Crown and Country by David Starkey

"How are we to find the right way forward if we do not understand what has been?" We currently live in a world of touch screens and keypads, instantaneous communication and constant information. It's easy to forget there was once a time, not so long ago, when the internet did not exist. What did people do before the World Wide Web?

In Crown and Country, historian David Starkey takes us back to the dawn of the English monarchy and the birth of Britain as we know it today. Yes, it's long and full of dates and names. But for anyone even remotely interested in the challenges that face modern-day Britain, this book provides a useful overview of previous struggles for leadership and power.

And, as anyone who watched the recent Russell Brand Newsnight interview can attest to, changes are afoot. We are living in a turbulent time and it is for this reason that I think the study of history is more important now than ever. How are we to find the right way forward if we do not understand what has been?

Of course Crown and Country is only the very tip of the iceberg and hardly provides a comprehensive overview of British history and politics. But if you're looking for a quick and easy way to gain a better understanding of British leadership then it's worth a skim-read, at least.

Plus you get to learn about the colourful lives of those 'born to rule' - this subject alone has always fascinated me. Imagine if all the luck (or lack of luck...) in the universe caused you to be born into the royal family and charged with the responsibility of ruling. What would you do? Isn't it interesting the fate of millions of people is placed in the hands of 'whoever happens to be born next in the line of succession'? I mean, it's a bit of a gamble is it not?

Oh, and for Game of Thrones fans, you can draw a lot of parallels between real events in British history and those that happen in a A Song of Ice and Fire...