A History of Britain: Volume 3

  • by Simon Schama
  • Narrated by Stephen Thorne
  • 20 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Timothy West reads the third and concluding volume of award-winning historian Simon Schama's compelling chronicle of the British Isles.
Here he illuminates the period from 1776 to 2000 through a variety of historical themes, including Victorian advances in technology and industry, women's increasing role in society, and the burgeoning British Empire which promised civilisation and material betterment for all. This volume also looks at key characters from the period, including Wordsworth, Burke, Queen Victoria, Churchill, and Orwell, whilst examining some lesser-known lives, such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman doctor, and Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse in the Crimea. Finally, Schama reflects on the overwhelming presence of the past in the 20th century, and the struggle of our leaders to find a way of making a different national future.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An interesting and entertaining final volume

The final volume in the history is as good as the first two. By the time the listener is on the 3rd volume Thorne's voice is like that of an old friend. Actually, when I read the blurb about the 3rd volume it mentioned that the narrator was different and I was taken aback because at that point it would have been weird to switch voices. However, the blurb was thankfully inaccurate. The histories of Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill are two of the highlights of the final volume. The history of British rule in India is also fascinating. I was a bit disappointed with the last bit of the book because post-WWII Britain is basically just skimmed over. The author had forewarned us that this would be the case but I had held out hope that he was exaggerating. Alas, Schama was telling the truth. I would have liked to hear more about how Britain dealt with Ireland becoming independent and how it handled the breakup of its empire. I also wanted to hear a more detailed account of Thatcher's history. My biggest disappointment concerned the history of the crown. I was looking forward to learning what it was that changed the crown from being of chief importance to being a ceremonial relic. I wanted to know how things changed so much in so little time but it was never explained or really even touched on. Queen Victoria's reign ended in the early 1900's and by all accounts she was the supreme ruler of Britain and extremely important (the period is named after her after all). In my lifetime Queen Elizabeth II has been irrelevant to all besides tabloid magazine editors. How did that happen? I never learned this. I don't recall King Edward VIII giving up the crown in order to marry a divorced woman being mentioned at all, and if it was it wasn't discussed at any length. I would have liked to hear more about the 2nd half of the 20th century.
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- Douglas

Thoroughly entertaining and interesting book on the rise and fall of Britain and the Empire

Extremely interesting book on rise and fall of Britain from 1776 to 2000. The book focuses on people who made the history rather than just the events. As a result I learned about many famous Brits of whom I was unaware.
Plenty of good information on the Empire and of course the magnificent but flawed Winston Churchill. Highly recommended for anyone with a love or interest on that green and sacred land and Celtic cousins.
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- Valerie A. McCoy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-06-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios