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The Story of Britain: from the Norman Conquest to the European Union    by Patrick Dillon & P. J. Lynch order for
Story of Britain
by Patrick Dillon
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2011 (2011)

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* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Beautifully designed with a very accessible narrative, this book brings to life the history of Britain from the Middle Ages and the Norman Conquest through the reigns of the Tudors and Stuarts, the time of the Georgians and Victorians, right up to the twentieth century.

Not only does the author cover the monarchy, the conflicts, the discoveries and inventions, and the social changes that marked the rise of this European power, but he also looks at the rich diversity of the population, the importance of the arts, and roles played by each segment of British society in creating this island nation.

There may not be more than a page or two about each important event, person or occurrence but that is enough to give the reader an overview which can be used as a jumping off place for a more detailed study. Whether it is the Domesday Book, The Black Prince, the Reformation, the Gunpowder Plot, the Indian mutiny, the Edwardians or Dunkirk, there's material here that will give a younger reader at least a cursory idea of why the person or event is important.

Timelines are used along with maps and illustrations to flesh out the historical information and place it in context. Providing a fairly comprehensive overview of British history, this is a book that youngsters in the fourth or five grade (and upper grades) can use to do preliminary research or get a chronological sense of where key figures, events, and conflicts fit in.

No doubt a lot of adults would probably appreciate an overview like this as well. If you are planning a family trip to visit England, this would be an excellent book to read before embarking on the adventure.

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