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A History of Modern Britain | [Andrew Marr]

A History of Modern Britain

Shortlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.
A History of Modern Britain confronts head-on the victory of shopping over politics. It tells the story of how the great political visions of New Jerusalem or a second Elizabethan Age - rival idealisms - came to be defeated by a culture of consumerism, celebrity, and self-gratification. In each decade, political leaders have thought they knew what they were doing, but found themselves confounded. Every time, the British people turn out to be stroppier and harder to herd than predicted.
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Popular Non-fiction Award, 2009.
Nominated for the British Book Awards, Popular Non-Fiction Award, 2008.
Shortlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.

A History of Modern Britain confronts head-on the victory of shopping over politics. It tells the story of how the great political visions of New Jerusalem or a second Elizabethan Age - rival idealisms - came to be defeated by a culture of consumerism, celebrity, and self-gratification. In each decade, political leaders have thought they knew what they were doing, but found themselves confounded. Every time, the British people turn out to be stroppier and harder to herd than predicted.

Throughout this audiobook, Britain is a country on the edge: first of invasion, then of bankruptcy, then on the vulnerable front line of the Cold War, and later in the forefront of the great opening up of capital and migration now reshaping the world. This history follows all the political and economic stories, but deals too with comedy, cars, the war against homosexuals, '60s anarchists, oil-men and punks, Margaret Thatcher's wonderful good luck, political lies, and the true heroes of British theatre.

©2007 Andrew Marr; (P)2007 Macmillan Publishers Ltd

What the Critics Say

"This is a fine example of popular history from former BBC political editor Marr." (Financial Times)
"There is time for much deeper analysis and characterisation in the straightforward narration of the audiobook... Marr delivers it himself, using all his impressive skills as a commentator... It is easy and stimulating listening with lots of deft phrases." (The Times)
"I love his wit, his anecdotes and his old hack's shop talk. Why wasn't I taught politics like this?"(Guardian)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (253 )
5 star
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4.7 (83 )
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  •  
    Francis Liverpool, United Kingdom 20/07/2007
    Francis Liverpool, United Kingdom 20/07/2007 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A History of Modern British Politicians..."

    I did not see and therefore cannot judge the television series, but this audiobook is most enjoyable and informative. Too often professional actors do not seem to follow or to care much about what they are reading, but Andrew Marr delivers his own text with verve and enthusiasm .He has decided views on many of his topics and characters and conveys his interest to the listener. He should not give up his career in journalism to become a mimic but his imitation of their speech adds to the vividness of his portrayal of some politicians As a work of history this is very much a political rather than social history - he is clearly fascinated by politicians and is not greatly concerned with everyday lives -and many aspects of modern Britain receive scant notice, but Marr has a shrewd view of politicans and an eye for fascinating detail and telling anecdotes. The text is clearly abridged (this should be made clearer ) and possibly the audiobook exaggerates the concentration on politicians. One measure of the success of this audiobook is that it makes me and I'm sure many others keen to read the full text of the printed book .

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer London 26/06/2007
    Amazon Customer London 26/06/2007 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Highly recommended, essential brain download"

    I completely missed the TV series when it was on, but heard great things about it so was really excited to see this on Audible. Andrew Marr's narration is brilliantly entertaining, even down to his impressions of the figures in his historical account. Seriously this guy does an amazing Tony Benn, Winston Churchill and Blair. There is simply so much essential information as to the history of Britain that I want to listen over and over again. Not just dull history, but the scandalous, intriguing back stories they wouldn't dare tell you at college. It's my first ever history download from Audible... I'm keen to find more of the same!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick kings lynn, norfolk, United Kingdom 20/02/2009
    Nick kings lynn, norfolk, United Kingdom 20/02/2009 Member Since 2012
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    "Mr Marr really has come up trumps."

    On the surface the subject matter may seem dry and boring and I'm sure in the wrong hands it definately could be.
    However, Andrew Marr lends this book his own indomitable flair and passion. His unbiased narrative is both informative and interesting. The whole book reads like an epic screenplay across the century.
    Andrew Marr really is a natural and I highly recommend his book.
    If you are in two minds about this book I urge you to give it a go - you won't be disappointed!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom 05/03/2011
    Tim High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom 05/03/2011
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    "Different to the TV Series"

    Getting this for my Birthday, I was dreading that it was just a rehash & a promotion of the series on TV.
    Indeed, it has many similarities, but there is enough fresh in here to make full use of the different medium.

    As something of a history & politics buff, I found his assessment of most of our post-war leaders to be fair & frank & that he is not as pessimistic as some historians have been about this period (e.g. 'The Very Bloody History of Britain: 1945-Now'). Considering his ending moral as well (that all political careers end in failure) the book has a freshness & authenticity coupled with a sense of idealism (rather than cynicism) that often pervades political writings.

    One criticism that I'm not sure many listeners will be aware of though is that Marr appears to have quite a fondness for Thatcher. This comes over especially in his pronouncement that only 'only the 1945-51 Labour Administration & Thatcher's first two terms really dealt successfully with Britain's problems'. I note that he omits Blair's first term.
    Minor quibble though this is, I am a Thatcherite & am aware that not everyone thinks her policies were good - in fact most are divided on the subject altogether.

    That being said, one criticism I don't uphold is that this is purely 'political history' - it may concentrate on that as his specialty, but there are also many elements of social, cultural & even comedic history which keep the narrative interesting.

    And, best of all, Andrew Marr passes the test of being both a good narrator AND a good author (which is so rarely achieved in this format). And for that, I would say that this book (in any format) is a worthwhile purchase & is easy to absorb, while not compromising on facts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francis Liverpool, United Kingdom 20/07/2007
    Francis Liverpool, United Kingdom 20/07/2007 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    202
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    24
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    8
    0
    Overall
    "A History of Modern British Politicians..."

    I did not see and therefore cannot judge the television series, but this audiobook is most enjoyable and informative. Too often professional actors do not seem to follow or to care much about what they are reading, but Andrew Marr delivers his own text with verve and enthusiasm .He has decided views on many of his topics and characters and conveys his interest to the listener. He should not give up his career in journalism to become a mimic but his imitation of their speech adds to the vividness of his portrayal of some politicians As a work of history this is very much a political rather than social history - he is clearly fascinated by politicians and is not greatly concerned with everyday lives -and many aspects of modern Britain receive scant notice, but Marr has a shrewd view of politicans and an eye for fascinating detail and telling anecdotes. The text is clearly abridged (this should be made clearer ) and possibly the audiobook exaggerates the concentration on politicians. One measure of the success of this audiobook is that it makes me and I'm sure many others keen to read the full text of the printed book .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crispin 29/07/2015
    Crispin 29/07/2015 Member Since 2014

    Habitual backpacker. Boats, trains, dogs and 80's music. Memoirs, period mysteries, psychology and travel books.

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    "It all becomes clear"

    I was only vaguely aware of Andrew Marr until this year. His books bring events together in a coherent, humorous story that hints at lessons for a better future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Leatherhead, United Kingdom 22/07/2015
    Andy Leatherhead, United Kingdom 22/07/2015 Member Since 2013
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    "A trip down memory lane"
    What did you like most about A History of Modern Britain?

    Very relevant to the general public


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A History of Modern Britain?

    Remembering what I was doing at the time of some of those key events


    Have you listened to any of Andrew Marr’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    First time listening to Andrew Marr, but VERY impressed!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not particularly


    Any additional comments?

    A book you could listen to a few times over as there is so much to take in.
    As someone growing up in the UK in the 60's, I found this a great trip back down memory lane, now understanding better some of the key events which whilst I remember, I did not really understand their impact at the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    darren London, United Kingdom 12/07/2015
    darren London, United Kingdom 12/07/2015 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent"
    Any additional comments?

    Although not quite as good as his other book - looking at Britain from the end of The Second World War up until the present day - this audio book is brilliant and insightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophie 20/06/2015
    Sophie 20/06/2015
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    "Amazing!"

    Listened whilst travelling South America as a little reminder of home, it's fantastic. Makes you laugh in parts and think about things you'd never considered in others. Worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Newcastle, England 20/12/2013
    Ann Newcastle, England 20/12/2013 Member Since 2014

    Retired Psychologist Love reading/audiobooks, travelling, animals Favourite saying The fact that you believe something does not make it true

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very good, but I would have liked more!"
    What made the experience of listening to A History of Modern Britain the most enjoyable?

    The history of modern Britain was told through the history of modern politics. That may not be everyones 'cup of tea', but it really worked for me.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    NA


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Possibly.


    Any additional comments?

    I learned a great deal from this book. However, I would have liked just a little more depth which is why I have given 4*, not 5*. Andrew Marr read it beautifully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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