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 hugely successful BBC2 series has shown him to be one of the most original and exciting historians. Timothy West's abridged reading of the book bears further testimony to Schama's extraordinary gift for story-telling.
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No Contest. Pithy and full of original insight. I learnt more from this than my entire history degree.
Timothy West is a gorgeous narrator.
History come vividly alive, with people and events throughly analysed and colourfully, masterfully explained. The narration is excellent too. Not to be missed.
British history is vast and it's rare to find a book like this. It covers the main events in enough detail to see into the factors at play behind the events. Example: The author presents the idea that the plague was in part the cause of the Reformation. During the plague, priests became so rare, that the church allowed anyone (even women) to give last rites. This planted the notion that priests were perhaps optional; maybe one could even read the Bible oneself!
I love listening in the car on the way to work. I like history and stuff.
A little hard going in the car, but a very good listen. You may have to back it up with the book, but its abridged.
Outstanding! I learnt more listening to this book that I had learnt in years of history lessons at all level's! Not just for history buff's but for anyone English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish!
Enjoyable listen and clearly fantastically researched. Would definitely recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about British history.
"Exceptional, greatly read by Timothy West"
Having read a lot about that period over the years, it was a great welcome addition. Schama's take on the period cleverly weaves a fine tapestry of the evolution of Britain's history in such a succinct story like manner much like a Trollope novel especially as read by Timothy West
The author brings history to life, quotes various figures and doesn't just list occurrences but tells the stories of the people. Lots of new stuff I hadn't heard before. Very well read.
"Our History in words"
Having seen the BBC TV programme and having bought the book, I was delighted to see this volume as audio. I absolutely love this era of our history, particularly the dying embers of Anglo Saxon Britain but also the Tudor age. Written by Simon Schama with such dexterity, keeping the reader interesting at all points and superbly read by Timothy West, an actor of distinction. A super 'listen'.
"Not good for a casual listen"
This would perhaps be a good history text book, it is not however good for the casual listener. I listen to audiobooks to broaden my knowledge, and to relax. In that capacity this book was impossible to follow and went through a lot of history at light speed.
"Where are the Battles?"
Good, but I was disappointed that there was no coverage of the battles of Bosworth and Agincourt.
Mebbe the unabridged CD version (also narrated by Timothy West) covers them?
I am so pleased I bought this, I enjoyed it so much I actually listened to it twice in quick succession.
"A History of Britain 4000 BC - 1603"
This 8-hour long audiobook is one of the best I have ever listened to. I love history, and know quite a lot about it, but this book informed me on huge amounts that I did not know. The only little niggle that I would have is that Simon Schama expects some level of history knowledge - which I have - so, if you haven't any idea about the History of Britain don't get this.
However, if you have any idea of history, and are interested in history BUY THIS NOW!
"England, his England!"
A previous reviewer made the point that this is a history of England rather that Britain, and that is spot on.
Don't get me wrong, Scotland and Wales get a look in (as does Ireland, but as Ireland isn't Britain why should it?) but only as supporting characters - they play Clancy Wiggum and Ned Flanders to England's Homer.
But get your head round that and this is brilliant. Mr Schama is a wonderful writer and Timothy West is magnificent - but I did have one problem, and it is my problem - Mr West's voice just sounds comic and this sounds like a wonderfully erudite yarn in a pub. And for that I thank all involved, its brilliant.
"Hisory of England?"
Simon Schama makes the mistake most English make which is to mistake England for Britain. This book is described as a History of Britain 3000-1603AD; it is however a History of England with the histories of the other countries of Britain only mentioned when their history impacts on that of England. Or in an effort to extend the period dealt with by including Skara Brae in the Orknies. I may have rated it with four stars had it been more accurately described. Honestly, I would have expcted more from this historian.
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