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1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England Comprising All the Parts You Can Remember, Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates
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1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England Comprising All the Parts You Can Remember, Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,016 ratings  ·  317 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
Hardcover, 116 pages
Published 1990 by The Folio Society (first published October 16th 1930)
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Start your review of 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England Comprising All the Parts You Can Remember, Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates
Its a run through of English history from prehistory to the end of WWI when according to the authors the USA becomes the foremost nation and English history comes to a. Note this is about English history, not British history. And one may feel that even as a joke, it takes the importance of being the top and bestest nation too seriously.

The concept is that it is a history book with the only date scientifically proven to be memorable (1066) as the inclusion of another date (52BC(view spoiler)
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
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
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
An irreverent mini-history of the UK, which led to frequent, sensible chuckles of the brief nose exhale variety, along with many grimaces of the 'Bloody hell, mate, you can't say that' kind.

Part surreal and silly Spike Milligan, part deadpan Douglas Adams and 100% Geoffrey of Monmouth if he had even the slightest sense of self awareness, it was genuinely funny, but suffers from two major Bad Things:

1. 'I don't get it'. Those not intimate with the entirity of British history may be left scratchin
Roisin Radford
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 childish s
Aug 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
“1066 and all that” is no classic history book. It is a comedy of sorts, a book of puns for the historically enlightened.

Quite a few of the jokes were certainly lost on me, yet it was a fun read in a particular style, which it must be said exercises the brain in separating the laughable from the truth. It lays excellent groundwork for anyone who cares to take interest in the different monarchs of England and Great Britain - as it spans from the Danes to practically the modern day (it was publis
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
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.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The back cover of my edition of 1066 AND ALL THAT exults: "It merges Clio [muse of History] and Bob Benchley [early 1930's MGM wit]." Noel Coward testified: "I consider it one of the most enchantingly funny books I have ever read." And indeed, this may be the origin of all those parody textbooks and course notes with their screwy review questions at the end. It was only 1931, but we get a back-of-book examination, cheekily entitled "Test Paper V," with questions like: " 'An army marches on its s ...more
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For pheasant, read peasant throughout.
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
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before there was Monty Python mocking “The Empire,” there was this book. When I first read it, I knew enough to laugh at some of the obvious deviations from straight history. Things about the American Revolution and King George inviting the colonists to a tea party and their victory marking the end of English being spoken there.

But the more I have learned, the more I can appreciate the depth of the satire. Just a well-done little gem.

I should end this review now, but if you are in doubt about wh
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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. ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“James I slobbered at the mouth and had favourites; he was thus a Bad King. He had however, a very logical and tidy mind, and one of the first things he did was to have Sir Walter Raleigh executed for being left over from the previous reign.”

This book suffers a little from age but is still quite funny. There are a number of jokes that I’m sure I didn’t get, but the ones I did I thought were very clever! I especially liked the tests at the end of every chapter, and the family tree which I felt wa
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read

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
Sep 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, humor
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
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. ...more
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.
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... ...more
Richard Thomas
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour-and-wit
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. ...more
I can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading this book. Every sentence is a wry, British morsel of comic gold for the history nerd. ...more
Genius. Revisited for some light relief at a time when we all need some. It's such a good representation of the way history used to be taught (perhaps would not mean so much to a younger generation, as they now seem to teach history in a more episodic and less connected way). There are so many funny lines, and the satire is so gentle that I am sure those at whom it is partly aimed (the British myth school of history) never even spotted it. For instance, "It was in the eighteenth century that Ind ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
Good British humour of the best kind; no holds barred and mocking n institution. In this case the institution being mocked is the 'traditional' style of English history teaching.

I googled the authors, half expecting to find some links to Monty Python. Yes, THAT sort of humour.

While I enjoyed it thoroughly, both the text and the illustrative illustrations, anyone without a through understanding of classically taught English history may be quite confused at times. I was quite confused a lot of the
Robbie Leslie
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.") ...more
Luke McNamara
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I re-read this, and here are two things that I realised:

a) I didn't understand 1% of this when I originally read it aged ~12. I only understood about 85% of the references/jokes in this read through!

b) This is a surprisingly intelligent work, because behind the silliness and satire is both an interesting historiographical point (conflation of memory and history) as well as critique of English historiography.

Very fun.
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour

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.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable and humorous look at the history of England.

'Henry was afraid his reign would not be long enough for any more divorces, so he gave them up and executed his wives instead. All except Anne of Cloves, whom he had on approval from Belgium and sent back on discovering that she was really not a queen at all but a 'fat mare with glanders''

A Good Thing.
Dec 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
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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

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