2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I first discovered Robert Lacey as an author from his book 'The Year 1000'. Interesting, accessible, easy to follow, with a good balance of detail and breadth (always a tricky task when writing a popular history), that book was one of my favourites around the turn of the second millennium. I discovered this book on the shelves of my local library, and have found it equally worthwhile and fun to read.
This book concentrates on the late Middle Ages to the post-Reformation era in English history - in royal terms, the times of the end of the Plantagenets, the Tudors, the Stuarts, the Interregnum and Glorious Revolution (which a history professor of mine once intoned dramatically, 'was neither glorious nor a revolution'). In years, this goes from the late 1300s to the late 1600s.
One of the things that I like a lot about this particular history is that the stories are brief and self-contained while being part of the overall flow of the history of England. They make for good bed-time reading (the longest of the stories is barely seven pages long, in easy print and easy, storytelling language). Many of the characters are already familiar figures even to those who aren't Anglophiles - Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth the First, Shakespeare, King James and the English Bible. Then there will be figures that are lesser known but just as interesting - the Roundheads and Cavaliers, Rabbi Manasseh, Titus Oates, the Bloody Assizes. These are tales told in a simplified but memorable manner, and could serve for younger and older readers as a stimulus for further reading and investigation about topics brought up in the text.
There are a few maps, royal lineage charts, and woodcut/line art drawings throughout the text. Lacey includes a bibliography for further reading (this contains a good number of website addresses for making further research very easy). There is also an index, which many popular histories forget, but Lacey is to be highly praised for including one here, making looking up particular names, places and events very easy.