This Sceptred Isle, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Based on the award-winning Radio 4 programmes THIS SCEPTRED ISLE tells the fascinating story of British history from Caesar's invasion in 55BC to Queen Victoria's death in 1901. Using extracts from Winston Churchill's A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEOPLES plus accounts from contemporary chronicles and diaries, Lee's book focuses on the pivotal events and key characters that have shaped British history.

Written in an accessible yet authoritative style. 'Has there ever been a more user-friendly means to the history of Britain' - The Spectator


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 672 pages, facsimiles, tables
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780140261332

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This history of Britain opens in the year 77,000 BC. Events from 1901 onwards are more or less summarised. After all, there are many accounts of the two world wars and of the twentieth century in general.I was most interested in the English origins up to the late 1500s, as from 1600 onwards the author focuses more and more on all things political, as well as on colonialism, and neither topic appeals to me. Had that not been the case I would have awarded this tome 4 or maybe even 5 stars, as Lee's writing is good, and his account of per-seventeenth century Britain is very engaging.If, however, you are interested in politics and colonialism then you'll probably enjoy this book on the whole. I'm just expressing personal taste and do not want to put the author down, as he has produced a through document of Britain's past with this heavy tome.My only real criticism is the account of Henry VI's death. Although this Lancastrian monarch is rumoured to have been murdered either on Edward IV's or Richard III's orders, I've always been of the understanding that Henry died/was murdered in the Tower of London. According to the author of this book:"Edward IV then returned to London, dragged out the hapless King Henry VI and beheaded him."Henry VI was beheaded? This is news to me. If anyone can confirm that Lee's got it right and all other sources are wrong, please let me know.Apart from the above point, Lee has detailed some interesting and fascinating events from English history.