1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable enigma which brought PMs to life from dusty history books,
This review is from: Nick Robinson's The Prime Ministers Series 1 (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I thoroughly enjoyed this audio CD which covered Prime Minsters: Walpole, North, Peel, Palmerston, Disraeli, George and Baldwin. I found Nick Robinson to be affable and clear with a good grasp of his subjects. Certainly the warmth that his interviewees approached their guest segments is testament that he found rapport with them in exploring what could have been very dry and dusty . And what guest stars as well: they include the then current PM, Gordon Brown, and the current PM, David Cameron, who was a Leader of the Opposition at the time. I found myself following the commentary as closely as the interviews, they shed light on men I barely remember, but knew were significant.
However, I included a list of the PMs covered to illustrate one of my gripes: Why were these folks chosen? Not all of them were successful, not all of them peacetime. There are even more noteworthy characters (for better or for worse), even if you look at the timeline and conclude that this series ends as Nazi Germany was starting to make its move (thus excepting Chamberlain and Churchill). Ramsay MacDonald with his political manoeuvres is a notable absentee.
Whn I listen to the CD, the common thread to all the discussions of these chosen figures are the relationship to the media of their day. Indeed, by the time I got to Baldwin and his "fireside chats" it had become evident that Robinson wasn't concentrating on just notable legislation or actions undertaken by these PMs but how they handled or mishandled "political spin". This is my second gripe, when I read the title and look at the product description, I hardly expected a major focus of this sort.
So this audiobook isn't fully aimed at someone who wanted to digest history from the academic sense, lets say for a paper or an exam. Nor can I accurately say it was "dumbed down". The only way to clarify this enigma: It feels like it brings these gentlemen who had previously lived in history books to life as a very simplified image.
eg Abe Lincoln was the President who freed the slaves, Harry Truman was the president who ended World War Two with the Atom Bomb.
This method is not to be sneezed at it: how many of the general public, not to mention students would be as familiar with these PMs? It would certainly be a good start for self improvement ie brushing up your UK history. This is an easy to absorb way of doing it .