Wilson Wong's Reviews > A People's History of Britain

A People's History of Britain by Rebecca Fraser
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Oct 20, 07

Recommended for: everyone but those of Irish descent
Read in July, 2003

This is a 785 page textbook on the history of Great Britain beginning at 55 B.C. and told from a British perspective. I chose this book over the other British history books because it was the only one that had the label "Not for export outside of Great Britain" on it.

A radically different history from that of American history (obviously) and with fundamentally different lessons. Rather than the naive American belief that good always triumphs over evil, we see many occasions of ruthlessness and dishonesty winning the day. Instead of the American belief that everyone should be treated equally, we see that rules and behaviors of royal members are radically different than that of their subjects and serfs/slaves.

Treatment of the United States in this history book comes across analogous to a father who is reluctantly proud of his rebellious son's success. The section on World War II was the most fascinating for me because of the striking contrast with the American perspective. The United States is relegated to a supporting role as can be seen in the following quote - "America, by helping to finance the war, had given Churchill the tools he had asked for 'to finish the job', and the British had at last finished it."

I recommend this book to everyone except for Irish-Americans and Irish citizens who would probably be infuriated over the condescending tone taken towards them in the book.
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