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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

4.3 (209 )
5 star
 (114)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.5 (44 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.6 (42 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Francis Liverpool, United Kingdom 20/07/2007
    Francis Liverpool, United Kingdom 20/07/2007 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    275
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    12
    12
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    3
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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 .

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer London 26/06/2007
    Amazon Customer London 26/06/2007 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    118
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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!

    10 of 10 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 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
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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 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    200
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
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    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
  •  
    Ann Newcastle, England 20/12/2013
    Ann Newcastle, England 20/12/2013 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    49
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    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    ian Banbury, United Kingdom 13/04/2013
    ian Banbury, United Kingdom 13/04/2013
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    "Fresh read"



    Andrew Marr tells the History of Britain in a fresh way that makes boring British History interesting, even at times humourous. Trivia and unforgetable facts like Italian welsh rarebit being the former name of Pizza, makes for interesting conversation at dinners .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miss Aylesbury, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
    Miss Aylesbury, United Kingdom 23/12/2012
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    "Idiots guide"

    I downloaded this book after watching the excellent TV series 'Andrew Marr's History of the World' and was not disappointed. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who enjoyed the TV show. The narration is great - keeps you interested. I feel like i've learnt a lot about politics in Britain since the war - a very interesting listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon United Kingdom 05/04/2012
    Simon United Kingdom 05/04/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Easy listening and informative"

    Being an avid history fan I found my post-war knowledge of Britain quite lacking, so I thought I'd give this one a try as I liked Andrew Marr from The Andrew Marr Show. I was not dissapointed.

    With his usual elegance and creativity he manages to give a broad brush of mainly British politics, but also sidestepping himself and looking at the cultural development of the isles. And with his humour he manages to keep the book from suffocating the listener with a barrage of names and places as is often a shortfall in history tomes.

    Thoroughly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Banbury, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom 16/01/2011
    Richard Banbury, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom 16/01/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Outstanding"

    Subtley different from the book but still excellent. Very well delivered and packed with fascinating insights. The Suez Crisis section is particularly enlightening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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