Monday, December 23, 2013

The Story of Britain (2003)

The Story of Britain. Rebecca Fraser. 2003. Norton. 828 pages. [Source: Library]

Fraser has a clear purpose for writing The Story of Britain:
some kind of easy framework was still needed to guide the average person through the confusing shoals of disputed facts, to give a broad-brush picture of the past to those not in the van of historical research. The national curriculum today enables many young people to grow up used to handling esoteric historical documents yet without any real chronological sense of the years between, say, the Stuarts and the Victorians. Many children might be forgiven for believing that the Egyptians and the Aztecs once lived on these islands too. The aim of this history is to attempt to return to those old rules of 'who, when, what, how.' (xv)
This chunkster is divided into sections: Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Angevin, Plantagenet, Lancastrian and Yorkist, Tudor, Stuart, Hanoverian, Saxe-Coburg, Windsor. Most of the chapters are titled with the name of the monarch (king or queen) and years of their reign. But that doesn't mean the book is solely focused on royalty to the exclusion of everything else.

Is it readable? Yes and no. I struggled with the beginning and the ending. It just wasn't a thrilling read. There were sections that held my interest very well. There were sections that were more than informative, they were fascinating too. Other sections were packed with information but exceedingly dull. The sections that worked best were peopled with CHARACTERS that were memorable, dramatic, tragic, or vulnerable. The sections that dealt with human nature and dysfunctional families were quite good. But at some point in this history book, Fraser's focus shifts a bit. Starting perhaps with the Hanoverians (or perhaps even earlier with James II, William and Mary, and Anne), the focus is less on royalty and more focused on prime ministers and parliament personalities. As this one goes on, there is barely a glimpse at all of any royal personality. The last two or three hundred pages of this one were horribly boring.

I thought the book was helpful in some ways. I thought she did a great job conveying information from William the Conqueror through Charles II. There were chapters that were definitely accessible and interesting.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP