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Great Britons

Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press Ltd, Stroud, United Kingdom
Imprint: Pitkin Guides
Published: 23rd Nov 2002
Dimensions: h 180mm
ISBN-10: 1841651036
ISBN-13: 9781841651033
Barcode No: 9781841651033

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Kirkus UK
National polls to determine the greatest Britons of all time tend to come up with bizarre results (Robbie Williams, anyone?) but the importance of the ten figures discussed in this excellent book cannot be denied. Published by the National Portrait Gallery, its chosen greats are Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Cromwell, Newton, Nelson, Brunel, Darwin, Churchill, Lennon and Diana Princess of Wales, and for each there is an introductory essay and then an article about the way his or her images - from paintings and drawings to photography - have been preserved for posterity. The essays are of variable quality, as one might expect from authors ranging from Richard Holmes (on Cromwell) to Rosie Boycott (on Diana), but the quality of the main body of the book, by John Cooper, is excellent, and Brian Harrison's introductory discourse on biography is succinct and thought-provoking. As for the illustrations, 'magnificent' is the only word, from the 'Rainbow' portrait of Elizabeth I to the formal and informal photographs of Diana, and from the various and sometimes hilarious alleged portraits of Shakespeare to the infinitely moving photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken hours before his assassination. This is a small triumph of book-making, and in every way a delight. (Kirkus UK)