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A History of Modern Britain

Narrated by: Andrew Marr
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.5 out of 5 stars (405 ratings)

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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

Critic reviews

"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 listeners say about A History of Modern Britain

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 .

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Top marks for Marr.

I think Andrew Marr is very interesting, he is very fair and factual. This is a very interesting look at Modern Britain shaped by politics.

The pronunciation of Iron and Coventry made me chuckle. Top marks.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Had me hooked!

Having lived through much of this period it is good to have events explained and ordered, and to have some blanks filled in.
Found Marr an easy listen too .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Nice Change from Fiction.

Loved it from start to finish, beautifully read with reasonable attempts at some of the accents of the main players.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not A Better History Book Out There

Brilliant analysis.

Very few eras were dealt with in little depth.

Definitely deserves five stars simply because it was outstanding, overall.