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Summary

Timothy West reads the second volume of Simon Schama's compelling chronicle of the British Isles.

The British wars began on the morning of 23 July 1637, heralding 200 years of battles. Most were driven by religious or political conviction, as Republicans and Royalists, Catholics and Protestants, Tories and Whigs, and colonialists and natives vied for supremacy. Of the battles not fought on home territory, many took place across Europe, America, India, and also at sea.

Schama's examination of this turbulent period reveals how the British people eventually united in imperial enterprise, forming 'Britannia Incorporated'. The story of that change evokes the memory of such enduringly influential people as Oliver Cromwell, as well as lesser known but equally extraordinary individuals. A story of revolution and reaction, progress and catastrophe, this is a vivid account of two centuries which changed Britain.

©2012 Simon Schama (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A History of Britain: Volume 2

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent, engaging but lots to remember

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

Yes. It gives an excellent analysis of British history. It is, however, a lot to take in.

Any additional comments?

When I stopped listening for a few days or weeks it was hard to regain the context, but it was worth the effort.

11 people found this helpful

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Lessons can be learned from rhis

Why do I get the feeling that most of the brilliantly trenchant observations in this book couldn’t ever have been made by any of the awful shower we have in Parliament now?

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent until 1700, slightly meanders after

Continues the basic structure of the first part, with more consistent depth given to the 17th century. Simon goes on in the 18th century to go rather off track at times, but not terribly or unbearably so. Still a very good book, like its predecessor.

6 people found this helpful

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The civil wars, Britain and the wrong empire

The second of Schama's trilogy on Britain covers in most detail the English civil wars, Commonwealth, the protectorate and the Restoration., The British in America and India are given less space but new insights and understanding make this fascinating throughout.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good history lesson

Like all history it depends on who's side you are on. This does quite well at sticking to facts (I do not now how you can confirm this) and keeping all roud perspective.

7 people found this helpful

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  • KE
  • 08-12-15

You couldn't make it up

Brilliant summary of this fascinating period that gets relatively little coverage. If you thought that Britain was a nation of couch potatoes with no political enthusiasm never mind revolutionary tendencies ... Think again!

Excellent balance between royal and commoner focus. Exciting could not turn off. Narrator quite good. Crocuses on a much shorter time span than part 1 and all the better for it. History truly brought to life.

5 people found this helpful

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Some fascinating updates to conventional British history

Spanning what looked like a relatively narrow swathe of history (the previous volume dealt with 4,500 years...) this takes the reader from the antiquity of siege engines and the civil war to the end of the British America and the plunder of India. I, for one, had basked in the glorious history of brave Britons, passing on civilization to the less fortunate around the world; Simon Schama did a good job of educating me in what it meant to be a slave of Britons in the Caribbean; or to have your wealth carried off from India to London. And yet, this felt like an even-handed, fair telling of our history, warts and all. Great job to the author - whose wide learning impressed me hugely - and to the reader.

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Best Audiobook Ever

What did you like most about A History of Britain: Volume 2?

In depth knowledge of one of the most important periods of this great country.and how we became united under one United Kingdom!

Who was your favorite character and why?

King William prince of Orange. His role in the UK and history is still celebrated today even after 300 years, incredible.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The uniting of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England together. Set on course to have the biggest empire in the world, ever!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

British and Proud

Any additional comments?

Great work by Simon Schama looking forward to volume 3

7 people found this helpful

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Great over view

Fascinating overview of Britain's empire building and how the loss of USA sent us to focus on India.

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Walk through history.

A fascinating book and well read. My only challenge with it was that it covers so much you have to keep paying attention. It is not a relaxing listen, but a great summary of some of the key moments in history.

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  • Douglas
  • 17-02-14

A solid second volume

This 2nd volume was interesting and entertaining just as the 1st volume was. After having read all 3 volumes in the series, this is the edition that I'll remember the least. Certainly the end of the first volume blends together with this volume. The subtitle for this volume is "The British Wars" but that seems inapt. It's not as though the 2nd volume is entirely or even mostly a war history. The most interesting part of this volume was the retelling of the Great Fire of London. As I mentioned in my review of the first volume, it helps to be well acquainted with British history and even European history when reading this book. For example, if you aren't familiar with things like the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburgs it's going to get confusing.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Brandon Click
  • 06-02-15

Amazing!!!

This is the best book of the three, even though it only encompasses less than two hundred years.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sharon Schafer Bennett
  • 31-01-13

Entertaining and Mind Broadening

This new history of Britain incorporates new knowledge and the new insights gleaned from the study of "ordinary" people and how the great events of history impact them as well as the principals involved. It was narrated very well, and was easy to follow. I am looking forward to listening to Volume 3.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kimberly Hammack
  • 08-03-17

wonderful

I absolutely loved this work. It made me smile, laugh and cry. A truly wonderfull work!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-10-18

SAD

This book should be titled schamas moral opinion on the history of Britain. Extremely tiring.