From the Publisher
"Wide in scope, [this] volume is organized in broad chronological order and serves as an excellent overall introduction to the political, economic, social, cultural, and religious history of Britain and Ireland.... Provide[s] an enormous wealth of fascinating facts."--VOYA
"Enhanced by a glorious selection of full-color photographs, paintings, maps, and documents, this volume brings history to life.... The value of this title is in pulling together so much information into one well-organized and readable volume.... If you need a single-volume history of England and Ireland, this is the one to buy."--School Library Journal
"This handsome book will serve as a dependable guide to British and Irish history as well as a backup resource for topics such as childhood in medieval times, the history of printing, and the Industrial Revolution.... This is an exceptionally beautiful book. Better still, its clarity and organization make a vast subject seem manageable and intriguing."--Booklist
"Remarkably well pitched.... A splendidly wide-ranging book from the earliest times to 1994."--School Librarian (UK)
"This is a glorious book for readers of any age. The innumerable colored illustrations...are worth every square inch they occupy."--The Daily Telegraph (UK)
VOYA - Sarah Flowers
This is a very attractive one-volume history of Britain and Ireland from ancient times to the present. The arrangement is chronological, with five major section divisions, each containing seven or eight chapters. The illustrations are wonderful throughout and include color reproductions of paintings; photographs of buildings, people, and objects (clocks, headstones, dinnerware, etc.); numerous maps; and pictures of historic documents (the Domesday Book, the Magna Carta, Henry VIII's English Bible). Because the authors attempt to discuss several thousand years of history in four hundred pages, most historical events get only a few paragraphs, and the period after 1969 gets very short shrift indeed. This is balanced, however, by the authors' attention to social history and information on daily life throughout the ages. The section on the Middle Ages is particularly good, as it discusses "Working in Country and Town" and "Growing Up in Medieval Times." The authors use primary source quotations to enliven the text, and insert occasional two-page spreads on specific topics such as Stonehenge, the history of printing, the motor car, and the development and uses of steam engines. This book is definitely aimed at a British, not an American audience: the American Revolution gets only a bit more than a page of coverage, and American involvement in World War II is mentioned in relation to the impact of the arrival of American GIs on the British countryside. The book begins and ends with Britain and Ireland connected to the European continent--in the Ice Ages by land and ice, today by the Channel Tunnel, mass communications, and the European Union. This is not an essential purchase, but it would be a worthwhile one for middle schools and public libraries. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Charts.
VOYA - Hilary Crew
This one-volume history, appropriate for fifth grade and up, covers a wide sweep of history, beginning with the Ice Age and the report of the discovery of the oldest human remains in Britain and finishing with some of the major events and concerns of 1994, including the "uncertain outcome" of relationships between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the British government. Wide in scope, the volume is organized in broad chronological order and serves as an excellent overall introduction to the political, economic, social, cultural, and religious history of Britain and Ireland. The work is lavishly illustrated with more than five hundred photographs, maps, paintings, posters, cartoons, and advertisements. The intent of this volume is to provide a breadth of coverage rather than in-depth analyses, and it does provide an enormous wealth of fascinating facts about social and cultural life in various periods, as well as the usual documentation of reigning sovereigns, wars, and colonialism. Special topics are treated in double-paged spreads. These include "Celtic Metalwork," Pilgrimage," "The English Country House," and "Steam." The history of childhood and education is covered, including "Growing Up in Medieval Times" and the treatment of children as factory workers in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. In a quote from The Employment of Children in Manufactories, Robert Blincoe tells how he worked twelve hours a day from the age of seven and was punished for poor work by having "two hand-vices of a pound weight each...screwed to his ears." The volume is enlivened by copious use of quotes from ordinary people and people in power, and from all manner of documents. Domestic history and descriptions of women's lives are covered in different periods, and attention is given to the suffragette and to women's rights movements. The match girls' strike organized by Annie Besant in 1888 is mentioned although Besant's name, unfortunately, cannot be found in the index. While this is certainly a scholarly work, the lack of in-depth critical analyses leaves some holes. For example, while the German bombing of British civilians in World War II is covered, the British bombing of German civilians in Dresden in 1945 is not mentioned. There is little mention of the treatment of Irish tenants at the hand of English landlords. One area that does receive critical coverage is the social and political divisions in Britain in the 1970s to the 1990s, with immigration, racial discrimination, Britain's membership in the European Union, and economic problems discussed. The appeal of the myth and legend of King Arthur is documented in connection with the Battle of Badon, but not the account of the battle by the historian monk Gildas, although his history is mentioned elsewhere in the text. Ireland is not covered as well as England. One of the strongest points of this work is that it recreates what it was like for people to live in a particular time. The section on World War II, "The People's War," documents key battles as well as the effects of the war on everyday living. For senior high school students, the one-volume Cambridge Historical Encyclopaedia of Great Britain and Ireland, although not nearly so current, offers a more in-depth analysis of British and Irish history. Appendices include "Royal Line of Succession," "Kings and Queens in Scotland," and "Prime Ministers of England." A list of further readings would have been very useful to introduce young people to specific themes or periods of history covered in more detail in other sources. Students might find this work appealing or browsing and general interest as a beginning source for homework assignments. In general, this is a useful and high-quality reference tool for public and school libraries. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Chronology. Appendix.