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Monday, March 4, 2024

'Unruly: A History of England's Kings and Queens' audiobook read by author, David Mitchell


From the BLURB: 

A seriously FUNNY, seriously CLEVER history of our early kings and queens by one of our favourite comedians and cultural commentators.

This will be the most refreshing, entertaining history of England you'll have ever read.

Certainly, the funniest.

Because David Mitchell will explain how it is not all names, dates or ungraspable historical headwinds, but instead show how it's really just a bunch of random stuff that happened with a few lucky bastards ending up on top. Some of these bastards were quite strange, but they were in charge, so we quite literally lived, and often still live, by their rules.

It's a great story. And it's our story. If you want to know who we are in modern Britain, you need to read this book.


This just *delighted* me and had me running to find any other audiobooks of David Mitchell's on my Library's BorrowBox app (and yes, I am forever disappointed when somebody says "David Mitchell" and means the bloke who wrote Cloud Atlas. I want 'Peep Show' David Mitchell, 'Upstart Crow' David Mitchell - and this book proves why!)

I listened to this while I walked the dog, and I must have looked like a King George III-level maniac laughing and guffawing as I picked up his poo (with a bag) and walked blithely along, nodding and laugh/crying ... but it was truly just *that* good!

David Mitchell's injections and rants are next-level (at one point he manages to tie in the absurdity of awards for art; like the year that the theme song for 'Shaft' was up against 'The Age of Not Believing' from 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' for best song at the Oscars, to which he says you may as well compare a fish-finger to a ladder for all the good it does to categorise and quantify two pieces of art like that ... and he's not wrong!)

Mitchell only takes the book up to King James-ish because he says that was the last time that monarchy had true, absolute power before Parliament, Prime Ministers, foreign Governments and such started interfering with what the royals had bamboozled England into thinking was "divine rule," ... I do hope he decides to write a second-book about the waning royals (is it too much to ask that he give a full-throated debate on why a Republic would be better? Throughout the listening of this I could feel his tension to rein in what could have been an 11-hour long rant on the subject!)

As such, this was perhaps the most enjoyable new read I've encountered this year so far. Amazing!


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