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The Story of Britain: From the Romans to the Present: A Narrative History Paperback – November 17, 2006
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
It explores not only the personalities that lived the history, but tells about how English culture was brought about. Through the ancient Celts, the invasions of the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Danes and the Normans, Britain was influenced by different cultures and traditions. These influences, along with the influence of Christianity, was molded into a country as diverse as those influences.
Most important events and personages are mentioned, some in passing and some at more length. In any case, a book like this won't be filled with minute details, but instead gives a broad view of the history of this great country. So if there's a specific time or event that you want to know more about, you'll find but small reference to it here.
At 700+ pages, this is not a short narrative. But the fact that it took so many pages to paint but a broad picture of the history of Britain says volumes about how rich the history of this nation is.
Written in a very readable style, and considering the type of history it is, I can't think of a better book for an overview of the history of Britain.
As with any survey of this amount of time, her coverage of most events is brief - never more than ten pages to a topic - but she engages the reader, and absolutely prepared me to read more detailed histories of the most compelling figures and times. Included are an excellent list of recommended books, quite a few clear maps, and adequate illustrations.
My biggest quibble with the book is the lack of detail about everyday lives as she discusses the first 1,400 years or so of history. As time marches on, the reader gets a much better sense of everyday life as Fraser talks about child labor, land ownership, health care, etc. but little information about changes in social organization is included in the first 300 pages of her work. I would have benefited from either a few more pages of this early history of a few less details about kings, civil wars, and religious disputes. Still, this is a book I will keep for years to come, and I am sure I will refer to it again and again. Combining its low price, the extremely engaging writing style, and the fact that the book works as a reference book, you can't go wrong.
The book covers Britain from Roman times to 2002. The first chapter deals with the Roman occupation of Britain, the next two with the early (pre-Norman invasion) kings and the remaining chapters cover each king's or queen's reign. For much of the book, these chapters are essentially biographies of the royals, but around the time of the Hanoverian kings (Georges I, II and III), the royalty fades into the background and this becomes a tale of Parliament and Prime Ministers.
The title for the British release of this book called it a "People's History" but that is appropriately changed for the U.S. release. This is not a history of the "people"; instead, it focuses almost exclusively on the people in power. The lives of the regular people are rarely discussed in any detail. Similarly, Fraser doesn't discuss much of the culture; there are a few references to Shakespeare and Dickens, but Shaw is only mentioned once, and many others not at all (including big-name writers like Oscar Wilde and - modern times - influential British musicians such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Who) who had an effect on culture and society.
That, however is not really a flaw; it's just that Fraser's emphasis is more on the royalty and the politicians. But there are real problems.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice place to start the study of British history. Clear overview.Published 2 months ago by S. J. Palit
I feel bad rating this book so low, because it's not really a bad book (although it's far from great), but the facts is, this isn't what it pretends to be. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Miss AR Fardo
One of the best and most comprehensive books on the subject I have ever rear! Great read!Published 3 months ago by Papanator
Clearly written and entertaining without dumbing it down. Makes history relatable, puts events into context and is highly readable while at the same time comprhensive and succint.Published 7 months ago by hoodeejudy
Purchased this so that I would have an extensive book that I could refer to as I read historical fiction.
I have not been let down. Read more