A History of Britain - Volume 3, A

A History of Britain - Volume 3, A

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The final stage of Simon Schama's epic voyage around Britain spans centuries, crosses the breadth of the empire and covers a vast expanse of topics - from the birth of feminism to the fate of freedom. The Fate of the Empire asks crucial questions about the nature of empire, journeying from celebrations of industrial and imperialist power at the Great Exhibition, to the catastrophic Irish potato famine and the Indian Mutiny. Through the military and economic shocks and traumas of our past, Schama asks the question that is still with us - is the immense weight of our history a blessing or a curse, a gift or a millstone around the neck of our future? This third and final volume in the series is a vast compelling history, made more so by the lively storytelling and big bold characters at the heart of the action. But alongside flamboyant heroes, like Nelson and Churchill, Schama recalls unsung heroines and virtually unknown enemies. Alongside the grand ideas, he exposes the grand illusions that cost untold lives.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 153 x 233 x 35mm | 750g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • The Bodley Head Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations (some col.), col. maps, ports. (some col.)
  • 1847920144
  • 9781847920140
  • 113,032

Review quote

"Schama has a masterly ability to conjure up character and vivify conflict." -- Ben Rogers Financial Times "He remains a master storyteller, admirably and sceptically well read in current revisionist histories, and a wonderful guide to a new history of Britain." The Times "Simon Schama's A History of Britain is far more than the book of the TV series... The book is far richer and fuller, covering a huge span so economically that there is room for plenty of arresting detail... It is the sort of vivid history that keeps you awake." Daily Mail "Popular history at its finest." Sunday Express "A History of Britain, its text supplemented by wonderful illustrations, affords the rare joy of witnessing a scholar at the peak of his powers convincing the reader that he has a cracking good tale to tell and that he is loving every minute of the telling." -- Roy Porter Literary Reviewshow more

About Simon Schama

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. His award-winning books, translated into fifteen languages, include Citizens, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, A History of Britain, The Power of Art, Rough Crossings, The American Future, The Face of Britain and The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492). His art columns for the New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism and his journalism has appeared regularly in the Guardian and the Financial Times where he is Contributing Editor. He has written and presented forty films for BBC2 on subjects as diverse as Tolstoy, American politics and John Donne.show more

Review Text

"Popular history at its finest."show more

Back cover copy

'While Britain was losing an empire, it was finding itself...' The compelling opening words to The Fate of the Empire, set the tone and agenda for the final stage of Simon Schama's epic voyage around Britain, her people and her past. Spanning two centuries, crossing the breadth of the empire and covering a vast expanse of topics - from the birth of feminism to the fate of freedom - he explores the forces that shaped British culture and character from 1776 to 2000. The story opens on the eve of a bloody revolution, but not a British one. The French Revolution never quite crossed the Channel, though its spirit of fiery defiance and Romantic idealism did, sparking off a round of radical revolts and reforms that gathered momentum over the coming century - from the Irish Rebellion to the Chartist Petition. The great question of the Victorian century was how the world's first industrial society could come through its growing pains without falling apart in social and political conflict. Would the machine age destroy or strengthen the institutions that held Britain together, from the family to the farm? And if the British Empire helped to make Britain stable and rich, did it live up to its promise to help the ruled as well as the rulers? On the way to answering these questions, The Fate of the Empire makes stops at both celebrations, like the Great Exhibition, and catastrophes, like the Irish potato famine and the Indian Mutiny. Amidst the military and economic shocks and traumas of the 20th century, and through the voices of Churchill, Orwell and H. G. Wells, it asks the question that is still with us - is the immense weight of our history a blessing or a curse, a gift or a millstone around the neck of our future? It is a vast compelling epic, made more so by the lively storytelling and big bold characters at the heart of the action. But alongside flamboyant heroes, like Nelson and Churchill, Schama recalls unsung heroines and virtually unknown enemies. Alongside the grand ideas, he exposes the grand illusions that cost untold lives. Schama looks head on at the facts and asks, 'What went wrong with the liberal dream?' The answers emerge in The Fate of the Empire, which reveals the living ideals of Britain's long history, 'a history that tied together social justice with bloody-minded liberty'.show more

Rating details

682 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 34% (231)
4 43% (290)
3 21% (140)
2 2% (16)
1 1% (5)
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