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Publisher's Summary

Dominion, the fifth volume in Peter Ackroyd's masterful History of England, begins in 1815 as national glory following the Battle of Waterloo gives way to a post-war depression and ends with the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901.

Spanning the end of the Regency, Ackroyd takes listeners from the accession of the profligate George IV, whose government was steered by Lord Liverpool, whose face was set against reform, to the "Sailor King" William IV, whose reign saw the modernization of the political system and the abolition of slavery.

But it was the accession of Queen Victoria, at only 18 years old, that sparked an era of enormous innovation. Technological progress - from steam railways to the first telegram - swept the nation, and the finest inventions were showcased at the first Great Exhibition in 1851. 

The emergence of the middle-classes changed the shape of society, and scientific advances changed the old pieties of the Church of England and spread secular ideas among the population. Though intense industrialization brought booming times for the factory owners, the working classes were still subjected to poor housing, long work hours, and dire poverty. Yet by the end of Victoria's reign, the British Empire dominated much of the globe, and Britannia really did seem to rule the waves.

©2018 Peter Ackroyd (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Good overview but heavy on parliamentary politics

Well written narrative but light on social history in comparison to parliamentary politics. It is helpful to have some background knowledge on the origins of the political parties to get the most out of it.

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  • Craig W. Holland
  • 2021-10-01

Excellent

Peter Ackroyd is an excellent writer. I enjoyed this book immensely. He has such a way with words

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  • James Ray Griffith
  • 2021-04-12

Great Social History of Great Britain

This is a review of the History of Great Britain by Peter Ackroyd. A refreshing in depth look at the history social and political of Great Britain from prehistoric to the death of Victoria. I have read and greatly enjoyed reading in my youth the sweeping prose of Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples but Ackroyd's is much more focused on Britain and its people and characters and thus much more informative. I look forward to his final volume Innovation that will carry the series from the Edwardian era to the present.