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Publisher's Summary

From one of our finest historians comes an outstanding exploration of the British monarchy from the retreat of the Romans up until the modern day.

The monarchy is one of Britain’s longest surviving institutions – as well as one of its most tumultuous and revered. In this masterful book, David Starkey looks at the monarchy as a whole, charting its history from Roman times, to the Wars of the Roses, the chaos of the Civil War, the fall of Charles I and Cromwell's emergence as Lord Protector – all the way up until the Victorian era when Britain’s monarchs came face-to-face with modernity.

This brilliant collection of biographies of Britain’s kings and queens provides an in-depth examination of what the British monarchy has meant, what it means now and what it will continue to mean. Bringing to life a cast of colourful characters, Starkey’s trademark energy and authority make him the perfect guide on this epic, accessible and compelling journey, as he offers us a vivid portrait of British culture, politics and nationhood through an institution that has defined the realm for nearly two thousand years.

©2010 David Starkey (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Excellent…the really crucial events in the history of the British Monarchy…are assessed with authority, wisdom and wit…This is Starkey at his fluent and entertaining best." (Sunday Telegraph)
"This book…is vivid, lucid and engaging…his judgements delivered with quasi-Pontifical assurance are often acute…a very enjoyable book." (Daily Telegraph)
"David Starkey tours England's monarchical horizon with gusto." (Sunday Times)
"Starkey brings the past to vivid life." (Daily Express)
"Combines compelling narrative and lucid analysis to guide us with a sure hand…Starkey’s book will undoubtedly make him and his publishers a tidy profit." (Spectator)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Needs Chapters - to good to stop!

I find most audiobooks (good and bad) to be great soporifics. This, however, is the opposite - and therefore needs chapters as a place to stop and come back to. The story is wonderfully relentless and extremely well read. Looking forward to the day when I have a good five hours free when I can just devote it to listening to this book (maybe it's time to really clean the apartment).

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  • Once We Were Fiction
  • 10-09-11

Informative and Interesting

I think that the measure of this book is that I know a lot more now than I did before I listened to it - but then, I started from a pretty low base!

The audiobook tells the story of Monarchy from Claudius' Roman occupation through to Elizabeth II. Perhaps the title is a little misleading - for example there is not a great deal of coverage of the two twentieth century World Wars.

Personally, I didn't enoy this book as much as some ot the other history texts I have downloaded. The reason for this is not the quality of Mr. Starkey's writing, which is very good indeed. I struggled to keep track with events at times, just because there are so many monarchs. At times they seem to blur into each other a little.

Oh, and the changing narrators jar a little.

That said, this is a very good audiobook and I would definitiely reccommend it. No longer am I slightly ashamed of my lack of knowledge of monarchy and indeed English history. There's still a lot more to know but this book has given me a pretty good grounding. Thanks.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Paul
  • 06-20-15

Comprehensive and entertaining

Beautifully written. Keeps you interested and educated from start to finish. A fascinating and invaluable subject matter, knowledge of which helps us understand this wonderful country.