Sunday, November 29, 2009

Walking through A History of Britain

Walking indoors is my favorite way to workout. My back trouble keeps me from extremely strenuous routines, but a fast walk is something I can handle. To make my workouts a little more interesting I check out dvds. I've walked my way through all the European travel dvds our library offers, so I'm watching something historical now: A History of Britain.

From the most ancient civilization to World War II, historian Simon Schama narrates the history of Britain. At first I wished there were a few other narrators. There are other voices reading letters and giving bits of historical speeches, but Simon Schama is the only modern person walking through the historical sites and summarizing the events. But after an episode or two I began to really enjoy watching him. He has a somewhat birdlike way of speaking, sticking out his neck and his head while emphasizing syllables. This makes me chuckle at the most unfunny moments!

I do appreciate Simon Schama's viewpoint on British history because he is neither Catholic nor Protestant (he's Jewish) so it seems to be without a prejudice towards one side or the other. Amazon's description says "From India to Ireland, the Norman Invasion to the American Revolution, Schama spotlights the epic themes and towering figures that transformed an island 'at the edge of the world' into the greatest empire on earth, examining the impact of this extraordinary heritage on the modern nation."

This series would be helpful to a highschooler studying British history, but it's also an interesting escape for a southwest housewife on a late autumn afternoon.

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