Saturday, 7 January 2017

British History in 50 Events by Hourly History – Book Review

British History in 50 Events is a book in the Hourly History series. The book was offered to me for free on Kindle on the last page of my copy of Adolf Hitler: A Life from Beginning to End by Hourly History and out of curiosity, I just continued with the series and read this book.

The book starts from the time of Stonehenge till the 2012 London Olympics and the events are arranged in Chronological order. At least a paragraph is dedicated to nearly every major event in British history, such as Battle of Hastings, Armada, Industrial Revolution, Gunpowder treason, the Battle of Waterloo, Battle of Britain, etc. The book has done a good job of compressing nearly 3000 years into around 50 pages touching upon several significant events.

But then, I have used the phrase ‘several significant events’ because a lot of important events were given a miss (the surprise miss being the lack of mention of Horatio Nelson). I also felt the author tried too hard to not show Britain in a bad light throughout the book such as; while the book tried to project the Hundred Years War as a status quo ante bellum, for all practical purposes, it was a defeat for the English considering the French managed to push them to a corner in Calais while managing to secure their kingdom and crown their king; the British exploits in their colonies also didn’t receive any mention and some of it even had a bearing on the Isles; the Iraq war was also conveniently given a miss and these are just a few that I could think of. Additionally, I also couldn’t avoid noticing that the author continued to refer to the country as England even for events after the Act of Union (example: the author refers to Falkland War as a war between England and Argentina) that beyond a point, I felt that I was reading something written by someone from the far right English Democrats Party. That is also perhaps the reason why there was absolutely no mention of Harold MacMillan, Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. 

Despite the shortcomings that I have mentioned, I wouldn’t say that the book was so bad to warrant a four rating from me but I would award it a neutral five considering that it did manage to tell me the brief history of Britain in an hour.

Rating – 5/10

Have a nice day,


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