Monday, September 29, 2014

Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November): Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About British History With all the Boring Bits Taken Out, by Judy Parkinson

I did it (finally)! I finished Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November), by Judy Parkinson. The fact that it took me several months to do so should absolutely not reflect ill upon the book; it is quite an enjoyable read. The only quibble I have with it is the suggestion made in the title that there are "boring bits" to history. Some of us happen to like all of the nitty, gritty details. I have no idea how many interesting details were taken out by Parkinson but I hardly believe her purpose is to misguide or frustrate history lovers with this book. On the contrary, I believe her intent is to create interest in the history of Britain for who might think (incorrectly, I might add) that history is dull and bothersome. The only reason that history can ever be blamed as being "boring" is if you have a bad teacher of it. Avoid bad teachers of history. History is thrilling good fun and there is much to learn from knowing what happened in the past.

Parkinson is not a boring teacher of history. She does a wonderful job giving the basic facts of British history without being one little bit dull. At times she is quite witty in pointing out ironic behaviors and actions. She is very good at keeping things hopping along. If I were to summarize this book, I would say that it is "Thrilling good fun!" (But then, I do like learning about the past.)

I found Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November) to be perfect for me at this time. I love learning about times, events, and people who have gone before. However, as a mother of four little people, I don't really have time for tomes. That said, I still want to learn. Parkinson gives one page of information per person and/or event. From the Romans to Winston Churchill she provides a big picture layout in short passages which I found to be incredibly helpful in setting the stage, if you will, towards deeper understanding. Now I feel like I can go and choose more in depth works and enjoy them, understanding where William the Conqueror fits in and how Britain's relationship with France has changed through the ages. A comprehensive big picture was just what I needed and this book fit the bill perfectly.

If you are looking for a book which explains the timeline of British of History and keeps a clever, fast pace about it in doing so, look no further. Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November) is perfect and I loved it.

Highly recommended. Which is why I used a lot of italics.

1 comment:

Barbara H. said...

This sounds great. Unfortunately I didn't have a really good history teacher until my freshman year of college - and that, sadly, was my last history class! But I am glad there are good books to supplement what little knowledge of history I have.

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