Comic History of England by Bill Nye

No not that Bill Nye. đŸ™‚ Edgar Wilson “Bill” Nye was born in 1850. He also wrote The Comic History of the United States, which I just discovered. Hmmm… I’ll have to go read that soon. Anyway, on to this book.

I picked this up as an audio book from LibriVox as I have been spending quite a bit of time with my iPod as of late. I thought that I might get a fun overview of British history. (I admit that I am weak in World History.) Anyway, reading this book in audio format isn’t the way to learn English history. Reading it in the traditional manner might be different (would probably be different).

Still, was it worth reading? Yup. Pick it up and have a little fun. This book isn’t long and is really a sketch or outline of English history. With a few punch lines thrown in there. Consider this typical example from the opening page:

These early Britons were suitable only to act as ancestors. Aside from that, they had no good points. They dwelt in mud huts thatched with straw. They had no currency and no ventilation,–no drafts, in other words. Their boats were made of wicker-work plastered with clay. Their swords were made of tin alloyed with copper, and after a brief skirmish, the entire army had to fall back and straighten its blades.

At times Nye covers whole centuries in a chapter; in another chapter, he might only cover a decade.

My only negative to the book is that one must have a decent grasp of English History to follow along. Well, to follow along and not be continuously confused by the rapid procession of names…. Due to the brief nature of this work, new characters could present themselves every line or two. After another line or so, they could be gone again into the mists of time. Or at least into the “dusty” pages of an ebook.

Right, so if you are studying English history or know English history, be sure to grab this work as your Cliff’s notes. If nothing else it will enliven your history book.

I did enjoy reading this work; my only regret was in my lack of pre-existing knowledge. That made it difficult to appreciate the work, though certainly not impossible. I learned a few things throughout. Now though, I must look up the Comic History of the United States.

You may pickup the text from Gutenberg and the audio from LibriVox.

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2 thoughts on “Comic History of England by Bill Nye

  1. That’s hilarious! I love stuff like this (although, I will need to brush up before reading it: my English history isn’t all that hot pre-Reformation).

    Another way to fend off history textbook zombihood is to pick one person and find a great big huge biography of them: good biographies usually have post-and pre-person events, and I find they can help me stay grounded.

    Great reveiw!

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