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  • How Britain Really Works

  • Understanding the Ideas and Institutions of a Nation
  • By: Stig Abell
  • Narrated by: Stig Abell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (220 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

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What listeners say about How Britain Really Works

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 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

7 people found this helpful

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READ TOO QUICKLY

I was looking forward to listening to this book but I didn't even get a quarter of a way through it before giving up because Stig Abell's reading is far, far too fast. I was exhausted just listening to him at times. He reads as if he is trying to get to the end in the quickest time possible, and sometimes has to stop and catch his breath. I also struggled with understanding or taking in the information he was giving because he was going far too quickly.
Really disappointed with this audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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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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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Well read and very informative.

There's a lot of info to get your head around here. Very well written and educational.

Blackopolypse

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Incredibly interesting

Gave me a great insight into things I didn't understand well and knew little about. Have purchased the paperback to digest again. It has encouraged me to read more and keep questioning. I hope Stig does a sequel in response to the pandemic.

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Nice mix of facts and commentary

A solid guide to modern Britain with an even mix of facts and commentary. Manages to remain nonpartisan. Some nice wit here and there.

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Personal view of Britain.

This book is makes some good observations on Britain at the time of writing (2018) . Each section contains a brief history of how the various institutions that shape Britain got to where they are. The view is white cosmopolitan and London centric. It’s personal in its choices of institutions and somewhat rambling in exposition. I was struck at the omission of the Royal Family as it still controls this country and its institutions. I also struggled with the narration which I found was best listened at 0.9 speed.

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Very interesting and balanced.

An interesting book that is well narrated. The book contains information about the British society that we should all be aware of, but sadly aren't.
a decent listen, thanks.