Christopher Lee's history of Britain provides the definitive radio account of the events and personalities that have shaped the British nation. From foreign invasions and war to economic crises and social revolution, this is a compelling journey through centuries of dramatic change.
Volume 1, covering the years 55 BC to 1087, tells the beginning of the story: 400 years of peace for the island of Britannia under the Romans before a plunge into the Dark Ages and the invasions of those who would become the English: Angles, Saxons, Danes, and Norwegians.
© and (P)1996, 1998, 1999 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.
This book is very user friendly It tells us the early history of Britain and is very enjoyable to listen to. I am ranking it very highly among the audible history books.
I liked the fact that it stressed two unknown facts for me. One was that the Britons were fighting the Angles and Saxons which helped Norman the Conquerer in his invasion. The second eye opener was that Norman was really an offshoot of the Scandivanians, not the French. Also, the book was addressed to the reader in the 21st century.
Anna Massey is great. I listened to Rebecca and she is outstanding here as she was there. She is a born narrator as well as a great actress whom I have seen on the Masterpice Classic Palliser series.
I wouldn't say I laughed or cried, though some of the characters were amusing. I plan to listen to the other books in the series. I felt very informed about not only early English history, but also about what we call the early Middle Ages.
Unless you're listening to this book with a huge poster and pen, rapidly copying down the names and relationships of the parade of rulers over Britain, you'll be totally lost after five minutes. It reads like the first few chapters of genesis...
"I love these books"
I love the sceptered isle series for giving a clear understanding of people, events and the environment of the time. A great foundation before looking into some of the topics in more detail or providing background information on areas you already know in detail. For example this book and volume 2 lends context on the history up to the wars of the roses.
This series covers the events in sufficient detail to give you a good grasp of British history. It doesn't get bogged down in areas for which there is a lot of information which in other books gives a lopsided understanding of the period.
Anna Massey is probably the best narrator I've heard. She gives a clear and engaging performance with enough emotion to bring the subject to life without being annoying and distracting. Excellent.
Having a male voice to convey specific areas of information also works very well. The combination of male and female narrators help keeps the subject matter easy to understand.
I did listen to it in one sitting.
I didn't give this book 5 stars for the overall category is because the Sceptered Isle series aren't good value for money.
At around £8 - £14 for books only 2-5 hours long they give some of the least content at the highest price. There are other titles available in history which are also excellent and offer far better value.
However these are the only books which cover certain periods of British History. The quality is good enough that I've still bought many of the titles but feel very unhappy at the price.
"what have the Romans ever done for us"
Yes, and I have done, because it is the clearest and most powerful introduction for the lay person into the history of that era.
How Britain was viewed as the end of the world.
Her passion and authority.
Please don't forget the superb Paul Eddington when listening to these books.
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