From the Great Exhibition to the Credit Crunch - the transformation of Britain from the world's greatest nation to the present day
In 1851 Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. It was the high water mark of English achievement - the nation at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, at the heart of a burgeoning Empire, with a queen who would reign for another 50 years. In the following 150 years, the fate of the nation has faced turmoil and transformation. But it is too simple to talk of decline? Has Great Britain sacrificed its identity in order to stay part of the present world order?
Leading historian Jeremy Black completes the landmark four volume Brief History of Britain series with a brilliant, insightful examination of how present day Britain was formed.
About the author: Jeremy Black is one of the most respected historians, described by Andrew Roberts as the most underrated thinker in Britain. He is the professor of History at Exeter University and a renowned expert on the history of war. This title will be his 100th published work in an impressive oeuvre that has covered numerous subjects. He appears regularly on TV and radio, including BBC Radio 4's In Our Time.
I found the audio book very frustrating. Everytime a character is mentioned for the first time the narrator gives dates eg life span (1895 to 1948); period spent as MP etc. Similarly all measurements are given in imperial and then metric units and to 2 decimal places. So infuriating. Eventually I was so distracted by this that It spoilt the experience.
If this was an ebook I'm sure it would not be so annoying as it's easy to ignore such detail, But as it's audio it becomes very annoying.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about A Brief History of Britain 1851 to 2010?
The author has split the era into two periods 1851 -1931 and 1931 to 2010. The history is thematic, ie deals with the total sub periods in terms of individual themes such as women's rights, welfare state etc. This is disconcerting in that he may be dealing with events of the 1930s and then slips back to 1850 for the next set. The author deals with broad trends and progressions utterly devoid of any reference to human personality. One of the great dramas of Victorian Britain was the political tension between Gladstone and Disraeli which informs much of the political and legislative history of the later 19th century. Not a word! The author seems to think that statistics, which he appears to love, are a substitute of living historical figures. He projects no feeling for the era or those who lived through it. It also requires a fairly detailed knowledge of British history and life before reading it eg what are non British readers to make of "ASBOs" which are mentioned but unexplained? Very disappointing. Very boring.
Would you ever listen to anything by Jeremy Black again?
Which scene did you most enjoy?
None come to mind
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
2 of 2 people found this review helpful