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Brief Lives of the English Monarchs (Brief Histories)
Brief Lives of the English Monarchs (Brief Histories)
by Carolly Erickson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Competent but Uninspiring, 30 Nov. 2008
"Brief lives of the English Monarchs" offers pen portraits of English monarchs from William the Conqueror to the present queen. Carolly Erickson sums up the lives and reigns of each monarch in half a dozen pages. While this is a reasonable attempt, it reads like a history textbook and Erickson just doesn't seem interested in her subjects. The book also lacks any real in-depth analysis of the reigns. A better one-volume work on this subject is The Kings and Queens of England (Revealing History) (Revealing History (Paperback)).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2012 7:56 PM GMT

New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1603 (The Penguin History of Britain)
New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1603 (The Penguin History of Britain)
by Susan Brigden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Approach to Tudor History, 17 Oct. 2008
This is not a strictly chronological history of the Tudor age and its events. Instead, Susan Brigden takes a more thematic approach - concentrating on England's attempted subjugation of Ireland and the religious and social changes of this period. The author succeeds admirably. Of all Tudor history books, "New Worlds, Lost Worlds" most captures the spirit of the age and Tudor life.

This book should be read alongside G.R. Elton's England Under the Tudors, which provides background and analysis to the key characters and events of the Tudor age.

England Under the Tudors
England Under the Tudors
by G. R. Elton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.32

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Tudor History Book I've Read, 2 Oct. 2008
Prof Elton's book spans the entire Tudor period from the Battle of Bosworth to the death of Elizabeth I. The book's triumphant central theme is summed up in the last sentences: "The state was built anew, government restored and reformed, enterprise encouraged, faith rekindled. The good part survived, the bad past died...a new and greater England emerged from the day-to-day turmoil of life." In exploring this subject, Prof Elton devotes entire chapters to e.g. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell and Elizabethan seapower. In contrast, the reigns of Edward VI and Mary are summed up, and dismissed, in 20 pages.

However, this book is a must read for anyone interested in, or studying the Tudors. Prof Elton's writing style is both readable and witty. He demonstrates a clear mastery and enthusiasm for his subject matter.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2009 8:45 PM GMT

Singled Out:
Singled Out:
by Virginia Nicholson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So near, yet so far away from perfection..., 30 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Singled Out: (Paperback)
As Virginia Nicholson righly points out, many of the women left without men following WW1 were often forgotton about or viewed as a problem. Ms Nicholson has done a wonderful job of describing both the achievements of these women and the prejudices they faced. The book is extremely well-researched - the author has sought out survivors of this period, and reached into diaries, letters, news reports, literature, problem pages, etc.

However, the book feels like a missed opportunity. The women's stories are rarely accompanied by any critical analysis or historical background - the book often descends into hero worship. I would have also appreciated biographies of some of the key individuals in the book.

This book is certainly worth reading for anyone interested in the topic, but it left me wanting to know more.

The Interpretation of Murder
The Interpretation of Murder
by Jed Rubenfeld
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two "Stories in One Book, 3 July 2008
"Interpretation of Murder" is two stories in one. It is firstly a detective story set in New York. While New York at the turn of the century is lavishly described, the characters are one-dimensional - it's hard to care about them. The murderer is identified as the chief suspect quite early in the proceedings, meaning there is no element of surprise or suspense.

The second story looks at psycho-analysis and the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. This is obviously based on extensive research and is more interesting than the detective story.

The two narratives don't necessarily complement each other. Freud is at best a detached commentator on the events in the detective story.

I can't see any reason to buy this book. There are much more gripping detective stories and although the description of psycho-analysis in the book is interesting, you could again do better with a standard biography of Freud of Jung.

Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation Of The Wives Of Henry Viii
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation Of The Wives Of Henry Viii
by Karen Lindsey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Read on the Tudor Period, 17 Jun. 2008
Karen Lindsay's book concentrates on Henry VIII's six wives, but also provides an insight into Henry VIII's character and the whole Tudor period. This is an excellent book for two reasons: (1) The author's witty, engaging writing style which really makes the Tudor era come to life and the (2) refreshing and interesting observations on each of the six wives.

While I don't agree with all of Karen Lindsay's conclusions (Elizabeth I would have married if politically convenient?), this is an extremely thought-provoking and engaging book.

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