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Publisher's Summary

The story of Britain from the earliest settlements in 3000 BC to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney.
From the successes and failures of the monarchy to the daily life of a Roman soldier stationed on Hadrian's Wall, Schama gives a vivid, fascinating account of the many different stories and struggles that lie behind the growth of our island nation. Simon Schama's major BBC2 series has shown him to be one of our most original and exciting historians.
©2012 Simon Schama (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Gary on 05-28-13

History is fun and he makes it so

Before this book I didn't know a Stuart from a Tudor, now I do. The author's philosophy is that history should be as fun to listen to as possible. He does that with ease with this volume. He really gets most interesting when he is delving completely into some event or person such as the Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror or the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

The book ends abruptly leaving me wanting for more. I'll probably use one more credit and get Volume II.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

By Douglas on 02-17-14

Very Entertaining History of Britain

I thought this was a very interesting and entertaining history. It was rarely dull. I enjoyed learning about the different roots and layers of Britain. Stephen Thorne's voice is well suited for this book. The retelling of the different revolts and the stories of the royals were great. I have only a few complaints. It's rather a lengthy time period to squeeze into 1 volume. I realize that we simply know more about modern history than we do about the middle ages and before that, but it still seems like this could have been a 4-volume series rather than 3. The final 2 volumes of the series cover only 4 centuries (and really only 3.5 since post-WWII is essentially skimmed over briefly); the first volume covers 47 centuries. Anyway, there were times when I felt like Schama glossed over periods which I would have liked to learn more about. At times events would be mentioned and then not expounded upon and this was frustrating. Also, if you went into this book hoping to learn about the structure of British nobility and government you are only going to be partly satisfied. You will learn plenty about nobles, royals, and non-royals. You'll also hear about the different ways that someone of non-noble blood could become noble. However, if you want to know the difference between, say, an Earl and a Duke, you won't find it here. Similarly, you'll learn a great deal about the different arguments and power struggles between Parliament and the royals, but you won't learn about the different houses or even how the Parliament works as far as voting and things like that. I definitely think it would be beneficial to read a book with a sort of "British society and government for dummies" feel before reading this book.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Roderic on 01-23-14

Well written but hard to manage as an audiobook

Would you listen to A History of Britain: Volume 1 again? Why?

I may return to parts of this if I have a particular interest in a particular period and want to refresh my understanding.

Any additional comments?

This is to some degree a reference book and the lack of a table of contents and index and an inability to flick back and forth through the pages made it a less than perfect experience.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

By Matthew J. Finkle on 07-08-13

Comprehensive, Informative, and Entertaining

Where does A History of Britain: Volume 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Loved the whole of this book and can't wait to listen to Volume 2, as this book stands up against my favourites, which are usually within the Sci-Fi genre. It is informative, in the level of information it gives, whilst being entertaining in itself, history in every bloody detail.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A History of Britain: Volume 1?

Roman history is one of my favourites and the way it is brought to life with individuals lives of the conscripts from across the Empire.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

this book made me think in terms of what I knew of this countries history, which it turns out was poor, and how the four countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland were inextricably joined throughout the ages. makes me want to look at British history more.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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