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British History for Dummies (For Dummies)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  370 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Treason, plague, two world wars — and that's just for starters. Discover the fascinating history of Britain

British history is a rollercoaster ride of lively stories, relentless power-grabbing, and colourful characters — and it's all in this book! Whether you confuse your Stuarts with your Tudors or are convinced the Battle of Hastings took place in 1966, this book is the p
Paperback, 3rd, 440 pages
Published March 22nd 2007 by For Dummies (first published January 7th 2003)
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Dan Bentley
Mar 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anglophiles
There are times in history when one ought to be a fan of a certain publishing house. Scribner's Sons in the 20's. City Lights in the 50's. And now, For Dummies. Now, I'm sure that the For Dummies series prompts scorn and derision for some of their titles. I can only hope that Computers for Dummies reads something like this: "This is a mouse. You use it to do the obvious thing on your computer. When it breaks, you should do anything other than call your 'smart grandson' who does, in fact, have so ...more
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec British History for Dummies?
"J'aime l'Histoire et les histoires, le Royaume-Uni, l'anglais, apprendre et la collection "pour les nuls". Cela fait bien assez de raisons pour avoir eu envie de découvrir ce livre et de vous en parler, même si ce n'est pas un roman."

Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...
"Ce livre nous raconte, avec beaucoup d'humour, toute l'histoire des British, de bien avant l'invention même de ce nom à aujourd'hu
Jan 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
I know this is one of the For Dummies books, but it was so dumbed down and patronising that I didn't feel as though I learned anything. Far more so than other books in the series I have read.
Personally I didn't like all the use of slang and informalities, but I can see how that would appeal to teenagers.

I would seriously think twice before reading a For Dummies book as a refresher or for an introduction to a topic.
Sep 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've lost my patience with this book. He makes offensive jokes to try to be fun and interesting, but I'm just offended and bored. I thought this would be a good book to give me a wide scope of British history, but I've got to try something else. His misunderstanding of the Boston Tea Party was the breaking point. What else did he lie to me about?

Ok, so now I finished. My opinion of it did not change.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A quick, funny and easy read. Starts at the Ice Age and ends with Tony Blair. Just a quick brush up to help you identify which areas to explore in depth. Written in a talky, funny manner. For example a family tree of the Tudors shows the following for Mary, Queen of Scots husbands 2 and 3.... "2 Henry, Lord Darnley (horrible man, horribly murdered) 3 James, Lord Bothwell (who probably did it)
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book provides a great overview. The sections I wished had more information let me pinpoint which areas of British history I should read more about.
Bill Young
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the entire book and I RARELY do that. The book on audible is a funny irreverent look at British history that is entertaining and educational. A rare feat.
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, just what I was after.
History is often too hard to get into. So many names, families. Some interesting bits but lots of dull and hard to follow decades.
This one is often funny, which lightens the book up and breaks the monotony of 'just one damn thing after another'.
Troy Parfitt
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Apart from a fondness for iron bridges, the belief that cricket is exciting, and the mistaken view that the Chinese have a curse which goes 'may you live in interesting times' (there is no such phrase in Chinese), this is a cracking good book. It's well written and, well, just really damned good. Very interesting, as least to me, a Canadian. I got a bit tired (and confused) about all the kings and queens, and wished for a little more "common" history, but, well, people like reading about kings a ...more
Sarazeen Saif
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it

"My kind of history!" says Terry Jones (Monty Python) of British History for Dummies.

Putting history into a perspective, this is an engaging, entertaining and educational trip through time, packing in equal parts fun and facts. Recently updated, British History For Dummies introduces listeners to recent events, including British actions in Afghanistan, and David Cameron's formation of Britain's first coalition Cabinet since World War II.

But don't worry - British History For Dummies doesn't s

Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I decided that I didn't know enough about British history so I looked around for something to fill the gap. This is the one I chose, being familiar with the Dummies books from my early days fighting with computers and Microsoft Windows.

It starts with the Ice age and finishes with Tony Blair and just about covers everything in between. There is a bit of Welsh, Scottish and Irish history thrown in which is a bit of a relief, but probably not enough. It's the type of book that is supposed to be dip
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was a bit of a tough read. I suspect it was a tough book to write and edit. First, what to include? I think it would be difficult to decide what to include and what to leave out. It seems to me that those decisions were made fairly well. Overall, this book is a good starting point for an overview of British history. My main criticism of this book, was there was quite a bit of jumping around in time to attempt to explain things. It made the book seem a bit awkward. For something of this ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, britain
I love the For Dummies series because they give you a quick overview of a vast topic in language that is easy to understand and with a hint of humor. Unfortunately humor is a subjective thing. Reading some of these books straight through can go from mildly amusing to eye-rolling groaners at the end of practically every paragraph, making any further reading tedious. This book is NOT one of those books. The author doesn't abuse the humor, using it only sparingly, which makes it a very enjoyable re ...more
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sound and playful. I liked it. :)

There's little chance I will remember much of the information because there really is much more history than I anticipated, and this is the abbreviated version!

But I love having a summary of British history as a reference so I can work off of it and find my own in-depth sources to fill in the gaps. This book mostly addresses English history, but it touches on EVERYONE else too(her neighbors plusChina, Russia, Iraq, France, Spain...), as England did. Highly recom
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it
This text is packed full of interesting information about the United Kingdom, and the surrounding countries and territories therein. If the reader where perhaps writing an essay, or research project on the aforementioned country, this would be a most beneficial book to indulge in. However, if the reader is only interested in this knowledge for historical purposes, I suggest something a little more in depth and professional.

Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a brilliant concept this is. Who would have thought that books titled "For Dummies" would be such a hit? I needed a primer on British history in order to tackle Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This was a great way to learn some quick history in a painless manner. There is a lot of humor and a warning when things are too technical. The Dummies books aren't a replacement for thorough study but they sure help a novice.
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a simplified version of British history, both monarchy and as the whole, and it really is quite interesting. Like with Ancient Rome, I knew a lot of backstory before picking this book up, but I did find out some things that I didn't know until reading this. It is fascinating, so ignore the title and give it a read if you're interested.
Laure Estep
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thousands of years of history in roughly 400 quick and easy pages. Clever, occasionally snarky, narration guides us through this breakneck tour through British history from the stone age through Tony Blair reign as PM in the nineties. It's a decent starter book to learn what it is you would like to explore further.
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good 'rough guide' to British History with some of the important dates, monarchs etc needed in history at school and, maybe, in a general knowledge quiz. Would recommend for those who want some detail, but not going too in depth.
Susan Beecher
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had realized that my knowledge or British history was pathetic and reading several historical novels recently made this clear. I plan to do European History for Dummies next.
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and learned a great deal on a subject that I thought I knew quite a bit about. I liked how this Author wrote and that it held my attention in an area where it could wander if not written well.
Melusine Parry
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, history, easy, popular
This is, surprisingly, a pretty good book for people who like me are helpless at history. Lots of fun details but all the major stuff as well, and you get a good idea of historical evolution and debates.
Christine Edwards
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book for some quick research on the 19th century for a book I'm writing myself. I got so involved I read the whole thing. I found I knew a lot of the information, but the humorous style of writing made connections for me that I hadn't thought of before.
Polly Williams
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Albeit Great Britain does have a rich history, I was disappointed that it did not have a list of monarchs and what years they reigned. Seems quite a bit missing on the whole but a good quick read for some basic British history.
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great primer on British history. I was hoping for more current history (1990s on), but it still gave a good overview and background into this wonderful country's origins. Looking forward to my visit and taking some of what I learned here with me!
Apr 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read until the Industrial Revolution chapter of the book only because I got bored. Although, that is not saying that the last chapters would be boring to everyone, I just get bored past the 18th century.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
A well organized, often funny, history starting around 900 BC and up to Gordon Brown. The audible version was incredible, but I think it would be awesome to own the paper copy to be able to refer back to it as needed. Thanks to my friend Meg for this delightful recommendation!
May 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, history
That’s it. I am through with History for Dummies for a long, long time. It’s a wonderful book filled with fascinating facts, sidebars, and notes of interest, but sitting down and reading the entire book was too much for me.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
laugh-out-loud funny, a riotous account of the people and events that shaped Britain
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
British History can be overwhelming (especially with all those kings and queens) but this book breaks it down into manageable pieces. It was an entertaining read.
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