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Comment: Introductory history to the Royal Houses of England from the Norman Conquest to the present day, with brief biographical sketches of each monarch - from the Normans to the Windsors. Book club edition, 3rd impression 5th printing. Purple cloth boards gilt lettering, minor rubbing at jacket edges, scuffed in places, no inscriptions
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The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England Hardcover – 1980


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Hardcover, 1980
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Book Club Associates; Reprint edition (1980)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000HI3HQO
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 18 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,837,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 23 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
Antonia Fraser's 'The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England' has long been one of my favourite books (since my childhood, really), because it has both breadth and brevity simultaneously, a rare feat. Lady Fraser's style is evident here, a non-imposing and non-technical style, that is nonetheless satisfying to all but the most rigourous of academic historians.
Fraser's account begins with the Norman invasion; like many books on royal history, scant attention is paid to pre-Norman figures. Fraser groups the monarchs into categories:
Normans
Angevins
Plantagenets
House of Lancaster
House of York
Tudors
Stuarts
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor
Putting together the genealogical tables is a fun exercise--beware here, however, that lesser historical figures are left off the charts (thus, Queen Anne's bevy of children are not represented on the genealogy as none lived to assume the crown or perpetuate the line). Each monarch is given an article about 10-15 pages in length (a good bedtime reading length, I've found). Pictures and paintings help place visually the stories, together with the interspersed essays on coats-of-arms and other topics.
Fraser likes to find the humourous aspects whenever possible. Writing on William IV's distaste for the young Victoria's mother:' 'In 1836 the Duchess of Kent took over a large suite of rooms in Kensington Palace without the King's permission. William was furious. If he died now, Victoria would not be old enough to rule without her mother as Regent. At a public dinner, attended by more than a hundred guests, William said that he hoped his life would be spared long enough to prevent such a calamity.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
I had been looking for a high quality survey of the history and development of the English monarchy - and I found it here. Trying to cover such a complex subject and long period of time within the constraints of a relatively small volume inevitably means that the accounts cannot be too detailed. Nevertheless, the depth of the material covered, both personal and political, is impressive, as is the crisp writing and the obviously thorough research and editing. Whatever you may think of the monarchy and its future (if it has one), this book is informative, entertaining proof that it has one helluva a past.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By jackie.thomas100@ntlworld.com on 13 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
A rare achievement to write a history book which could never gather dust in a bookcase. This comprehensive guide of royal lives spanning from thenormans to the present House of Windsor is so well constructed it makes anabsorbing read, as well as a useful reference book. It is beautifullyillustrated encompassing portraits heraldry etc. a postive gem
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By N. Collins on 7 April 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is great

I have read many books on Kings and Queens but this has to be the best.

Each monarch has about 2 pages dedicated to them. In thses 2 pages you will find out alot about each monarch their goodside and badside. There is also a large selection of pictures. Unlike most others, this book offers personal pictures of each of the monarchs.

This great book is a MUST READ for those interested in Britains royal heritage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott F. Hannigan on 5 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has long been a permanent part of my library. I had a very well thumbed pocket-sized edition which I bought 30 years ago and I reluctantly had to replace it when it literally fell to pieces. This new larger illustrated edition is very impressive but it doesn't make for easy reading in bed!
Having hauled the thing in to bed, however, I like the length of each chapter - each is short enough not to get too bogged down and yet informative enough to pique my interest. The stories come alive and many times I have gone on to seek out more detailed biographies of certain favourite monarchs. Indeed, many of these biographies are by Ms Fraser herself. A wonderful resource which is good to have on hand for the curious mind and a good standby when one is between books.
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By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 23 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
Antonia Fraser's 'The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England' has long been one of my favourite books (since my childhood, really), because it has both breadth and brevity simultaneously, a rare feat. Lady Fraser's style is evident here, a non-imposing and non-technical style, that is nonetheless satisfying to all but the most rigourous of academic historians.
Fraser's account begins with the Norman invasion; like many books on royal history, scant attention is paid to pre-Norman figures. Fraser groups the monarchs into categories:
Normans
Angevins
Plantagenets
House of Lancaster
House of York
Tudors
Stuarts
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor
Putting together the genealogical tables is a fun exercise--beware here, however, that lesser historical figures are left off the charts (thus, Queen Anne's bevy of children are not represented on the genealogy as none lived to assume the crown or perpetuate the line). Each monarch is given an article about 10-15 pages in length (a good bedtime reading length, I've found). Pictures and paintings help place visually the stories, together with the interspersed essays on coats-of-arms and other topics.
Fraser likes to find the humourous aspects whenever possible. Writing on William IV's distaste for the young Victoria's mother:' 'In 1836 the Duchess of Kent took over a large suite of rooms in Kensington Palace without the King's permission. William was furious. If he died now, Victoria would not be old enough to rule without her mother as Regent. At a public dinner, attended by more than a hundred guests, William said that he hoped his life would be spared long enough to prevent such a calamity.
Read more ›
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Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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