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Publisher's Summary

What has 'Roman Britain' meant to the British people since the Romans left? And what does Roman Britain mean to us now? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Charlotte Higgins leads us through the history, and by using some of Britain's most intriguing ancient monuments, Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and history, in an entirely fresh way.

©2013 Charlotte Higgins (P)2014 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"An utterly original history, lyrically alive to the haunting presence of the past and our strange and familiar ancestors." ( Sunday Times)
"Mesmerising. Sophisticated and passionate. She personalizes the story in a diaristic, almost poetic tone." ( Guardian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Buy the book instead

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

When I could get beyond my frustration with the narrator I found the author engaging and the painted of modern Britain overlaid with the fabric an memory of Roman Britain fascinating,

How did the narrator detract from the book?

A b grade theatrical luvvy hamming the text up in the way that makes some BBC radio dramas so unbearable. Why she thought that making all male voices sound like pantomime schoolboys was a clever idea is beyond me. I managed to get third of the way in but the prospect of spending anymore time with the narrator’s breathy overplayed over pronunciations has sent me off to buy the book so I can finish it in peace.

Do you think Under Another Sky needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Don’t know yet. I am yet to finish reading it for myself

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John S.
  • 17-05-2016

Well intergrated travel narrative and history

The author makes clear early on that this isn't a look at "how" Roman Britons lived on a day-to-day basis, as much as an examination how of those centuries fit in with (relate to) British history and identity. For example, there's an assumption that the island was entirely Caucasian at the time, when it's clear from testing remains that multi-racial residents with origins across the Empire were far from rare. Tough to explain exactly, but my point is that the author doesn't go from site to site dwelling on artifacts for an extrapolated picture of what the area was probably like back then.

Excellent audio narration brings the adventure to life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephanie
  • 26-07-2014

Wrong narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Probably not. The subject matter is of interest but the narrator's voice does not do justice to the material.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Under Another Sky?

Can't think of any.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She drops her voice at the end of sentences, swallows words frequently and attempts very unsatisfactorily to imitate male voices. She may be successful with some types of fiction but certainly not with a book like this one.

Did Under Another Sky inspire you to do anything?

Perhaps to read the book so that I can appreciate it more fully.

Any additional comments?

No.

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  • Mary
  • 23-08-2014

A readable and entertaining guide to Roman Britain

If you could sum up Under Another Sky in three words, what would they be?

How we endured lost and found the Romans in Britain

What other book might you compare Under Another Sky to, and why?

Mary Beard's fabulous book on Pompeii: just as good though the subject matter is less well known and the archaeology is far less complete.

Have you listened to any of Julia Franklin’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but I will look out for her.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Richly textured, colourful, poignant stories about the people and the landscape, and the archaeologists who revealed them to us.

Any additional comments?

I know the Lake District pretty well, but mainly from the perspective of a walker or through the eyes of artists like Wordsworth or Ruskin, but I've never really appreciated the Roman dimension to the area. I shall be taking a paperback edition with me when I visit soon, plus another author whom Charlotte Higgins recommends.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • john
  • 23-11-2017

Under a Roman Britain sky

Didn't really know what to expect when i downloaded this title, but straight away i loved it. The story was interesting and at times had me spell bound, the narrators voice was perfect. I have always loved history but did not know too much about the roman period so this journey around Britain by camper van was just great.

I was so captivated by this audio book that i listened to it on my commute to work and finished it quite quickly. When i wasn't listening to it i was googling the places and people to learn more. I looked at poets artists and the places she spoke about and ended up totally absorbed.

I loved the way the author tied in the Romans to present day and more recent history this added much interest and made it come alive.

This weekend i am bound for waterstones to pick up a copy of the Aenid by Virgil and the Metamorphoses by Ovid.

I have also made a list of places to visit to see more of the places mentioned.

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  • Andrew
  • 18-06-2016

Compelling narrative of Roman Britain

I listened to the book while hiking Hadrian's Wall in the hopes that it would help bring some of Roman Britain to life for me as I walked. It did just that. I wasn't sure what to expect and was pleased to find that Charlotte Higgins' approach was to take the reader on her own journey around Britain as she explored it's Roman history. Rather than a scholarly writing of facts and dates, she unfolded the Roman timeline through visits to specific sites and the sharing of interesting stories, theories and anecdotes. It was a great way to explore the topic of Roman Britain as an amateur, interested in the broad story rather then focusing too heavily on an academic study of history.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 04-12-2015

Unexpectedly moving

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. A book on Roman Britain could be a bit dry but this isn't. Charlotte Higgins takes us on a tour, area by area, looking at the remaining traces of the Romans. She tells us who they were and how they lived but also how subsequent generations have been influenced by them. Interspersed are tales of the archaeologists and historians who study the Romans in the past and they were an eccentric bunch.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Under Another Sky?

Hard to pick out one but perhaps the stories of Roman towns that have disappeared completely. They are quite poignant.

Which character – as performed by Julia Franklin – was your favourite?

The camper van Charlotte and her boyfriend travelled round in. Or didn't, when it kept breaking down.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I listened to this book while completing the Hadrian's Wall Walk. The Romans were brought to life by it. To be walking where they were stationed, guarding the border, and hearing snippets of their letters was amazing.

Any additional comments?

It's made me want to find out more about an area of history I had little interest in before.

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  • J. D. Burnell
  • 28-03-2015

Utterly delightful

Any additional comments?

Charlotte Higgins has written a book which is part history, part historiography, part travelogue, part personal memoir, and on the face of it that shouldn't work nearly as well as it should. But she conjures up the scenes and the experience of visiting these places so vividly that I found myself listening to this more than once, just for the pleasure of the experience. Hearing her impressions of the places I've not seen made me hungry to go there, while the stories of those I have been to made we want to visit them again.

All complemented very well by Julia Franklin's excellent voice work.