This Sceptred Isle

  • by Christopher Lee
  • Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
  • 7 hrs and 16 mins
  • Original recording Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Britain had the biggest empire the world has ever known. At one time a quarter of the global land mass was British. Over a third of the world was insured at Lloyds. At his coronation, more than 400 million people saluted George V. Truly, the sun never set on this historical phenomenon. Whatever the day, whatever the hour, somewhere on the globe, the empire worked and played the British game, often absurdly so. The story of the British Empire is one of enormous personalities, adventure, scientific and maritime development, and the building of one of the most complex international administrations the world has ever seen. The series shows the history of exploration from the 16th century, but more importantly from the mid-18th century to the period shortly before the First World War.


What the Critics Say

"Wonderful....This Sceptred Isle has provided one of the greatest treats for listeners in recent years." (Sunday Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

excellent into to british empire

This 90-part history of the British Empire is, at once, an “easy-listen” & profoundly educational. A work that ran on BBC in the UK, it traces how a resource- & population-poor society in England moved over several centuries to being the greatest colonial power in the world. By use of biographical & historical vignettes, with flashes of sardonic humor, the work is an outstanding introduction for the novice on this subject matter but it can also stimulate and educate those quite familiar with this history. The work takes us from the early days of conquest & colonial administration of Ireland & the Americas, through mainstream & colonial conflict with European continental powers, India, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. As a radio program, it features stronger production values that many other audiobooks, making it a very enjoyable listen to which the reader may return many times to particular segments. And making it a springboard for further readings on the subjects discussed.
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- D. Littman "history buff"

Good but flawed

An enjoyable listen but flawed by forcing 21st century perspective on historical contexts. Example: Early 1600's piety was just another form of bigotry.(America's Pilgrims) Each episode (chapter) begins with a review of the previous episode and I found that annoying. Perhaps that could be edited out of future BBC Audible offerings. Worthwhile if kept in perspective.
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- Tim

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-01-2005
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited