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Download A History of Britain, Volume 2: The Wars of the British 1603-1776 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A History of Britain, Volume 2: The Wars of the British 1603-1776, by Simon Schama
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (411 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Simon Schama Narrator: Timothy West Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The second volume of Simon Schama's A History of Britain brings the histories of Britain's civil wars - full of blighted idealism, shocking carnage, and unexpected outcomes - startlingly to life. These conflicts were fought unsparingly between the nations of the islands - Ireland, England, and Scotland - and between Parliament and the crown. Shattering the illusion of a united kingdom, they cost hundreds of thousands of lives: a greater proportion of the population than died in the First World War.

When religious passion gave way to the equally consuming passion for profits, it became possible for the pieces of Britain to come together as the spectacularly successful business enterprise of Britannia Incorporated. And in a few generations that business state expanded in a dizzying process that transformed what had been an obscure, off-shore footnote to Europe's great powers into the main event - the most powerful empire in the world.

Yet somehow, it was the wrong empire. The British considered it a bastion of liberty, yet it was based on military force and the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Africans. In America, the emptiness of British claims to protect freedom was thrown back into the teeth of colonial governors and redcoat soldiers, while the likes of Sam Adams and George Washington inherited the mantle of Cromwell.

Simon Schama grippingly evokes the horror of the battle, famine, and plague; the flames of burning cities; the pathos of broken families, with fathers and sons forced to choose opposing sides. But he also captures the intimacies of palace and Parliament and the seductions of profit and pleasure.

This is Volume 2 of A History of Britain.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Liz | 11/26/2013

    " I read both books in this series. This one dragged a bit during the Commonwealth era. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Bruce | 10/13/2013

    " a reasonable continuation of the first volume. not as well done, sadly. if anything in this volume is excellent it is the display of the evil of monarchy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kathy | 1/25/2013

    " The connections between the past and the present are so strong, it's hard to watch the news and not see some thread to its history. It's said that those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it ... I'm not sure that remembering it is enough to get you off the hook. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jan | 7/16/2012

    " Excellent. Schama in top form, much better than volume 1 and refreshingly disrespectful of dogma "

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About the Author
Author Simon Schama

Simon Schama is a professor of art history and history at Columbia University and is the author of numerous award-winning books; his history Rough Crossings won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. He has been a cultural essayist for the New Yorker and has written and presented more than thirty documentaries for the BBC, PBS, and the History Channel, including The Power of Art, which won the 2007 International Emmy for Best Arts Programming.