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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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Well writen and informative. Easy to listen to. The narration is one of the best in the Audible library. The only audiblebook that successfully integrates multiple narrators. If you enjoy history or are an anglophile you will want to listen to this book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I bought this title to tackle my shameful ignorance of our imperial history, and I have learnt a great deal! This is a wonderful book that I am enjoying dipping into every so often. Juliet Stevenson is a excellent narrator. If you like history and want to know more about the origins of the British Empire, I highly recommend this volume.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to This Sceptred Isle the most enjoyable?
I bought this to support an undergraduate history module on Empire - partly to use as a source of citations, but also to give me a broad overview of the lifetime of the British Empire. It's certainly succeeded in that - have thoroughly enjoyed it, have used it several times for citations, and looking forward to the next two volumes.
What other book might you compare This Sceptred Isle to, and why?
Arguably, you could compare it to works like 'Empire' by Niall Ferguson (also available on Audible).
Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favourite?
There aren't characters as such, but the title makes regular use of primary sources. So the way the narration is done is that Juliet Stevenson acts as the narrator, the constant presence, if you like - and when a primary source is needed, it's instead read by a different actor, either male or female depending on the gender of the writer of the primary source. For example, a male actor would read an extract from Samuel Pepys' diary, that sort of thing. All of this reading of primary sources works very well, and Juliet Stevenson's narration is excellent throughout. NB : One of the male actors for the primary sources sounds suspiciously like Rob Brydon... I was half expecting him to break out into an Anthony Hopkins, or a Michael Caine - but he never did :)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful