- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 19 hours and 12 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
- Audible.com Release Date: January 7, 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004IDQRY8
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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A History of the English People Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Most historians have their biases, but they mask them subtly and fairly successfully under the shadow of their academic-style prose; Paul Johnson, however, is so outright with his prejudices in this, his most opinionated history, that reading the book is at times almost comical. Queen Elizabeth, it seems, could do no wrong. If she directed murder, it was "against her will." She "was forced, with great reluctance" to persecute the Catholics and the Puritans, because "both groups, in the end, left her with little alternative." The Queen was a paragon of tolerance, whose greatest achievement was to establish "the religious system of England on a basis of moderation." James, on the other hand, was a "loutish savage." Indeed, Johnson is as expansive in his condemnation of the Stuarts as in his praise for Elizabeth: "Those who decry the influence of personality on history find it hard to argue away the speed, the perverse skill, and the absolute decisiveness with which the Stuarts demolished their English heritage."
Johnson is a clever writer, and he manipulates language effectively. It is not the kind of wordplay one expects to encounter in a history. His descriptions are memorable: the Puritans "oozed hypocrisy,"* America "was the posthumous child of the Long Parliament." Many of the author's phrases are entertaining because they are tongue-in-cheek.Read more ›
It feels like Johnson wrote this for an English audience familiar with the facts of English history, freeing him up to focus on areas of his particular interest. It assumes a certain knowledge of English history and royalty that most Americans probably don't have (speaking for myself).
Unlike his other books in which he wrote histories with occasional forays into particular areas of interest, this book really is a collection of essays on themes of interest to him, with the essays skipping confusingly backward and forward over the decades without warning. At times it gets very confusing; for example a late chapter that takes you up to the 1970's and the dissolution of the empire and commonwealth, then suddenly jumps back to the first Labour government after World War I.
He skips over significant periods of time and rulers. For example, he completely skipped Edward 4, 5 and 6.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Granted, I have always read Paul Johnson with my salt shaker at hand. But reading this post-neo-con conversion history was truly an eye-opener as to how a talented writer can... Read morePublished on April 16, 2013 by James C. Rogers