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The History of England

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) won instantaneous and outstanding success in prose poetry, in politics and oratory. His History, translated throughout Europe and achieving sales in America second only to the Bible, immediately became the canon of historical orthodoxy, replacing previous histories so completely that it is now difficult to see past its long and apparen ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published July 26th 1979 by Penguin Classics (first published 1848)
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Roy Lotz
A traveler must be freed from all apprehension of being murdered or starved before he can be charmed by the bold outlines and rich tints of the hills.

Sir Thomas James Babington Macaulay, Baron of Rothley—more commonly known as Lord Macaulay—is yet another of those creatures of former ages who could fill volume after volume with excellent prose, seemingly without effort. He wrote reams: this work itself, in the original, runs to five volumes. And everything he wrote—from poems to essays, from s
When he was two and a half, having given Sam some (proper) sultanas to eat, he said afterwards 'Thank you, they were absolutely delicious'. At the time I was much surprised at the vocab of this very young person, as well as the clarity with which he spoke.

But I realise now that Sam is cut from the same cloth as Thomas Macaulay who from the age of three "talked, as the maid said, `quite printed words', which produced an effect that appeared formal, and often, no doubt, exceedingly droll." The fa
May 27, 2012 Rozzer rated it it was amazing
I majored in Early Modern European History. Not only majored, but never in college took any unrequired course other than history. History automatically stuck in my mind and memory. Which produced a perfect score on the history GRE in 1967. I constantly read history before college, during college, and after college. I am and always have been a big, big fan of 19th Century narrative history. The kind of history that by the force and elegance of its writing picks you up and sweeps you along with th ...more
Mar 01, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing
Really, Restoration History. For decades in my sophomore survey of English Lit classes I aloudread TBM's account of the Monmouth landing in Rye, his attempt to replace his Catholic uncle, James II, who interviewed his condemned nephew before the botched beheading in the Tower by one Ketch--whose name became a byword for Botched jobbers. To begin, I asked if they knew baseball usage, Kill the Ump? The executee Duke of Monmouth gave Ketch six 1685 guineas with the fervent request, "Do not hack me ...more
Douglas Baskett
Jun 25, 2013 Douglas Baskett rated it did not like it
This book has many faults, among them the author's shallow knowledge of some topics and his overt nationalism, but, perhaps most important, its greatest fault comes from the author's tendentious perspective to see all historical events as leading inexorably to the grandeur that was the England of his day. The prose is pleasantly stylistic and sometimes lively, but, as history, it is best read as an object lesson in the perils of the lack of objectivity. It should not be read as a trustworthy or ...more
Michael Wheatley
Oct 14, 2014 Michael Wheatley rated it it was amazing
A great read. Macaulay writes the history of the Glorious Revolution in an engaging manner. I learned a great deal about the protestant/Church of England/Catholic tension in England as well as the Whigs and Tories.

It's an epic story of the removal of James II and the installation of William and Mary. Followed by James's attempts to regain what he lost.

The book touches on events in the history of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, America (there's a mention of Joseph Sm
Richard Epstein
Nov 03, 2013 Richard Epstein rated it it was amazing
This is one of the 4 greatest histories; but do not read it in an abridged version. Find a used bookstore (or go online) and splurge on the whole thing. I suspect sets are a glut on the market, and you can get one for pennies. Read it. Not only will you be edified and entertained, the effect on your prose will be salutary.
Andrea Zuvich
Feb 17, 2014 Andrea Zuvich rated it really liked it
Ah, Macaulay...4/5 because although it is very interesting and useful, it is so heavily biased!
Mar 01, 2014 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
There's nobody like Macaulay. When you disagree with him, he's maddening, but when you agree with him--and for me, that's most of the time--he's awesome.
Take particular note of the section where he discusses Restoration comedy. His commentary still applies to any trashy so-called, " comedy" that protects rather than attacks human vices. Awesome stuff.
He's a bit fonder of William III than I am, but pretty much has it figured out on the Puritans and Charles I, and he's great with Marlborough.
Jun 24, 2013 Bryan rated it really liked it
This (at least the abridged one-volume edition I read) is not a history of England, only a history of James II and William III over a period of a few decades from the 1680s to early 1700s, written in the 1850s. It has an anti-Tory, anti-anybody-who-isn't-Church-of-England political perspective and the editor in a lot of places put in footnotes which essentially say "Everything Macaulay just wrote there is factually bullshit" in a polite way, which I think is pretty amusing. Beautifully written t ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Toby rated it really liked it
He is monumentally biased and helpfully skates over the worst aspects of William III's reign (Glencoe? Nuffing to do with me, guv!) but he writes with a verve and certainty that is rarely seen in history writing today - and probably rightly so!
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Sep 05, 2016 Sharon Barrow Wilfong rated it it was amazing
Fascinating overview of the historical events and time lines of the United Kingdom.
Pamela B
Macaulay's a dramatic and entertaining writer. Some of the details of English history are more than I can assimilate, but it's worth a read.
Mar 07, 2014 Simon rated it it was ok
This is a history written with a political motive. It seeks to apotheosise the Protestant Ascendency.
Sep 27, 2016 Harrison rated it liked it
Shelves: class, classics
Did I read all of it? No. Was it interesting? Yeah. Should you read it? Maybe!
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Jul 31, 2014 Simon marked it as to-read
Shelves: history
Read up to p. 412
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Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay PC (25 October 1800 – 28 December 1859) was a British poet, historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer, and on British history. He also held political office as Secretary at War between 1839 and 1841 and Paymaster-General between 1846 and 1848.

As a young man he composed the ballads Ivry and The Armada, which he late
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“The interests of large classes had been unfavourably affected by the establishment of the new diligences; and, as usual, many persons were, from mere stupidity and obstinacy, disposed to clamour against the innovation, simply because it was an innovation. It” 0 likes
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