And it kind of is, in a kind of general way.
It's a fascinating book of British history, told in an alternating way. By this I meant that it's chronological, king by king (and leader by leader, if known, before kings came into effect), but the narrative alternates with chapters that are a bit more broad, detailing something about British society or norms, or maybe even culture. There's one chapter that's on British names before William the Conqueror and after him.
All in all, it's a great book with just a couple of minor issues.
These issues are detailed in my review, now up on Curled Up With a Good Book (you didn't think I was going to give you the whole review here, did you? You'd never click the link!)
From the review:
"What makes this book really interesting are the little asides on things like where certain words come from, or how something (a building, for example, or even a code of law) still exists today. I had no idea that "peeping Tom" came from the Lady Godiva legend: one man named Tom disobeyed the royal edict of not looking at Godiva as she rode through the town naked. These are sprinkled throughout the chapters and add a bit of meat to what otherwise would be a rather bare history."It's actually a very good book, despite being a bit superficial at times. Most importantly for me is that I learned some things that I didn't know, and I'm fairly well-versed in British history.
I'm not an expert by any means, but if I'm reading a general history, it's very possible that I'll already know a lot of what's in it. Instead, I may be reading for the author's interpretation, as historians are constantly re-examining things.
Ackroyd has written a really interesting book, and I hope there will be a second one.
I also hope that he doesn't drag it out into three books. That would just be overkill.
Take a look at the review and let me know what you think.