, written for everyone who wishes to know the history of Britain but doesn't want to spend months reading and researching heavy tomes, keep a dictionary handy as there are some words you don't use in daily speech. (If you find the three volumes second hand, check vol.2 has all the pages, starting about 62 to 128approx, I purchased this volume as a replacement for my original which had a missing section).
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on 22 July 2016
This book is the second in a series that starts with a book that covers 3500+ years of history of the UK. In comparison this book overs a shorter period of time (175ish years), and is better for it I think. The previous book covered much of the history that any kid would remember from school (i.e. the Roman Invasion to Queen Elizabeth i). This book covers from shortly after her death to the loss of the US colonies and the take over of India.

Because my schoolboy history stops pretty much where the last book ends, I found this book more interesting. It still reads a bit like the "Greatest Hits of British History" inasmuch as he jumps from king to king to king, as if that was the only history that mattered (a grumble I had with the last book too), but because I was less aware of the history, it was more interesting.

The things I did learn focus on quite how much the early empire was held together by chicken wire and duct tape (instead of the many splendoured thing it's presented as in retrospect), and the fact that I suspected in my head that the British were more advanced than the American backwoodsmen that won the War of Independence, when I'm left with the impression now that they weren't.
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on 25 February 2013
...in the Kindle edition many of the illustrations are illegible, some of them nothing but black rectangles. Thankfully, the text is OK - unusual in my experience of Kindle. Schama is a master, and I'm looking forward to reading Volume 3 - probably the Kindle edition, so more black rectangles no doubt. Does anyone actually check Kindle editions to see whether they're up to standard? It would appear not.
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on 11 October 2007
I read this close upon having finished (devoured rather) volume 1, and this is as good if not better. Predictably, it's not exhaustive or extremely detailed but precisely therefore it offered what I was looking for: an easily readable, engaging (Schama is a master storyteller) overview of British history.

It's so good that afterwards I couldn't wait to get my hands on volume 3, AND buy a host of more in-depth books on particular periods or events, and surely that is the best than any history book can hope to achieve?
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on 18 November 2014
IN (my) humble opinion (a-hem)... it was great. Period. I not only checked it out once, but three times, from the library. At first, Professor Shama's delivery seemed a tad stuffy (?), but it soon became an indispensable part of the presentation. He, given half a chance, will grow on you with his inimitable charm. As for nitpickers who would fault him for not "breaking cadence" by mentioning everybody's great-uncle twice removed, or mentioning one of your droll head-bashing Neanderthal-era relatives, please satiate your prurient curiosities by immersing yourselves in a copy of (your own) Unabridged Dictionary. DON'T take the one from the reference room, please. The praise from other reviewers is well stated and deserved, needing no further embellishment (from me), even though he left out the Neanderthals from the other side of my family...
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on 31 January 2010
Schama presents a clear and lucid view of the period and the developments there in. A good read with lots of insights.
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on 10 July 2012
This book is a really good read, even more so after reading Vol 1 Sometimes Simon Scharma's style is a little difficult to follow, but there are some very good descriptive parts of Britain's history, which I vaguely remembered from school, but did not fully understand. This book held my interest, and although not a textbook, I felt I now have a much better understanding of the subject. A thoroughly good read!
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on 27 April 2013
If you're a researcher and need to understand the background to the British Civil Wars and the beginnings of the most revolutionary period in Europe, then this is the book for you. Schama's eloquence is impressive; the books in this series are an easy read and just perfect if you need to access this period quickly and competently. I highly recommend the series - tv and literature.
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on 5 June 2014
Ok here is the sad thing about education in the USA. They don't teach a whole lot of history today. I mean I went to grade school some 15 years ago and we learned about history, but not the extent I would of appreciated. So between Simon Schama, John Lukacs, and Black Adder I think I've learned about a lot of British history I didn't know before.
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This book will help any age of student. Its contents are explained well and in a language that is very easy to comprehend. This is a book that can easily be read from cover to cover which I cannot say for some History books. I feel that anybody will find this book very interesting even if they are not students studying History. The book helps you understand the television series more because all the facts are written down in front of you. This book is this best gift anybody could by a student for christmas.
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