This Sceptred Isle

  • by Christopher Lee
  • Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
  • 7 hrs and 16 mins
  • original_recording Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Britain had the biggest empire the world has ever known. At one time a quarter of the global land mass was British. Over a third of the world was insured at Lloyds. At his coronation, more than 400 million people saluted George V. Truly, the sun never set on this historical phenomenon. Whatever the day, whatever the hour, somewhere on the globe, the empire worked and played the British game, often absurdly so. The story of the British Empire is one of enormous personalities, adventure, scientific and maritime development, and the building of one of the most complex international administrations the world has ever seen. The series shows the history of exploration from the 16th century, but more importantly from the mid-18th century to the period shortly before the First World War.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I bought this title to tackle my shameful ignorance of our imperial history, and I have learnt a great deal! This is a wonderful book that I am enjoying dipping into every so often. Juliet Stevenson is a excellent narrator. If you like history and want to know more about the origins of the British Empire, I highly recommend this volume.
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- G. Cooper

Excellent - highly recommended

What made the experience of listening to This Sceptred Isle the most enjoyable?

I bought this to support an undergraduate history module on Empire - partly to use as a source of citations, but also to give me a broad overview of the lifetime of the British Empire. It's certainly succeeded in that - have thoroughly enjoyed it, have used it several times for citations, and looking forward to the next two volumes.

What other book might you compare This Sceptred Isle to, and why?

Arguably, you could compare it to works like 'Empire' by Niall Ferguson (also available on Audible).

Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favourite?

There aren't characters as such, but the title makes regular use of primary sources. So the way the narration is done is that Juliet Stevenson acts as the narrator, the constant presence, if you like - and when a primary source is needed, it's instead read by a different actor, either male or female depending on the gender of the writer of the primary source. For example, a male actor would read an extract from Samuel Pepys' diary, that sort of thing. All of this reading of primary sources works very well, and Juliet Stevenson's narration is excellent throughout. NB : One of the male actors for the primary sources sounds suspiciously like Rob Brydon... I was half expecting him to break out into an Anthony Hopkins, or a Michael Caine - but he never did :)

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- Mike Stevenson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2005
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Limited