Book Review: Condensed Histories Vol. 1 – Histories From England by Greg Chapman

CH1 Front Cover

I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I am reviewing the ebook edition, and it has a snazzy cover showing a mix of historic events.  This is as stated volume 1 of an intended series, and all the histories are from England.

Those of you that read this blog regularly will be aware that anything history is likely to be of interest to me, so I jumped at the chance to read it.  Please note that it is not what I might call ‘pure’ history – and I don’t mean this in any way as a bad thing.  What I’m trying to say is that it is history presented with the experiences and interests of the author woven in between the history that is presented in the book.  It might also be a piece of history that there is not necessarily a huge amount of factual information on – almost legend-like.

The 15 histories contained within range from that of Boudicca (yes, I caved and spelt it the ‘new’ way), one of my favourite people, the Princes in the Tower (Richard!), Jack the Ripper and Elizabethan Witches.  All the histories are bite-sized so to speak, so you can read one or three and then come back and read the rest later if you so desire.  Also, the author’s relationship and interest with each of them is interwoven, so it is not at all disjointed and all the more personal for it.

What I really like about this book is the passion for his subject that the author has, its readability and variety of subjects, the dialogue being laced with humour.  It’s a great little book for those wanting to dip their toes into history, or reminisce about some of the history stories you may have heard as a child.

What I didn’t like so much was the length of the introduction and conclusion.  I felt that I would have preferred one afterward, with only perhaps a short introduction – and  I did begin to feel a little bogged down with both.  I also found the formatting a little funky – this may be personal preference – i.e. when referencing information/facts the bracketed number was a bit large and distracting.  This is probably not the fault of the author however and a minor quibble.

I really appreciate anyone who attempts to bring history to everyone and make it more accessible without being badly researched or dull, and recommend this as a light, entertaining read.

A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.

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