The History of Britain Told Through its Stamps

This is a he said, she said feature and maybe it will become something regular who knows…

He Said:

postage stamps

by Chris West

I am a bit of a British History buff, but when my wife suggested this book to me
I was skeptical. However, since she is my better half, I decided to give it a go.
I was hooked by the end of chapter one. This is truly a clever little book.

The book presents a concise history of Britain from 1840 to the present using
36 postage stamps as a jumping off point to a variety of subjects. It starts with
the 1840 Penny Black which quickly leads to a discussion of Queen Victoria’s
“communication revolution”. When looking at all the economic benefits which
resulted from this revolution, one cannot help but think of our current information
boom and its economic impact.

The book deftly navigates through the decades, touching on all aspects of
British society. The reader gets a broad brush, sweeping history of Britain
that I thoroughly enjoyed. Well done.

She Said:

Did you see he said I was “his better half”… makes a girl smile so thanks Picador for this moment.  I also enjoyed the book but from a different perspective.  I was raised in a stamp crazy house so that made this premise for a book most interesting to me.  And I do like history but not in the same mass as my boy above. So this short and concise version was just right for me.

As I am a chapter reader I can tell you this book fit perfectly into that mode.  I was able to visit a different aspect of Britain’s history each day and not be late for work. Of course it is a stamp that starts the conversation.  As we just returned from a trip across The Pond this read was special because it got us both in the mood for our upcoming trip.  And it came up over and over again on our trip as well which was great fun.

This is a book for a seasoned history buff as the stamp concept and West’s point of view makes it all anew.  For the English history buff a nice stocking stuffer.  And for anyone just interested in stamps or history it is also a fascinating read.

Clearly this would make for a very interesting series moving forward and I can only hope that West and Picador are thinking the same.  When you get a chance visit the new beta site for Picador Books: and don’t forget to follow their tweets @picadorbooks

About poofbooks

With a wave of the wand and a good book in hand travel to places and spaces beyond your imagination. Because reading does not require you to leave the comfort of your own living room or the bunny slippers behind. So if a vacation is not in your plans for this year, take a bookation, you will love it.
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