The Story of Britain from the Norman Conquest to the European Union

Overview

Stunningly illustrated by P.J. Lynch, Patrick Dillon?s accessible narrative brings the dramatic history of a nation to life.

The history of Britain is a thrilling story of kings and queens, battles and truces, discoveries and inventions, expansion and diplomacy. From William the Conqueror?s arrival in 1066 to the end of the twentieth century, The Story of Britain celebrates the rich diversity of a people and culture, as well as the events, good and bad, that have shaped Britain ...

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Overview

Stunningly illustrated by P.J. Lynch, Patrick Dillon’s accessible narrative brings the dramatic history of a nation to life.

The history of Britain is a thrilling story of kings and queens, battles and truces, discoveries and inventions, expansion and diplomacy. From William the Conqueror’s arrival in 1066 to the end of the twentieth century, The Story of Britain celebrates the rich diversity of a people and culture, as well as the events, good and bad, that have shaped Britain — and the world — over the past thousand years. Royals, commoners, warriors, and scientists have all had parts to play, and each of their stories is told here in lively, lucid language appropriate for a young audience. Timelines summarize each era in a quick-view format between each section, while bite-size chapters and full-color plates make this history easy to pick up and hard to put down.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Can you remember ever listening to a capable storyteller? Sitting in the presence of a person who can tell a tale is a wonderful experience. The words sweep over you and transport the listener to past worlds, faraway places, or other ages. In Patrick Dillon's The Story of Britain from the Norman Conquest to the European Union readers are given an opportunity to experience British history from the standpoint of such a talented storyteller. In Dillon's single volume history readers are presented with a chronicle of the signature events and people who helped shape the course of human events in a nation that has a storied past. In telling this story, Dillon uses an approach that is very reminiscent of an oral history rendering taking book form. Dillon's use of language draws the reader into the events and personalities that populated approximately one thousand years of British history. Subjects such as the Norman Conquest, the Black Death, the Hundred Years War, industrialization, and the rise of the British Empire are all presented in a way that is both approachable and captivating. In reading this book I found myself irritated when I had to put it down to attend to work or other responsibilities. Simply put, Dillon's writing makes his subject come to life and captures the reader's interest in ways that are compelling. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Arranged in chronological order, this volume has reduced nearly 1000 years of history into bite-size vignettes. While detailed time lines present ready facts, a highly fictionalized text tries to infuse action and adventure into events. The idea of presenting history as a never-ending story has appeal, but Dillon's use of the technique provides no room for debating interpretations of events. His writing is at times condescending and pedantic, most evident by his overuse of the phrase, "In those days," and in such sweeping generalizations as, "War changes things." Dillon cherry-picks versions of events to suit the "story." One glaring example is Richard III and the princes in the Tower; the king's complicity in the death of his nephews is hotly debated, yet here it is presented as the only story. The Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald is depicted as a lovelorn accomplice to Bonnie Prince Charlie, yet a simple fact check tells a more pragmatic tale. The author's attempt to present Britain as an ethnic melting pot constantly reinventing itself is only partially successful, particularly as he misses the opportunity to discuss the evolution of the Commonwealth after the demise of the Empire. However, it is the lack of any sources whatsoever that really undermines the authority of the book. This is too bad, because when Dillon writes critically and presents an overview of how historical events influence one another, the book becomes genuinely interesting.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews

Tricked out with a ribbon, foil highlights on the jacket and portrait galleries at each chapter's head by Ireland's leading illustrator, this handsome package offers British readers an orgy of self-congratulatory historical highlights. These are borne along on a tide of invented epithets (" 'Foreigners!' spat Boudicca"), fictive sound bites ("Down with the Committee of Safety!") and homiletic observations ("By beating Napoléon the British showed how strong they were when they worked together"). Aside from occasional stumbles like the slave trade or the Irish potato famine, Britain's history—from the Magna Carta to the dissolution of the biggest empire "there had ever been"—unfolds as a steady trot toward ever-broader religious toleration, voting rights and personal freedom. American audiences will likely be surprised to see Mary Queen of Scots characterized as "one of the most famous of all monarchs," and the Revolutionary War get scarcely more play than the Charge of the Light Brigade. It makes a grand tale, though, even when strict accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to truthiness.Includes timelines, lists of monarchs and an index but no source lists.(Nonfiction. 11-13)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763651220
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/22/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 723,528
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick Dillon says, "I first fell in love with history through stories, and, thirty years later, found that they were stories my children loved, too. I wanted to show that what happened in the past happened to real people and to explain how the stories I loved made us who we are today." He lives in London.

P.J. Lynch is one of the most talented illustrators working today. He is a two-time winner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal, and three of his books, including The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, have been awarded the Christopher Medal. He lives in Dublin.

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