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Bob Farquharson

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Mary Queen Of Scots: And The Murder Of Lord Darnley
Mary Queen Of Scots: And The Murder Of Lord Darnley
by Alison Weir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.00

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An in depth study., 29 Jun. 2003
Befeore I go any further let me say this is a truly excellent book. Having said that I can now be a little more critical. The book essentially splits into 3 parts. An introduction to Mary and the build up to her marriage with Darnley, the marriage to darnley and his murder and finally Mary's imprisonment and execution in England. I think this is a mistake. The book is essentially an in depth study of Darnley's murder. If it had stayed with this area of speciality it could have been reduced from 600 to 450 pages and not lost any if its impetus. We would also had greater focus. The first and third parts are general overviews, whereas the main part of the book is a very detailed account. The two styles sit uneasily with each other.
When we get to the main account of Darnley and his murder from being easy going, the book becomes hard work. It is extremely detailed and often difficult to work out who is who with so many characters entering the plot. However the author writes superbly and manages to tie up this immense level of detail in a highly readable manner. It is extremely well researched and very careful in it's dealings with highly biased source material. Alison's Weir's conclusions on Mary and the murder of Darnley hardly rock the boat, but nevertheless this is a readable and highly detailed account of a most interesting historical event.

Elizabeth I: The Exhibition Catalogue
Elizabeth I: The Exhibition Catalogue
by Dr David Starkey
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordnary achievement., 12 Jun. 2003
This book is superb. It is written as a catalogue and as such would not expect it to be very exciting. But the presentation is suberb. The printing and layout is of great quality and the articles very well written. The introduction by Starkey is short but superb. The book is split into sections and each section has a very well written introduction of several pages. The description of the catalogue items are very good and the photographs well chosen. You can read this as a catalogue to the exhibition or as suberbly illustrated introduction to Elizabethan England. The Exhibition organisers have done a tremendous job and this catalogue does them proud.

Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh
by Raleigh Trevelyan
Edition: Paperback

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting historical figure made dull., 12 Jun. 2003
This review is from: Sir Walter Raleigh (Paperback)
There are 2 sides to this book. The information provided is well researched and impressive and as good as one could hope. The presentation however is deadly dull. This is an enormous catalogue of facts thrown into one book with little emotion. This may suit some tastes, but not mine. I like biographers to be opinionated and back up their opinions with well thought out arguments. Raleigh was exciting. He was well ahead of his time in many of his ideas. He was slightly mad (all that potion making) and extremely dynamic. Yet reading this book you'd think he was quite dull. And those wonderful myth's are virtually ignored. The cloak episode is dismissed as probably untrue, and the introduction of tobacco as probably the work of Drake or Hawkins. They probably are untrue, but what was it about Raleigh's personality that got these myth's up and running? If you like your books to be crammed with a mass of historical facts, quotes from letters and excerpts from books then you will like this. If you like your books to come alive and to feel you are living alongside your character, then look elsewhere.
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