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How Britain Really Works

Understanding the Ideas and Institutions of a Nation
Narrated by: Stig Abell
Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (177 ratings)

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Summary

Getting to grips with Great Britain is harder than ever. We are a nation that chose Brexit, rejects immigration but is dependent on it, is getting older but less healthy, is more demanding of public services but less willing to pay for them, is tired of intervention abroad but wants to remain a global authority. We have an over-stretched, free health service (an idea from the 1940s that may not survive the 2020s), overcrowded prisons, a military without an evident purpose, an education system the envy of none of the Western world. 

How did we get here and where are we going?

How Britain Really Works is a guide to Britain and its institutions (the economy, the military, schools, hospitals, the media, and more), which explains just how we got to wherever it is we are. It will not tell you what opinions to have, but will give you the information to help you reach your own. By the end, you will know how Britain works - or doesn't.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

  

©2018 Stig Abell (P)2018 John Murray Press

Critic reviews

"Absorbing...an intelligent and clear-eyed account of much that goes on in our country." (Sunday Times

"Wry and readable." (Guardian

"Stig Abell is an urbane, and often jaunty guide to modern Britain, in the mould of Bill Bryson." (Irish Times

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 10-09-18

Thorough and interesting

This is a really interesting, thoroughly researched and well presented book. The conclusions drawn in the final chapter jar somewhat but aren’t inconsistent with the body of the book (after chapters of telling the reader “How it is”, the author gives his view of “How it should be”).

I can’t recommend the audiobook however, because the author has chosen to narrate it himself and the results aren’t good. He seems to be in a hurry to get through it, reading fast and with an oddly hectoring tone. Points that could be emphasised for clarity are not l, for the sake of speed, and he seems to run out of breath and gasp every so often.

Rightly or wrongly the listener gets the impression that the narration was done in a hurry, which is a great shame as it undermines the very good work the author did in researching and writing this book

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good.

Good content and delivery. would recommend this title to anyone as a crash course in British institutions.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Lacks originality

Maybe I've just read many similar books to the author; but it felt like a bland rehash of points made elsewhere without any thought-provoking ideas or analysis of his own.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful breakdown of a very British muddle

Well narrated with a great mix of facts and cutting insight on how modern Britain is where it is.

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An absolute must read or listen

Fantastic book. I was initially dubious, but quickly you realised this is an unbiased, unpoliticised viewpoint. It shocked me, enlightened me, enraged me and made me proud to be British, all in equal measure.
A must read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A must read

Everyone should read/listen/be taught this book. Inciteful, balanced and unbiased. Well I done Stig. Outstanding!

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A book for the Center Ground

Not since the 70s and 80s had UK politics been so divided and the centre voice so ignored. This book, whilst not without the author's opion, is full of well researched facts and figures on much of the machinery that makes Britain we see today.

Well read by the author but clearly not an professional narrator. To be fair he didn't distract from the book and I generally like authors narrating they own work. In insight purhaps the 4 was a bit harsh.

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Compulsively interesting

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A comprehensive history of subjects such as politics, economics and the NHS, narrated in a fascinating mixture of facts, literary references, and personal anecdotes. Highly recommended.

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10/10

A must read/listen for anyone who has a hazy at best knowledge of what’s going on / the country we live in. Clear, comprehensive and even the occasional joke, I really enjoyed this audiobook and would recommend it to anyone
Seeking to be better informed about the general world around them.

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Left Wing Tripe!

This is far less an "analysis" than a political statement. Really disappointed and returned the title.
If you like Owen Jones and his brand of nonsense you will probably like this. If you prefer more considered writing, look elsewhere!

1 person found this helpful