Ron's Reviews > A History of Britain: The Wars of the British 1603-1776

A History of Britain by Simon Schama
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's review
Mar 17, 2010

it was amazing

This volume picks up at the death of Queen Elizabeth and the ascension of James VI and I, through the Stuarts and ending with George III on the throne for the House of Hanover. In many respects this is straightforward history, told with great clarity, depth and a little, very English, cheek. I'm not sure if its because I just finished reading about the Reformation, but covering the overlapping years has exponentially added to my understanding of this material. The religious battles between Protestants and Catholics never really leave the narrative, but they don't singularly drive the course of events, as the author interprets them, as much as I would have guessed. There is the usual warring, poverty and wretchedness, even as the great British commercial empire begins to emerge. It was particularly valuable to see the American experiment and Revolutionary War from an exclusively British English viewpoint, which minimized the grandiose political and religious rhetoric I was always taught and which instead focused much more on the economic issues as the source of conflict. This is a well researched and extremely well written book.

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