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Crown and Country: A History of England Through the Monarchy

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  499 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews

From one of our finest historians comes an outstanding exploration of the British monarchy from the retreat of the Romans up until the modern day. This compendium volume of two earlier books is fully revised and updated.

The monarchy is one of Britain’s longest surviving institutions – as well as one of its most tumultuous and revered. In this masterful book, David Starkey

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Kindle Edition, 524 pages
Published October 27th 2010 by HarperPress (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dan
Jul 07, 2015 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book describes itself as a history of England through the monarchy and it did that job admirably. Starkey takes us right back to the origins of the monarchy at the fall of the Roman Empire right through all the early warlords and kings, through the Battle of Hastings and the struggle of various monarchs to obtain and hold power, right up to the present day.

The chances are that if you want to read this book you will have some knowledge on some areas of the history it covers. But equally like
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Emily Organ
Jan 20, 2012 Emily Organ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think you have to be interested in the topic to get through this book, it's quite long. But then it would be as it covers around 2,000 years of English history up to the modern day. It's an informative guide to each of the monarchs of England (and the Anglo Saxon kings before England officially existed). I really like David Starkey's impeccable writing style, it's not too dry and there's some caustic wit thrown in here and there. Each monarch can only be covered briefly because of the scope of ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Sep 20, 2015 Shawn Thrasher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently, at one time this was two (much smaller) books that have been published as one. It's a lot to digest, but luckily Starkey is a rapid fire scribe who can (mostly successfully) condense years of material in pithy chunks of well-written prose. Whole books could be written on each and every king and queen, not to mention the multitude of lesser figures that dance across these pages; Starkey succeeds at a daunting task. I particularly liked his chapters on the Anglo-Saxon kings, and the Ge ...more
Ruby
Sep 20, 2016 Ruby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, england
informative book about all the kings and queens of england, the kind of book you sometimes pick up if you need to refresh your memory on a particular ruler.

kinda disappointed that starkey basically never mentions the consorts, except for albert of saxe-coburg gotha, who is the main character in victoria's subchapter (is it because he's a man???? we'll never know)

anyway, this book confirmed my love for anne of great britain (why is she so underrated??? someone should totally make a movie/series
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Mohamed Toorani
Jul 13, 2014 Mohamed Toorani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal note: THIS TOOK ME THREE YEARS TO FINISH AND I'M DONE.

This book provides a great summary of the English-turned-British monarchy. Beware that this isn't a history of England per say, rather it focuses intensely on the royal dynasties.

With that said, each time period and reign is uniquely framed with the overarching themes of empire-building, modernity and so on. It's by no means comprehensive (after all, that would deserve several volumes) but it is a succinct read before bedtime.

After
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Russell Olson
Aug 31, 2012 Russell Olson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Probably going to echo a lot of the comments on this thread, but here goes:

Molar: Good overview written in a clear and strongly narrative fasion.

Molecular: Sometimes seemed over-simplistic in the handling of some of the people and periods. At other times (I'm thinking mainly the span of James I to James II) we are given loads of detail and the chronology becomes less than linear.

Overall: Great overview for someone like me (American ex-pat living in the UK) who is planning to learn more about th
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Glenn Horne
May 09, 2012 Glenn Horne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The actual title of the book I read was: "Crown and Country: The Kings and Queens of England." At the moment, I've this stupid advertisement on my page, which I can't close. It's preventing me from seeing what I'm typing. Anyway, I thought the book excellent.
James
Jan 12, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As concise and potted a history as you could ask for. I was both informed and entertained when read Starkey's book. Now If only someone would write about Irish history in a similar fashion...
María José
Jan 11, 2017 María José rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
por fin entendí todo lo que alguna vez quise entender de la monarquía británica, así que agradezco eso. si bien siento que el libro pasó por encima de algunos eventos históricos muy importantes, entiendo que esto es un libro de la historia de la monarquía, no necesariamente del imperio inglés.
una vez más tengo que mencionar que me choquea leer el comportamiento medieval de la gente, pero eso es obvio.
en comparación con lo que transmitió el libro de los Romanov, la monarquía inglesa es mucho más
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Colin
Mar 15, 2017 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book sets out its goals early, and Starkey carries through on them well. It is comprehensive in its span, beginning shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire, where a number of 'Kings' rules England in disparate parts. I found it extremely readable: Starkey groups monarchs in a sort-of sub-dynastic fashion, and finds a narrative to thread through the chapters.

Inevitably, and not necessarily detrimentally, Starkey's subjective views leak through into the book. He makes some early comments a
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Mark
Mar 20, 2017 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I'm very familiar with the medieval monarchy, but very hazy on what came after it. This book is a good overview. It necessarily glosses over a lot of detail, but provides a useful general sense of how the British monarchy has evolved over the last 1000+ years.

The author is obviously a fan of the monarchy, and apparently voted for Brexit, so it's worth keeping those two things in mind when reading the last few chapters.
Jo Butler
Apr 12, 2012 Jo Butler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just imagine that breathtaking moment when you become the ruler of Great Britain. Your father or brother dies, or perhaps you sailed across the Strait of Dover to slay the previous king. You are now in charge of everything. Armies move at your command, people die at your whim. Nobody can tell you what to do either – unless you overreach and lose your head.

Any man or woman who may one day wear the crown must dream, “What shall I do when I am king?” David Starkey’s nonfiction Crown & Country,
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Simsian
Mar 26, 2014 Simsian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting survey, though lacking in many of the ways that survey histories and anthologies often are. In the earliest years of the monarchy, up through perhaps the 14th or 15th century, the brevity with which the topic is treated comes off without many problems as much there is less conjecture and more uncertainly about the time due to far fewer literature observers. It's just a bit easier to condense those times.

With Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the burden of try to save space in a history
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Caroline
I have to confess to being a little bit disappointed with this, although I suspect that probably comes from having more than the usual familiarity with the history of the British monarchy. As a primer or an introduction to the subject, I have no doubt it would be very good. But I found it a little too lacking in depth. Its scope is admirable, and I was pleased for once to find a book that traces the history of the monarchy beyond 1066 and William the Conqueror. But the flipside of tracing such a ...more
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
A conservative, traditionalist view of British monarchy that has its moments, but is disappointing overall I thought. Starkey's writing style is very televisual, full of the hyperbole of sentences beginning with 'And' and 'But'. Good for the punchy cut-away or scene-change in a historical documentary, but anathema to the flow of sound prose. There are also a number of glaring factual errors in the family trees at the front, and in the text itself.

Personally I most enjoyed and appreciated the se
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Brittany Cormier
So far I'm not terribly impressed but I am also aware of my own biases. The first section is entirely dedicated to the origins of an English monarchy and I am only now reaching the "Edwards". It was terribly boring for me up until hitting the monarchy involved in the crusades because of my knowledge of the legend of Robin Hood. Other than that the first section was really dull. But again, I am biased because I only really like Henry VIII up until the passing of Elizabeth I. Though I have recentl ...more
Helene Harrison
Review - Although I have already read Monarchy: England and Her Rulers from the Tudors to the Windsors, it didn't cover the earlier period, which this one does. I really liked Monarchy as an introduction and reference outline for the periods, but Crown & Country is better as it covers a longer period of time. It is concise and well-written, without being too complicated. Perfect for a beginner!

General Subject/s? - History / Wars of the Roses / Tudors / Stuarts / English Civil War / Georgians
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Chris Morris
Enjoyable and informative. I rarely read this type of book, so I can't compare it to much, but I like Starkey's writing style, dishing the facts but in a slightly more conversational manner.
As a non-British person, I found that I had to look up things like Watling Street. I was also suprised (and maybe I shouldn't of been, by the title) of the lack of discussion of things outside England itself. Little mention of Ireland/Northern Ireland. Australia and New Zealand aren't mentioned at all ... su
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Claire
Oct 07, 2016 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A good coverage of all the kings, queens and lord protectors of England.
Each one is discussed with brief insight and historical points of interest and yet it is not dull.
There is a great deal of politics included which sometimes became a bit of a bore (purely because I have little interest in it) but I appreciate the 2 go hand-in-hand and so stuck with it to the end.
Overall I was pleased I chose this book in my local library and would recommend to anyone wanting an insight into the history fr
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Toni
A wonderful journey of 2000 years of British history. A must read for any history buff. David Starkey has a wonderful, entertaining, accessible style of writing to bring history to everyone! It was an epic read of 500 pages but to read from the Dark Ages through to present day was fantastic and whilst I know certain periods of English history better than others, eg. Tudor period, War of the Roses, this book filled in the gaps and now there are other monarchies I MUST read about. I can’t recommen ...more
Rebecca
Sep 18, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge David Starkey fan but I was a bit disappointed in this book. He basically completely ignores Athelstan, a grandson of Alfred the Great. Another point that bothered me was that if you have viewed the documentary series , Monarchy you basically have read the book. I am a huge fan of Dr. Starkey and I was hoping to learn more about the monarchy. I still enjoyed the book but I cannot give the book a five star review.
Emily Weathers
A good overview of the English monarchy. Focusing on the aspect of monarchy and rulership, Starkey chronicles strong leadership vs. mere figurehead. While informative, some summaries can tend to oversimplify the cultural complexities of specific monarchial reigns and politics. That said, this is a good place to start if you know very little about specific English monarchs.
Paul Miller
I don't think this book works. The objective is to discuss the approach to English Monarchy from earliest days but it ends up being more a fast run through the Kings and Queens until we get to the House of Hanover when the book fulfils its purpose. Interesting read but doesn't do what it says on the cover for me.
Laura
Dec 28, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a great read and I highly recommend it to those who want to delve into the English monarchy. However, those who have some background in the subject may find it a bit simplistic and hurried. I especially found it rushed once the book reached the 18th century, but again, I'm aware it's only one book on quite an extensive subject. Still, it was an easy and interesting read.
David Anderson
Feb 20, 2011 David Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A somewhat whirlwind account of the English monarchy. Fascinating as it is, if you have read even a little in to any of the Monarchy independently you might feel as though a lot of the detail is glossed over, which is somewhat understandable otherwise the book would be a tad on the thick side! If you know nothing of the monarchy however this is definitely the book to get you up to speed!
Matthew Cohen
Jun 06, 2016 Matthew Cohen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely outstanding. A broad based history of England and it's developing system of law told via the history of the monarchy. Employing anecdotes about individual monarchs and telling the story of tensions between ruler and ruled that runs through 1000+ years of English history this is a fascinating read.
Tara Galligan
I thought this was a very useful introduction to the history of the British monarchy. As with any book that tries to deal with such an enormous topic there will be areas that have to be skipped over. It was well written and accessible but left me wanting more detail. That may have been his intention however.....
Anne Anon
Aug 16, 2015 Anne Anon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a compulsive read. A fascinating gallop through UK history from earliest written records ~post Roman occupation. Telescopic style ~ detailed, easy to relate to human stories, with backdrop of wider historical context.

Lots of interesting snippets and gossipy bits about various royals. I like Starkey's opinionated acerbic style.
imngrer
If you want a quick and easy sprint through the English/British monarchy, then this is the book for you. If you want to know a little more, particularly regarding the politics or social and enconomic background, then give it a miss. It's just a light read for a tube journey but not for anyone who has more than an inkling of English history.
Liam
Jun 14, 2016 Liam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, Starkey's writing is engaging and so readable that you don't even notice how much information he's packed in. My only criticism is that he seemed to run out of puff by the end of the nineteenth century, though I suppose we've not seen as much murder and treason in the British monarchy since Victoria.
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David Robert Starkey, CBE, FSA is a British historian, a television and radio presenter, and a specialist in the Tudor period.
More about David Starkey...

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“We tend to think of the Norman Conquest as the turning point in the history of England. But the Saxon Conquest was even more important, since it created both the reality and the idea of England itself.” 1 likes
“Britannia became the land of the Angles or Ængla Land.” 0 likes
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