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An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  394 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Elucidates the bizarre events, ridiculous characters and stupid decisions that have shaped Britain's story since 1945
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published 2009 by London : Doubleday
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 730)
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Nikki
Mar 31, 2013 Nikki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I'd mind an irreverent, silly tone in non-fiction. Makes it an easier read, right? And always worth poking fun at history and all the dumb mistakes that we'll never ever make again... or not. But something about O'Farrell's tone just sets my teeth on edge. The book is informative enough, but I couldn't get past the style, and I didn't find it all that funny.
russell barnes
Aug 16, 2010 russell barnes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rob manwaring
Shelves: comedy, nonfiction
Handily left behind by Dr Robert Manwaring, who couldn't be cracked to take it back to Australia with him, I thought it'd make an ideal 'bridging' novel betwixt The Leopard and whatever we're reading next for Book Club.

Sadly being a make-weight read was probably as good as it got. You have to wade through a lot of sub-sixth form sniggering and punning before you reach the end. And then, having taken the piss for 450-odd pages, the end is slightly disjointed as O'Farrell suddenly goes all preachy
...more
Jeff
Dec 14, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I picked up this volume more out of hope than expectation - I've had my fingers burned (eyes blinded? morale crushed?) by supposedly amusing socio-historic books far too often before. To be honest, had there been anything else on hand at the time I probably wouldn't have bothered.

And I would have missed an entertaining volume.

Yes, it took me a little while to get used to the style - apart from anything else, the purist in me gets concerned about a little thing called "factual accuracy" when made
...more
Mark
Aug 17, 2014 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, history
Although funny at times I must confess to not liking this book nearly as much as its prequel regarding British History up until world war II. I suppose there is much more scope to pick and choose your moments for ridicule when observing such a vast period of history. This book concerns the years since the second world war and is a mildly humorous documentation of political and cultural changes in Britain. Though I didn’t expect it to tell me anything I didn’t already know, I did expect plenty of ...more
Chris Davis
Oct 31, 2011 Chris Davis rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed O'Farrell's last book on the history of Britain (2000 years up to world war 2). There are plenty of stories ripe for his style of humour in that time period, with Kings and Queens doing things they shouldn't. Unfortunately the 60 year period covered in this book is not quite so suitable for this humour. Yes there are a lot of jokes to be made, but the book tries to cram in too many.

The last book could just select the interesting bits of history, but this one attempts to cover n
...more
Donna
Oct 25, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concise history of British politics for the faint of heart. You could see the left-wing tendencies of the author a mile off, but it didn't matter as he adequately took the piss out of politicians from all sides. Great read, with some genuine 'lol' moments...
Carrie
Apr 18, 2014 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, amusing and readable but it won't stand the test of time due to the topical humour. An enjoyable way to get a grasp on the subject, though.
Grishma
Dec 17, 2015 Grishma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a superbly humorous way to know the history of this period. Enjoyable read along with knowledge and helps understand a lot of the politics.
Shawna
Apr 24, 2015 Shawna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this guy! I learn so much and laugh through it all.
Sue
Aug 03, 2010 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can imagine that some people may not like JO'F but I LOVE his writing, he makes me do that irritating thing where I have to read things out to other people to see if they think it is funny too. This brings up to date where the first book left off ie from WW2 to current date and it was great to be reminded of so many recent historical events told with such an eye for comedy. Read the first one and then try this.
Anne
Sep 20, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
You will get a lot more out of this romp through the last sixty years of British history if you were there at the time (or most of the time!) having said that, it is still sometimes difficult to tell the send-up from the unbelievable truth. Don't bother picking this book up if you were a fan of Margaret Thatcher. On the other hand, admirers of Tony Blair can rest easy.



Florin Pitea
May 04, 2013 Florin Pitea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book in less than 24 hours. Well documented, very funny, quite instructive. It contains numerous references to UK politics, economy, diplomacy, military operations, sports and popular culture. Recommended. For more details, please visit my blog here: http://tesatorul.blogspot.ro/2013/05/...
Steve
Jan 23, 2013 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Am fussy about how my history is presented to me - incidentally it has been a least favourite subject ever since school. This came highly recommended. It has some brilliant comedy lines but has altogether the wrong tone for me. Author seems convinced that no good has come out of anything in last 60 years and this attitude palled after a while.
Neil Jenkins
May 04, 2013 Neil Jenkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're comparing this with the previous one, you'll probably decide it's not quite as funny, and more political. But it was still a great read for me with lots of great one-liners that made me laugh out-loud uncontrollably. Definitely worth reading unless you're already very familiar with this period of history. Thanks again John O'Farrell.
Val
Jul 29, 2015 Val rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is John O'Farrell's take on the history of the second half of the twentieth century and the title pretty much says it all. It is a catalogue of squandered chances and missed opportunities, of the betrayed hopes of the post war generation.
It would be a very depressing read if he was not such a humorous writer.
Anita
Dec 19, 2011 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy this book as much as John's previous "Utterly ..." book, but I guess it's pretty hard to beat the wonderful quirky stories about kings and queens of the past. This one is much more 'political' and not nearly as laugh-out-loud funny - but it is a good, and fun, summary of recent politics in Britain.
Claire
Jul 06, 2011 Claire rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't be bothered to finish this book. It's quite factual/educational but O'Farrell's political views are made a bit too obvious and the random bouts of humour are often ridiculous, but sometimes they are quite funny... pretty much a waste of time and money.
Mehran
Jul 14, 2012 Mehran rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


If you can get past his Thatcher-bashing (no surprise there, given the author's Guardian & BBC credentials) and the hit-and-miss humour, this is quite an informative, entertaining and generally fair history of the last 70 years.
Karen
Jan 29, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A light touch, enjoyable prose, and quite a few laugh out loud moments - filled in a lot of the holes in my British history education - I will definitely be getting the previous one.
Frank
Mar 28, 2012 Frank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun - but a bit sad at the same time. All the highs and lows of the last 65 years of British history examined in a really witty way.
Saul Mcintyre
Not bad, amusing and interesting in equal measures, a quick dash through post war politics with a cynical eye.
Neelakantan K.K.
Aug 17, 2013 Neelakantan K.K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nicely written. Although certain sections do make one aware of the author's bias, it remains an engaging read.
Xanthi
Aug 24, 2011 Xanthi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found myself laughing out loud in some places, smirking in others and even learning a thing or two.
Helen
Dec 28, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I'd find politics funny - painted Margaret Thatcher in a whole new light!
Dave
Sep 27, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good book from this author, as usual a really great read.
Rebecca Johnson
Mar 13, 2013 Rebecca Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious. It's satire, don't take it too seriously.
Parvathy
Aug 20, 2013 Parvathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome ! A very satirical take on British history
Chris
May 09, 2011 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as the book that preceded this one
Ashley31

Amusing ditty but not really my 'cup of tea'.
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John O'Farrell is the author of four novels: The Man Who Forgot His Wife, May Contain Nuts, This Is Your Life and The Best a Man Can Get. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages and have been adapted for radio and television. He has also written two best-selling history books: An Utterly Impartial History of Britain and An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain, as well a ...more
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