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Visitors' Historic Britain: The Isle of Man (Paperback)

Stone Age to Swinging Sixties

Local History British History P&S History

By Matthew Richardson
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: Visitor's Historic Britain
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 30 illustrations and maps
ISBN: 9781526720771
Published: 30th May 2020

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The reader will perhaps be surprised to learn that the tiny Isle of Man, midway between the coasts of Lancashire and Northern Ireland, is one of the richest historic landscapes in Europe. Packed into its 225 square miles are dramatic stories of Bronze Age conflict, Viking warriors, Medieval kings, smugglers, maritime and railway history, wartime airfields and even a pirate radio station. Add to that the Island's unique motorsport heritage (on two, three and four wheels), and you have a combination unrivalled anywhere in the British Isles.

Whatever your passion, or whichever historical period appeals to you, the Isle of Man will have something fascinating to offer. Packed with illustrations, and using first-hand accounts to enhance the narrative, this book takes the reader on a chronological journey through the island's history, before offering a series of guided tours which pick up the highlights of each district.

From Bronze Age hill forts, to Medieval castles. From heritage railways, to historic quaysides. From award-winning museums, to country mansions, the Isle of Man has it all. Let this book be your guide to historic Britain's best-kept secret, as you explore a place untouched by the hectic pace of 21st century life, where heritage is, quite literally, to be found around every corner.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Isle of Man has always been a place that I want to visit so I was really keen to find out more about the history and the places to visit.

I found the book to be really informative and I really enjoyed it. I did like the images that were used in the book, but my only suggestion would be that there was a few more added as some of the chapters have quite a lot of text.

I enjoyed the way that the book was set out and the facts and detail added. The author has added in details of the sites (where possible) and the addresses/contact numbers so you can make your own arrangements. There are also four tours you can do in the book, one on foot and three by car to explore some of the different areas. There is a strong focus on the TT as you would expect and it was fun to go round the circuit with the author.

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Very much a history book with the tourist in mind, this really hits the spot. Starting with prehistory, we see the Isle of Man's growth right up until the 1960s, in a natural chronological order, but in a manner that always nods us towards where we can go and see the places and remains mentioned, and at the perfect level of detail for the interested traveller. So this is neither one of the bitty, narrative-free guide books, nor is it a story of past times that fails to nudge us out of our armchair and get us to see the things mentioned. I could see many of the places I'd explored myself, from the Laxey Wheel to Cregneash, on these pages. We do also get routine travel writing, however – we've already had a virtual lap of the whole TT circuit across the island, but we close with extensive description of a walk round Douglas, and a few well-done day drives for the car hirer or ferry-user taking their own vehicle across. You might think them flawed for not getting us up the mountains at all, but we'll have already covered the railway networks necessary before then. A sterling success.

NetGalley, John Lloyd

As with all books by Matthew Richardson this book is well written and researched, easy to read and accessible.

NetGalley, Peter Burnett
 Matthew Richardson

About Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson is Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage. He has a long-term interest in military history and has published several outstanding books on the subject including 1914: Voices from the Battlefields, The Hunger War: Food, Rations and Rationing 1914-1918 and Eyewitness on the Somme 1916. He also has a keen interest in the history of the Isle of Man TT and, in addition to producing several acclaimed exhibitions on this subject, worked with Dave Molyneux on The Racer’s Edge: Memoirs of an Isle of Man TT Legend.

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