Book Review – An Utterly Impartial History of Britain by John O’Farrell

ImpartialBLURB: Many of us were put off history by the dry and dreary way it was taught at school. Back then ‘The Origins of the Industrial Revolution’ somehow seemed less compelling than the chance to test the bold claim on Timothy Johnson’s ‘Shatterproof’ ruler.But here at last is a chance to have a good laugh and learn all that stuff you feel you really ought to know by now…

In this ‘Horrible History for Grown Ups’ you can read how Anglo-Saxon liberals struggled to be positive about immigration; ‘Look I think we have to try and respect the religious customs of our new Viking friends – oi, he’s nicked my bloody ox!’ Discover how England’s peculiar class system was established by some snobby French nobles whose posh descendants still have wine cellars and second homes in the Dordogne today. And explore the complex socio-economic reasons why Britain’s kings were the first in Europe to be brought to heel; (because the Stuarts were such a useless bunch of untalented, incompetent, arrogant, upper-class thickoes that Parliament didn’t have much choice.)

A book about then that is also incisive and illuminating about now, ‘2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge’, is an hilarious, informative and cantankerous journey through Britain’ fascinating and bizarre history. As entertaining as a witch burning, and a lot more laughs.

MY THOUGHTS: I found this title by randomly selecting the podcast We Are History, a relatively new addition to my listening agenda, by Angela Barnes and this author. It’s funny and informative, and available on a number of platforms (I use Podcast Addict on my android phone).

I listened to this title during my week’s commute to & from work on Audible, but again, the book is available from many different sources. This version is unfortunately abridged, but I didn’t notice that until I read someone else’s review after finishing (whoops!). That said, I enjoyed learning more about things I’d skimmed over in the past and also his irreverent but truthful view of some of the most obvious cock-ups in British history. An easy listen that might send you off onto another learning tangent or satisfy your need for one-off entertainment. Four stars.

WIP Wednesday #263

Hello everyone! Another week down, and as I write this, only a few more working days until a decent break. I need it; I nearly ripped my boss a new one Monday. Twice. Eep.

Last night we went to 7 Days Live. 7 Days is a weekly panel show of comedians who take the mick out of the current events but because this wasn’t a filming episode, there were no holds barred (I’ve been at a previous live show where the stage director came screaming onto the floor as Legal were vetoing one line of piss-taking). The opening half was individual stand-up and I was crying with laughter. My cheeks still hurt this morning!

Stitching wise I kept to the homework prompts. I managed a couple of EC credits but I am really looking forward to not being part of a SAL in 2020, and getting some finishes under my belt. I’ve changed my mind a few times about what my focus next year will be, and I really want a Teresa Wentzler finish – which means the border in Tapestry Cat and the last few hundred stitches in the cat. That’s also my oldest WIP, as it was my Christmas present to myself in December 2006. I think I might work in Big WIP/small WIP weekly rotation…oh goodness only knows. The “screaming” rotation doesn’t work for me, as sometimes what is screaming is a new start and I need one of those like a hole in the head.

Anyways, have a lovely week, don’t get too stressed about Christmas day activities, enjoy some time away from work pressures and I’ll talk to you sometime over the break. Here’s a “summer” shot for you – Mase the Ace enjoying a swim in the pouring rain yesterday afternoon. Kids!