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1066 and All That
 
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W.C. Sellar
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1066 and All That (Humour Classics)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,615 ratings  ·  156 reviews
First published in 1930 in Punch, and then in book form, 1066 and All That quickly became a classic of English humour. Sixty years on, the acclaim for this comic satire upon textbook history is undiminished, the book's freshness of wit and humour ensuring it continues to claim a place in the minds of succeeding generations. Here, in one volume, is 'all the History you can ...more
Published August 9th 1984 by Methuen Paperbacks (first published October 1930)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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notgettingenough
Things this book doesn't explain about England.


(1) Fishfingers in a white bread roll. Not so much that they exist as they pass for nutrition.

(2) First class on trains being quite often cheaper than economy.

(3) The help I get in the Underground with my bag. And yet my niece with her baby in a pram gets not a finger lifted to her. Stephen says it is because my bag is bigger than I am. Luton, which is full of sweet men who take charge. Not once have I asked for help, it is just given.

(4) Why Birmin
...more
Kristopher Swinson
I really cannot describe the delightful depth of wit. One wouldn’t think that their roving narrative is morally probing, but I detected great commentary on religious intolerance (24-25, 43-44, 66, 87), as well as socially. William and Mary’s “Toleration Act, which said they would tolerate anything, though afterwards it went back on this and decided that they could not tolerate the Scots” (87). Insights on the Southsea Bubble (89, 91-92) are particularly applicable in light of present economicall ...more
Roisin Radford
This is one of my favourite books of all time; silly, harmless, educated humour at its best. It plays on all of the English history that you would traditionally have been taught at school and promptly forgotten, presenting it in the slightly hazy jumble stereotypical of someone who went through the education system a little longer ago than they'd care to remember!
The humour is reminiscent of Monty Python, as is often said. But Seller & Yeatman are less absurdist, though the inherently childi
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Kay
A blithe send-up of the sort of English history that was force-fed to generations of Britons. With test questions such as:

"Describe in excessive detail:
a) The advantages of the Black Death
b) The fate of the Duke of Clarence
c) A Surfeit"

In short, the more I read of British humor circa 1870-1960, the more I understand where Monty Python was coming from.

MisterFweem
History, these authors point out, isn't really what happened: It's what's remembered. So that's why everybody out there has a garbled idea of the history of his or her nation, as Sellar and Yeatman present here of Jolly Olde Englande.

Most intriguing throughout is the framing of all English history in the guise of whether England was Top Nation at the time these events occurred. I'm sure every nation gauges its history by such a standard; knowing when and why one was Top Nation is important for t
...more
Kim

Having recently read extracts from Jane Austen's teenage satirical work The History of England, I thought it was time to re-visit this classic work, first published in 1930. Jane Austen's work on the same theme reminded me of how much I had enjoyed reading this book more than thirty years ago.

It is a quick read: sixty-two chapters in 123 pages, from Chapter 1, in which Caesar invades Britain, to the end of history, which according to Chapter 62, occurred after the Great War and the "Peace to En
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Dana
This book drove me mental, and I wish it hadn't. I wish I had been able to appreciate its silliness without being driven crazy by all the incorrect dates and facts. I do appreciate what the author was trying to do, but apparently I'm too much of an obsessive history nerd to make it more than several pages into something like this without wanting to tear my hair out. It's a shame.
Jo
A history of England done in a slightly silly format. I think you'll only really get it if you know your history. Which English kids are no longer allowed to learn about in case it offends anybody who lives in England but isn't English.
Louise
For pheasant, read peasant throughout.
Antonomasia
This has always been a Christmas book to me, because there was a copy in the house of a relative we used to visit at this time of year when I was a child. [Here I could really do with a small font.] But I'd never actually finished it before. I must have been seven or eight when I secretly abandoned it. I wouldn't have been able to bring myself to admit to anyone that I didn't understand all of it, because I was the sort of smartarse Hermione kid that never happened to. Even now it's been surpris ...more
Kirsti
Delightfully muddled book of English history as described by English people who have not had to pass a history test in quite some time.

"The Boston Tea Party

One day when George III was insane he heard that the Americans never had afternoon tea. This made him very obstinate and he invited them all to a compulsory tea-party at Boston; the Americans, however, started by pouring the tea into Boston Harbour and went on pouring things into Boston Harbour until they were quite Independent, thus causing
...more
Jemidar

A short and amusing volume of all the English history you will ever need to remember, and a clever dig at how history used to be taught in schools. The more up you are on your English history, the more you will appreciate and enjoy it. Some of the one liners are very funny. I laughed out loud lots, so beware of reading it in public places. Highly recommended.
Chasmom
This is one I don't even lend out unless I am sure it will be appreciated. An all-time favourite in whatever edition (the first edition was left in a taxi cab and lost), an absolute riot I found, oddly enough, in the back of a taxi in a strange city...
Stephanie
Love this book. It's hilarious in that dry British way. Please note- it's much funnier if you're already familiar with British history as much of the book is devoted to a willful and intentional misinterpretation of fact.
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's novels reviewed on the blog will generally have some images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a novel is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate a nove
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Siria
I've been aware of this classic for many years, but have only now come across a copy of it. I found 1066 and All That to be fitfully funny; in many ways it's a product of its time and social context, and so is probably most amusing to someone who was a product of the English educational system through to the early 60s. Still, there are some fitfully funny moments, particularly the wry little one liners. ("For pheasant, read peasant throughout.")
Eastofoz
Oct 12, 2010 Eastofoz rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: British history buffs
Shelves: non-fiction, humor, 2010
If you don't know your British history inside out I can't see how you'd find this book funny. A lot of things will go way over your head or you'll just not understand at all. What you may know history-wise just isn't all that funny I thought. The "tests" at the end of the sections provide a bit of a chuckle as they seem to poke fun at the way teachers write instructions for tests.

Not for everyone.
Sarah
I think that if I knew as much about British history as the average UK schoolchild AND if I didn't find Monty Python to be just ineffably different from what I think is reliably funny, I would have absolutely crapped myself with laughter. As it was, I came away with a number of pleasant "Oh, ha" moments and a conviction that I'm a total dolt history-wise.
Reader
I read this is just one day as it was a really light and enjoyable read which I really enjoyed. A certain knowledge of history is certainly required to enjoy it and I understood most of the jokes, but that said, it was all history that really everyone should know a little bit about. Since I am studying Henri of Navarre my favourite part of the book was the short paragraph about him, where he is reported to have said 'Paris is rather a mess' as opposed to the more historically accurate (although ...more
Rio (Lynne)
This is a quick read. If you know English history, you will get a small kick out of this book making fun of all the English monarchs. It is very witty and filled with dry humor. The book is about the "big" famous things that happened in history and how many people remember it (which isn't always accurate) like singing the wrong lyrics to a song.
Monica
English history fans rejoice! Unless you've read this already; then why didn't you tell me about it? You know those funny histories allegedly written by students ("History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long.")? It's like that but written on purpose about England. The only real history is what you remember.
Richard Thomas
It's still funny after first reading more than 50 years ago. I always liked the exam questions but the whole book is a delight.
Robbie Leslie
This is one of the funniest books in the English language (see my reviews of Stella Gibbons' 'Cold Comfort Farm' and J.K.Jerome's 'Three Men in a Boat' for the others!).
It is a perfect pastiche of British (ie English) history as taught to generations of British school kids from the Victorian era until the late 1960's. In point of fact it wasn't that different when I encountered 'History' at secondary school in the early 1980's. That was when my Dad gave me this wonderful book. It made me howl wi
...more
Ellen
Hilarious, though probably better to read a little at a time, and also if you have some vague idea of real English history. Ever since reading this I have wanted to write an American version, called, naturally, 1776 and All That.
Karen Floyd
I have to re-read this periodically because it makes me laugh. And, as I have discovered since first reading it some 30 years ago, the more English history you know the funnier it is. It is a book for grinning and laughing out loud over.
Scott
Just about the funniest book I've ever read. Imagine Bertie Wooster in the classroom. Helps to have a smattering of English history tucked away somewhere in your noggin. Best read at the bumbling end of a long, hard semester.
Rachel Heffington
A hilarious history of England that effectively wiped out all the random bits of knowledge I had floating about, and replaced them with something infinitely cleverer, if a little lopsided. :)
Flavia the Creator
I noted my thoughts going into this book: Do I know enough history to enjoy this, when it seems to rely so much on prior knowledge? Can I really be considered knowledgeable about my country at this point, and if I don’t understand all of this book, then how can I find the significance waiting? :/

So, in other words, I was a little hesitant to get stuck in. My expectations were proved correct – I ended up enjoying the bastardisation of the periods I studied at school (the Mediaeval era, the Tudors
...more
Valerie
This book actually requires a fairly thorough Classical education to understand all the jokes. You can get some of the jokes anyway, but you'll encounter many jokes that just stump you.

But the jokes are many per page. If you don't get more than a quarter of them, you'll get enough for many chuckles, the odd chortle, and maybe even a belly-laugh or two.

And you may even pick up a few bits of genuine British history, by mistake.

One point (you'll know when you see it). In Britain, the punctuation m
...more
Kate
"Philip Ziegler makes his choice:

"Very occasionally one comes across a perfect book. It is not necessarily among the greatest. Persuasion is more nearly perfect than the shaggy and mountainous The Brothers Karamazov, but the latter bulks larger in the perspective of eternity. The perfect book, however, achieves precisely what it sets out to do, without an unnecessary or a missing word -- an immaculately conceived and fashioned whole.

"1066 and All That (1930) is such a book. Its main object was t
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Walter Carruthers Sellar was a Scottish humourist who wrote for Punch. He is best known for the 1930 book 1066 and All That, a tongue-in-cheek guide to "all the history you can remember," which he wrote together with R. J. Yeatman.

Sellar was born at Golspie in Sutherland. He won a scholarship to Fettes College where he was Head Boy in 1917. After serving briefly in World War I as a Second Lieutena
...more
More about W.C. Sellar...
And Now All This Horse Nonsense 1066 and All That (and more): Box set of 1066 and All That, And Now All This, Garden Rubbish and Horse Nonsense Garden Rubbish 1066 and All That/And Now All This: Both Books in 1 Volume

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“N.B. – Do not on any account attempt to write on both sides of the paper at once.” 8 likes
“The Scots (originally Irish, but by now Scotch) were at this time inhabiting Ireland, having driven the Irish (Picts) out of Scotland; while the Picts (originally Scots) were now Irish (living in brackets) and vice versa. It is essential to keep these distinctions clearly in mind (and verce visa).” 5 likes
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