Despite factual flubs here and there, the majority remains not only very sound but very readable. Our author has written many books on British history and given many talks; he can take readers smoothly through the Norman Conquest, the Plantagenets, the Wars of the Roses, the Tudors, the Stuarts, and all the other usual suspects. The character portraits are sharp and memorably opinionated at every turn ... Strong intersperses his discussion of kings and wars with discourses on writers, composers, scientists, and other ideological trailblazers, drawing these varied threads through the larger tapestry of his story ... if the rest of the book is the same [as the first edition], what does Roy Strong have to say about the Brexit referendum? Nothing earthshaking, as it turns out ... made fine, invigorating reading two decades ago, and it still does.
Throughout this highly readable history, Strong carefully plucks out not just the most memorable, but the most momentous events in each era ... The author is excellent at uncovering goodness and noteworthy effects on history by even the least likable kings ... Every student of English history will enjoy this story, which is delightfully easy to read and remarkable for what it leaves to the side as well as for its insights into the deepest consequences of individual actions.
Ambitiously conceived and executed ... richly detailed ... Sir Roy, a former director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, is a competent and lively guide; his brisk pace comfortably accommodates the general reader. More than 300 color illustrations enhance the text, though the absence of maps is puzzling.