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Publisher's Summary

The first five volumes from the landmark BBC radio series This Sceptred Isle.

Christopher Lee's epic history tells the story of Britain from the Romans to the death of Victoria. This collection includes the original first five volumes:

55BC-1087: Julius Caesar to William the Conqueror
From Britannia under the Romans to the Dark Ages and the invasions of Angles, Saxons, Danes, and Norwegians.

1087-1327: The Making of the Nation
The Crusades, Welsh and Scottish rebellions and the foundations of the modern state - including Magna Carta and the fledgling English Parliament.

1327-1547: The Black Prince to Henry VIII
The Hundred Years' War, the Peasants' Revolt, the Wars of the Roses and the reign of Henry VIII.

1547-1660: Elizabeth I to Cromwell
Elizabeth I's long reign; the Civil War, the execution of Charles I and the establishment of Cromwell as Lord Protector.

1660-1702: Restoration and Glorious Revolution
The return of Charles II, the Great Plague and Great Fire of London, and a ruler from a different country on the throne: William of Orange.

Narrated by Anna Massey, with extracts from Sir Winston Churchill's A History of the English-Speaking Peoples read by Paul Eddington and Peter Jeffrey, this is the definitive radio account of the events and personalities that have shaped our nation.

©2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd. (P)2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ellie
  • 01-27-18

A gentle stroll through British history

This potted history of the British isles is an engaging whistle stop tour that begins with Julius Caesar landing on our shores and comes to rest as Queen Anne ascends the throne. Given the length and breadth of the subject matter and the sheer length of time it is covering, it is more of a superficial browse through the successive reigns of our kings and queens rather than a serious in depth re-telling of history. Nevertheless, it is easy listening and paints a cohesive timeline of events in very broad strokes, sometimes putting events in context and highlighting their impact in the ways that have survived to the present day. If you are an avid fan of any particular period of history, you may feel short-changed in the pencil sketch treatment of your favourite epoch, however, I defy any history buff not to be seduced by the clipped delivery of the narrators and the richness of the stories they tell.

As an additional note, as you reach the restoration of Charles II you may be surprised how the narration seems to speed past him with indecent haste. There is an error in the sequencing of the episodes where the restoration segment has been incorrectly inserted into the William of Orange chapters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin Jones
  • 04-21-17

SOMEONE HAS BLUNDERED

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes but see below

What other book might you compare This Sceptred Isle: Collection 1 to, and why?

Collection 2

Have you listened to any of Anna Massey and Paul Eddington ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not relevant

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Only that I think Paul Eddington died or was seriously ill before he could finish the whole thing.

Any additional comments?

1 Why can't I review without answering above daft questions?
2 I downloaded to play on my MP3 and was a bit surprised to find the 1688 Glorious Revolution occurring before the Restoration in 1660. I think someone put the individual episodes together in the wrong order. I'll play Part 2 on random - it might make more sense.
Still the best way of being able to sound as if you know what you are talking about when answering quiz questions

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • tyke
  • 07-10-18

Fantastic

All you need to know about England her people politics and life makes me proud to be English !
Narrated brilliantly by Anna Massey, Paul Edington to name a few.

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  • Stephen Howlett
  • 08-03-17

Beautifully read

Really interesting and enjoyable to listen to. What a history this country has and I've learned so much from this book. The two orators have such clear voices that I could listen for hours. This book is easily worth five stars

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  • FTM Doyle
  • 05-03-17

Brilliant.

Would you listen to This Sceptred Isle: Collection 1 again? Why?

Yes. I've done so on a number of times, and no doubt will do so again. It helps me remember which Henry or which Edward did what in the Middle Ages; (I've always had problems with those Kings).

What did you like best about this story?

It is the best, most comprehensive, and interesting history of Britain, written or oral, I have possessed. One of the BBC's best ever productions.

What about Anna Massey and Paul Eddington ’s performance did you like?

Couldn't do better.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-29-17

excellent

excellent. history was on radio 4. Very clear. Very easy to listen to. volume two also good.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Crispin
  • 10-30-17

Where’s the story?

I like my history to form a cohesive narrative. This is more of an academic work. The focus is on quoting texts, referencing sources rather than explaining why and how we got here. The Romans arrive and then leave, but why? King Arthur and the Germans come and go but how did they affect Britain and it’s culture? How did they adapt or where adapted? How did we get here? This book does not really attempt to answer such questions. It is more of a series of excerpts from the likes of the Venerable Bede. The questions are more of the how do we know and which references back up this assertion? The sort of thing a good A level historian would produce.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful