Smorgasbord Book Reviews – A Bit About Britain’s History by Mike Biles.

Delighted to review the new release from Mike Biles – A Bit about Britain’s History: From a long time ago to quite recently.

About the book

Could this short, elegant, volume be the only book on British history you’ll ever need?

A Bit About Britain’s History is for anyone who wants a serious, yet light, introduction to Britain’s amazing story. If you don’t know the basics, or would like a reminder, this book is for you. It is also perfect for those that didn’t enjoy history at school, but who have suddenly realised they’d like to understand it a bit better now.

What did the Romans achieve? How did Christianity arrive? Who are the English and why did they fight the French so often? What is Henry VIII’s greatest legacy? When did democracy start and people get the vote? Why on earth did Britain get involved in WW1?

Organised clearly and chronologically, A Bit About Britain’s History covers every period from a long time ago until quite recently. It begins by briefly mentioning that the place was once inhabited by extremely large lizards, and ends up with a post-war 20th century consumer society. Brief articles explain the essential aspects of Britain’s past, including how the ancestors of its current inhabitants arrived, how they fought each other, formed nations, fell out over religion, acquired a large empire, became gradually more democratic, helped win a couple of world wars and were left wondering what to do next. At the end of the book are detailed timelines for each period, which provide useful reference and make fascinating reading in their own right.

A Bit About Britain’s History might be the only book on British history you’ll ever need; or it might be your stepping stone to more in-depth academic reading

My review for the book

A wonderfully succinct but rich timeline of British History.

I loved history at school and more recently I explored our own family history as part of the Oxford Gene project in 2001 and then with Ancestry DNA. Not half as interesting or entertaining as A Bit About Britain’s History. Mike Biles has succeeded in bringing every major event from the formation of the land through to the present day in an easy to read and absorb timeline. And at the back of the book you will find a very useful section summarizing those key dates and events that have forged the ethnicity, culture, religion and alliances of modern day Britain.

Clearly painstakingly researched and compiled, there is nothing dry and dusty about this book as it brings hundreds of thousands of years of history to life. There were more than a few ‘I did not know that’ moments’, and two of those were the reasons behind the name ‘Redcoats’ for British soldiers and how the Coldstream Guards got their name.

Even if history has not been one of your passions, I do recommend that you read this book as it has all the elements of a murder mystery, political thriller and action packed historical novel. Add in some humour and it will both inform and entertain you.

Whether you are British, or one of the millions around the world with British roots, this book will give you a sense of pride, in both your origins, and the incredible challenges your ancestors had to survive in order for you to be here today.

Read the reviews and buy the book in print and kindle:

And on Amazon US:

Follow Mike on Goodreads:

About Mike Biles

Mike has lived in Britain all his life and generally loves the place, warts and all. He first learned history on his dad’s knee and went on to study medieval and modern British and European history at university. He was planning on teaching it, but then drifted into a career running his own business. Despite having worked with some of the UK’s most prestigious firms, he is often at his happiest with his nose in a history book, or exploring a historic site where the past is close. Several years ago, Mike began a blog – now an increasingly authoritative website – ‘A Bit About Britain’. He had to write a bit about Britain’s history for the website, and it seemed only sensible to put the material into his first book, ‘A Bit About Britain’s History’.

Connect to Mike Biles

Website home page
Blog page
Facebook page

Thank you for dropping in today and  I hope you have enjoyed the review and will head over to buy and read yourself.  Thanks Sally.

32 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Reviews – A Bit About Britain’s History by Mike Biles.

  1. I have the book on my Kindle, havn’t dipped in yet but I’m wondering if a good book like this deserves to be read as a real book! History is fascinating but also important in understanding how we ended up as four countries united and divided…

    Liked by 6 people

    • I do believe that an ebook is a real book in terms of research, writing and content. Certainly it makes it a great deal more accessible for those with British roots than a print book which would be considerably more expensive especially in postage terms. Also it makes sense to print with a localised history book that you can market and sell in the area where there is likely to be a keen interest. And whilst it is lovely to pick a book off your own bookshelf and revisit, having digital copies on my hard drive means I can access it just as often. I am sure you will enjoy reading the book and look forward to your feedback.. hugsx

      Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Janet! I’m trying to wrap my brain round the country divided bit – so unnecessary! I confess that my personal jury is still out on the e-book v hard copy debate. Kindles just don’t smell the same. Mind you, they do save space and Mrs Britain liked hers so much that I bought her another one.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. E-books are great for travel, but holding weight with words, being able to turn pages back and forth ( to recheck what you though you read/thought at that point in the book) print has a place with me – especially in winter
    The book sound intriguing – as you say, sometimes you just want a bit of refresher – and timeline style is so good to organize crowded clusters of facts and stories. History is always fascinating and the real story which outstrips fiction accounts. Thanks for the heads up on this title!

    Liked by 2 people

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