Book review: Crown & Country


My latest read is Crown and Country: A History of England through the Monarchy. (Excellent for reading while biking on a spin bike, by the way).

The book goes from the time of the Roman times and its unification to current times.  It depicts the different rulers of the country, and the struggles they (and the country) have  gone through. This might just be me, but with the chapter on current times, Starkey starts using the personal pronoun “I” as he is discussing some events, and there seem to be a lot more speculation from his side on some of the events. I rather wish that chapter had been more objective and distanced from his own experience and opinions.

The book is excellent as an overview of the monarchy and English history since Roman times. However, a lot of the times, because it is an overview, it is not as detailed as one could have wished. Unfortunately, there  is a lack of footnotes, to give further reading, when there are interesting events that could have been expanded upon. There is a lengthy literature list in the back.

One noteworthy item for me is Starkey’s criticism of modern day historians. He often derides the recent research that doesn’t mesh with his ideas of history. One example is that the Vikings weren’t entirely as bad as have been suggested in earlier times.

The writing is easy to follow, for so many names and dates, and it flows well.

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