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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: £8.79

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Weir's best, 28 Jan 2013
When I pick up an Alison Weir book I know that I'm in for a good time (this is my 4th book by Weir in a row. The others: The Princes in the Tower, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Wars of the Roses). This time I settled into the cockpit of my sailboat with her MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS. I've read a lot of books on Mary and Elizabeth, her contemporary and nemesis, but not for the love of their eyes (as the French say, of whom I am one). Mary is of little real interest and Elizabeth too vain and indecisive. Even the times during which they lived lacked excitement. Leonardo Il Magnifico is dead. Charles VIII is no longer around for his twice-daily romp with a different woman. The greats, Henry II and Henry V, have exited life's stage. Magellan has already discovered a sea route around the world and Marco Polo China. There was even greater intrigue in Henry VIII's humping than in these two queens, neither of whom possessed the force of character of a Catherine de' Medici; a Margaret d'Anjou, the wife of the ridiculous Henry VI; a fabulous Eleanor d'Aquitaine; and the incredible Caterino Sforza. Perhaps I'm drawn to Raleigh's adventurousness or Darnley's assassination and the murder of Rizzio (during which I learned, for the first time, that a gun had been pointed at Mary's womb, containing the future king of England, James I, but misfired!). Weir describes Mary's husband, Darnley, as grossly uncouth, exceedingly handsome, promiscuous and sexually ambivalent (another source says that Rizzio liked to be sodomized by the big Darnley). At 6 feet 3 Darnley was incredibly tall, as was Mary at 6 feet. Weir offers us a truly unbelievable painting showing Mary and the sexually ambivalent Darnley side by side; one has to study the painting assiduously to tell which is which (so help me God!). At the end of the book came the final harrowing scene between the two women, Mary and Elizabeth, not unlike that between Davis and Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
But I'm being ridiculously judgmental. These two queens, Mary and Elizabeth, certainly had a hell of a more exciting life than I do on my gently bobbing boat. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore'
Mary Boleyn: 'The Great and Infamous Whore'
by Alison Weir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Weir's best, 28 Jan 2013
When I pick up an Alison Weir book I know that I'm in for a good time (this is my 4th book by Weir in a row. The others: The Princes in the Tower, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Wars of the Roses). This time I settled into the cockpit of my sailboat with her MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS. I've read a lot of books on Mary and Elizabeth, her contemporary and nemesis, but not for the love of their eyes (as the French say, of whom I am one). Mary is of little real interest and Elizabeth too vain and indecisive. Even the times during which they lived lacked excitement. Leonardo Il Magnifico is dead. Charles VIII is no longer around for his twice-daily romp with a different woman. The greats, Henry II and Henry V, have exited life's stage. Magellan has already discovered a sea route around the world and Marco Polo China. There was even greater intrigue in Henry VIII's humping than in these two queens, neither of whom possessed the force of character of a Catherine de' Medici; a Margaret d'Anjou, the wife of the ridiculous Henry VI; a fabulous Eleanor d'Aquitaine; and the incredible Caterino Sforza. Perhaps I'm drawn to Raleigh's adventurousness or Darnley's assassination and the murder of Rizzio (during which I learned, for the first time, that a gun had been pointed at Mary's womb, containing the future king of England, James I, but misfired!). Weir describes Mary's husband, Darnley, as grossly uncouth, exceedingly handsome, promiscuous and sexually ambivalent (another source says that Rizzio liked to be sodomized by the big Darnley). At 6 feet 3 Darnley was incredibly tall, as was Mary at 6 feet. Weir offers us a truly unbelievable painting showing Mary and the sexually ambivalent Darnley side by side; one has to study the painting assiduously to tell which is which (so help me God!). At the end of the book came the final harrowing scene between the two women, Mary and Elizabeth, not unlike that between Davis and Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
But I'm being ridiculously judgmental. These two queens, Mary and Elizabeth, certainly had a hell of a more exciting life than I do on my gently bobbing boat. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


The Tudors: Henry VII to Henry VIII
The Tudors: Henry VII to Henry VIII
by G. J. Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful detail, 24 Jan 2013
I've read some fabulous books over the past few months, several of which have kept me glued to my seat: Nigel Randell's THE WHITE HEADHUNTER, the story of a 19-year-old who was captured by cannibals before becoming one himself; Simon Baatz's FOR THE THRILL OF IT, two boy assassins of around 15 who spoke a dozen languages between them (one of which was Sanskrit!), and Wroe's totally remarkable PERKIN, another incredible story about the lad who pretended to be one of the sons of Edward IV, supposedly murdered in the Tower by Richard III. The king at the time, Henry VII, spent thousands of pounds--millions in today's money--trying to locate him. There had been some great Henrys in English history, the amazing Henry II (my all-time favorite), father of the no less amazing Richard Coeur de Lion and husband to the equally amazing Eleanor d'Aquitaine, and Henry V of Agincourt fame. This Henry, the VII, far less amazing, had spent, as I said, a fortune hunting down the impostor, Perkin, but like l'Avare he stashed away the rest of his loot until the country's coffers were literally overflowing with gold. It took Henry VIII little time to dilapidate it all before finding other resources (to keep his libido red hot) like robbing monasteries, even if it meant founding of church of his own. The king's sheep followed him then as they do their betters today (Vegas, any one?)--strange for a Democracy, but of lesser interest than a boy cannibal, boy assassins and a boy impostor.
Which brings me to THE TUDORS by G.J. Meyer. An exhaustive study of the times, with incredible detail: `'At age fifty-five (Henry VIII) was an old man at the end of his strength, bald, wrinkled ... so grotesquely fat that he could no longer climb stairs and had to be rolled about on chairs fitted with wheels. His many afflictions--the headaches, the hemorrhoids--now seemed trivial'' to the `'old open sores that filled his bed chamber with an atrocious stench, and the royal body was jolted by electric stabs of pain.'' His avarice was such that `'schools, hospitals and institutions for the care of the aged and indigent had undergone an abrupt collapse from which it would not recover for centuries.'' He destroyed the tomb of the saint Becket and `'the valuables hauled away from the tomb filled twenty-four wagons ... along with chests laden with precious gems.'' To the end, wrote Meyer, Henry `'remained as murderous as ever, a hardened killer ruling by terror.'' Naturally, the book is 5-star material. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2013 3:48 PM BST


The Tudors: Lady Jane Grey to Elizabeth I
The Tudors: Lady Jane Grey to Elizabeth I
by G. J. Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.87

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible detail, 24 Jan 2013
I've read some fabulous books over the past few months, several of which have kept me glued to my seat: Nigel Randell's THE WHITE HEADHUNTER, the story of a 19-year-old who was captured by cannibals before becoming one himself; Simon Baatz's FOR THE THRILL OF IT, two boy assassins of around 15 who spoke a dozen languages between them (one of which was Sanskrit!), and Wroe's totally remarkable PERKIN, another incredible story about the lad who pretended to be one of the sons of Edward IV, supposedly murdered in the Tower by Richard III. The king at the time, Henry VII, spent thousands of pounds--millions in today's money--trying to locate him. There had been some great Henrys in English history, the amazing Henry II (my all-time favorite), father of the no less amazing Richard Coeur de Lion and husband to the equally amazing Eleanor d'Aquitaine, and Henry V of Agincourt fame. This Henry, the VII, far less amazing, had spent, as I said, a fortune hunting down the impostor, Perkin, but like l'Avare he stashed away the rest of his loot until the country's coffers were literally overflowing with gold. It took Henry VIII little time to dilapidate it all before finding other resources (to keep his libido red hot) like robbing monasteries, even if it meant founding of church of his own. The king's sheep followed him then as they do their betters today (Vegas, any one?)--strange for a Democracy, but of lesser interest than a boy cannibal, boy assassins and a boy impostor.
Which brings me to THE TUDORS by G.J. Meyer. An exhaustive study of the times, with incredible detail: `'At age fifty-five (Henry VIII) was an old man at the end of his strength, bald, wrinkled ... so grotesquely fat that he could no longer climb stairs and had to be rolled about on chairs fitted with wheels. His many afflictions--the headaches, the hemorrhoids--now seemed trivial'' to the `'old open sores that filled his bed chamber with an atrocious stench, and the royal body was jolted by electric stabs of pain.'' His avarice was such that `'schools, hospitals and institutions for the care of the aged and indigent had undergone an abrupt collapse from which it would not recover for centuries.'' He destroyed the tomb of the saint Becket and `'the valuables hauled away from the tomb filled twenty-four wagons ... along with chests laden with precious gems.'' To the end, wrote Meyer, Henry `'remained as murderous as ever, a hardened killer ruling by terror.'' Naturally, the book is 5-star material. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 21, 2013 6:47 PM BST


The Tudors: The King, the Queen, and the Mistress
The Tudors: The King, the Queen, and the Mistress
by Anne Gracie
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars A pale rehash, 24 Jan 2013
I've read some fabulous books over the past few months, several of which have kept me glued to my seat: Nigel Randell's THE WHITE HEADHUNTER, the story of a 19-year-old who was captured by cannibals before becoming one himself; Simon Baatz's FOR THE THRILL OF IT, two boy assassins of around 15 who spoke a dozen languages between them (one of which was Sanskrit!), and Wroe's totally remarkable PERKIN, another incredible story about the lad who pretended to be one of the sons of Edward IV, supposedly murdered in the Tower by Richard III. The king at the time, Henry VII, spent thousands of pounds--millions in today's money--trying to locate him. There had been some great Henrys in English history, the amazing Henry II (my all-time favorite), father of the no less amazing Richard Coeur de Lion and husband to the equally amazing Eleanor d'Aquitaine, and Henry V of Agincourt fame. This Henry, the VII, far less amazing, had spent, as I said, a fortune hunting down the impostor, Perkin, but like l'Avare he stashed away the rest of his loot until the country's coffers were literally overflowing with gold. It took Henry VIII little time to dilapidate it all before finding other resources (to keep his libido red hot) like robbing monasteries, even if it meant founding of church of his own. The king's sheep followed him then as they do their betters today (Vegas, any one?)--strange for a Democracy, but of lesser interest than a boy cannibal, boy assassins and a boy impostor.
Which brings me to THE TUDORS by Michael Hirst. It's just a pale rehash of Michael Hirst's wonderful DVD series, The Tudors. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


The Perfect Prince
The Perfect Prince
by Ann Wroe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.30

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QUITE SIMPLY FABULOUS, 21 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Perfect Prince (Paperback)
So many women have written so many great books on history (Fraser's The Gunpowder Plot, Scurr's Robespierre, Eisler's Byron, Collingridge's Cook, Salmond's Bligh, Alexander's Bounty) that I'm beginning to wonder if there's a special historian gene that only women possess. Ann Wroe's book, PERKIN, on the boy who was purported to be one of the Princes in the tower (see Alison Weir's wonderful book, THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER, on the murder of the sons of Edward IV) describes the lad in such charming detail as to border on the erotic: clearly Wroe loved the imposter, whose sensuous beauty and personal allure she raises from the dead after a hiatus of 500 years. One man called him `'really good-looking,'' another `'gorgeous,'' and during his years in Portugal a man described him as being `'very pretty, and the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.'' The lad was 15 and the world was his oyster. (Wroe states: `'A young man's sexual equipment was his denrées aventures, the gear with which he hoped to take a chance with girls''; I've personally never heard it better stated--and by a woman no less!) Wroe begins with a needed recap on the War of the Roses (see Alison Weir's marvelous Wars of the Roses), depicting the mass of twisted personages who, in their complexity, would make child's play of Theseus' labyrinth.
I read five books a week, three at the same time at home and three on my sailboat where I spend 80% of my life. I did something I've never done before, I put them all aside in favor of PERKIN, devoting all my time to this `'beautiful creature.''
I suggest you do the same. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


Perkin
Perkin
by Ann Wroe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars QUITE SIMPLY FABULOUS, 21 Jan 2013
This review is from: Perkin (Paperback)
So many women have written so many great books on history (Fraser's The Gunpowder Plot, Scurr's Robespierre, Eisler's Byron, Collingridge's Cook, Salmond's Bligh, Alexander's Bounty) that I'm beginning to wonder if there's a special historian gene that only women possess. Ann Wroe's book, PERKIN, on the boy who was purported to be one of the Princes in the tower (see Alison Weir's wonderful book, THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER, on the murder of the sons of Edward IV) describes the lad in such charming detail as to border on the erotic: clearly Wroe loved the imposter, whose sensuous beauty and personal allure she raises from the dead after a hiatus of 500 years. One man called him `'really good-looking,'' another `'gorgeous,'' and during his years in Portugal a man described him as being `'very pretty, and the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.'' The lad was 15 and the world was his oyster. (Wroe states: `'A young man's sexual equipment was his denrées aventures, the gear with which he hoped to take a chance with girls''; I've personally never heard it better stated--and by a woman no less!) Wroe begins with a needed recap on the War of the Roses (see Alison Weir's marvelous Wars of the Roses), depicting the mass of twisted personages who, in their complexity, would make child's play of Theseus' labyrinth.
I read five books a week, three at the same time at home and three on my sailboat where I spend 80% of my life. I did something I've never done before, I put them all aside in favor of PERKIN, devoting all my time to this `'beautiful creature.''
I suggest you do the same. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2013 12:26 PM BST


(THE SPARTACUS WAR) BY STRAUSS, BARRY(AUTHOR)Paperback Feb-2010
(THE SPARTACUS WAR) BY STRAUSS, BARRY(AUTHOR)Paperback Feb-2010
by Barry Strauss
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book, 20 Jan 2013
Barry Strauss's THE SPARTICUS WAR is the first factual book I've found on this completely fascinating gladiator. Strauss does what he can to make the book lively: we learn lots about gladiators, their ways of fighting, arms, along with lots of Roman history and personages (Cato--I refer you to my review of Goodman and Soni's CATO, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero and Crassus), but little about their sexuality. For that, I highly recommend the 1st year (and only the 1st year) of Spartacus Blood and Sand on DVD. Strauss invents nothing, telling us when information is factual or hearsay or unknown. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


The Spartacus War
The Spartacus War
by Barry Strauss
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book, 20 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Spartacus War (Hardcover)
Barry Strauss's THE SPARTICUS WAR is the first factual book I've found on this completely fascinating gladiator. Strauss does what he can to make the book lively: we learn lots about gladiators, their ways of fighting, arms, along with lots of Roman history and personages (Cato--I refer you to my review of Goodman and Soni's CATO, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Cicero and Crassus), but little about their sexuality. For that, I highly recommend the 1st year (and only the 1st year) of Spartacus Blood and Sand on DVD. Strauss invents nothing, telling us when information is factual or hearsay or unknown. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


The Fall of the House of Walworth: A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America (John MacRae Books)
The Fall of the House of Walworth: A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America (John MacRae Books)
by Geoffrey O'Brien
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult subject, 20 Jan 2013
Geoffrey O'Brien's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WALWORTH is the story of a prestigious family whose main hero is Clara Walworth, the mother of a son, Frank, who, due to his father's continued threats to murder both him and his mother Clara (whom he worshipped), shot the man, a murder which led to the boy's own death at age 33, precipitated by the boy's remorse. (As the story takes place in the late 1800's, Frank, guilty only of protecting his mother, was nonetheless stigmatized as a parricide, which meant a grueling trial and a jail sentence.) With incredible strength, his mother Clara went on to found a school in order to care for her children, two of whom died shortly after birth, another who became a nun at the same moment her mother, Clara, found `'freedom from intellectual slavery'' by renouncing the silliness of all religions. Clara went on to bury another daughter killed during an epidemic that both she and Clara fought, side by side as nurses, to contain. Clara then founded the Daughters of the American Revolution! Following Frank's death, his younger brother wandered off into a forest where he lived as a hermit until cutting his own throat, first unsuccessfully, then pour de bon (I'm French). O'Brien deserves tremendous credit for writing this book, a difficult, complicated subject. My own books can be found on Amazon under Michael Hone.


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