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  • An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain

  • or Sixty Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes
  • By: John O'Farrell
  • Narrated by: John O'Farrell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (170 ratings)

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Summary

Following his hugely popular account of the previous 2000 years, John O'Farrell now comes bang up to date with a hilarious modern history asking 'How the hell did we end up here?'

An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain informs, elucidates and laughs at all the bizarre events, ridiculous characters and stupid decisions that have shaped Britain's story since 1945; leaving the 21st century reader feeling fantastically smug for having the benefit of hindsight.
©2009 John O'Farrell (P)2009 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Listen

An excellent listen and a worthy follow up to the previous book. Well read (by the authour) with both witty and passionate delivery. Definatialy worth going for the unabridged version as you will miss so many little bits of triva with the abridged. Unless you were a 1980's Conservative MP you will love this book!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

An engaging, if somewhat biased, potted history

I found this book fascinating, and delivered in a very engaging manner by the author. For non-history buffs like me, this gallop across the key highlights of the past 60 years in Britain was both informative and very interesting throughout.

Downside? My old history teacher always maintained that "History is written by the Victors" and so it is here. In fairness the author makes it clear from the very start that he is a staunch Labour supporter and he's aware this colours his outlook, but there were a few times when his "Labour Good, Conservative Bad" mantra tended to put too obvious a spin on the events of the times.

This was most evident in book 2 and his views on Margaret Thatcher's years in No10. Also whilst I agree that the odd lighter note can really aid understanding, attempting to make light of the events surrounding Bobby Sands may not have been the best idea.

Overall though I'd still recommend this as a good listen, and a reminder of how the events in the news today have all happened before, and will again, probably with the same outcome.

4 people found this helpful

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

A very amusing summary of modern history.

First things first: If you already own 1950 - 2000 by the same author only the introduction and the first chapter will contain new material. If you don't have them, grab this with both hands. It's not AJP Taylor, and does give a fairly left biased view but this is a very good light summary of events since the second world war. Mr O'Farrell is a very good author and an excellent raconteur and he covers events in an amusing way that helps events stick in my mind. I heartily recommend this audiobook to anybody wanting to dip a toe into modern British history and come away amused and lightly educated.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent fun

This book is well written and well read by the author. I agree with the other reviewer, the unabridged version is so much better. Well worth the money for this funny and irreverent look at our modern history.

1 person found this helpful

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

The best and funny way to learn British politics

learnt l af7ed skilled and thought for many times
thank you for you storytelling of the difficult political history

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

A short amusing account of post-war UK

From Clem to Tony and Gordon, the author signals the development of our post-war life, from the wonders of the NHS (much as we like to moan about it) through the Thatcher devastations, EU, stupid wars over Suez, Falklands and Iraq/Afghanistan, world economic crisis over subprime mortgages, without sounding like a grumpy old man.
He’s right that, after decades of Irish terrorism, we should not have overreacted to 9/11, ending up by provoking new terror groups to seek notoriety. But because the book ends when it does, he’s over optimistic about the USA, and could never have foreseen Brexit (turning UK into a client state of USA), but he did remind me of many of the positive achievements of these years. As the human brain is designed to pick out the negative, an essential element of survival, it’s as well to focus on good things as well (as the 3-day week, miners’ strikes, 3m unemployed, poll tax, denationalisation, we did have improved rights for women and many minorities, the Good Friday Agreement, and, until now, membership of the EU.
What comes next (2019 on) we’ll have to wait and see (and pray very hard!)

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

informative and funny!

Where does An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high. It is an excelent book and a very enjoyable way to learn English history. I've read the earlier book (Utterly Exasperated History...) which was excelent, so I knew I will enjoy this one. However, if you treat it as a history lesson, be careful. The author cannot (and I guess does not want to) hide his political views, which might be slightly irritating (especially for the Conservatives, he is so obviously pro-Labour) and misleading. Still, the facts are all there and presented in an easy-to-stomach way.

What did you like best about this story?

it is very funny. I actually burst out laughing quite a few times while listening to it, so beware you don't listen to it in public!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

there are no scenes, it is a history book! Silly form.

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

No, I cannot handle too much history in one go, as I do not remember it properly later.

Any additional comments?

Very, very nice!

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

witty and insightful

A pretty good summary of the last 60 years. Witty and insightful. I reccomend this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good

It's a brilliant bit writing and even better reading by John O'Farrell. He reads it exactly how he intended to write it, something that may not come across so easily in the book, but does miss some major parts of recent history and is, to be frank, very biased, but a good listen to anyway.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not as good as the last one

Good but not as good as the last book which was a little disappointing, however it was certainly still both entertaining and informative.