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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars21
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 24 September 2012
As someone used to reading more highbrow history books I read this on holiday expecting a light read and this was exactly what I got. Do not expect anything too serious and demanding. However, even though the author writes in an engaging manner the sheer volume of inaccuracies is simply not acceptable. For example in the section on the execution of Anthony Babington and his fellow conspirators we have the following:

'Although hanging, drawing and quartering had been in use for centuries, because this was the first time in Elizabeth's long reign that it had been used, it is unlikely that the Queen actually understood how barbaric it was. On hearing the details of the executions and the public's horrified reaction, she ordered that the remaining eight conspirators should simply be hanged. There would never be another public dismemberment in the realm of England.'

Unfortunately, the queen knew only too well how horrific this form of public butchery was and she gave explicit orders that the traitors should be made to suffer terribly. It certainly was not the first time that it had been used in her reign as it was standard practice to execute catholic priests in this manner from 1578 onwards and this was the fate that befell the Jesuit Edmund Campion in December 1581 among many others. Again the author is wrong when he states 'that the remaining eight conspirators should simply be hanged'. There were 14 convicted traitors in this plot and the first seven were executed on the 20th September 1586 leaving the remaining SEVEN to be hung on the second day. Finally, the author is wrong again when he states that there was never 'another public dismemberment in the realm of England' after this as unfortunately traitors continued to be hung, drawn and quartered well into the 18th century. Good examples being the Gunpowder plotters of 1605 and the regicides who signed the death warrant of Charles I in the mid 17th century.

Unfortunately, for this reason it is not possible to take this book seriously and I find it staggering that someone could actually write a book on a subject which he obviously knows so little about!
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on 30 September 2006
This is an excellent book that covers various periods in the history of The Tower of London. The tower is usually thought of as a prison but it was built as a royal palace. The book covers stories of torture,betrayal and of course execution. It is the type of book that you can dip into and pick which particular story you want to read each chapter being complete within itself. You can pick between William the Conqueror,Jane Grey,Guy Fawkes and right through to Rudolf Hess. The book covers history from the times of medieval knights right through to the second world war. Each chapter is well written and informitive and as I have said it is a book to dip into at leisure it is not bed time reading. Overall a well written book but not "I must read the next page" book.
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on 6 February 2013
I really enjoyed this book as it gave a different perspective of famous and not so famous people and what became old them.

It provided information of times that I was unfamiliar with e.g.. The Irish Troubles and I would recommend it.
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on 18 March 2013
It's more than just a book about the tower of London it gives you a brief history of Britain as it winds it's way from Norman Times up to the second world war. A great book that I found it hard to put down.
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on 28 June 2013
Really well written, easy reading, very interesting stories with good balance to all aspects of each story, food for thought for some of the mysterious tales so enjoyed very much.
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on 16 January 2014
Great read full of historical fact but written in a way to prevent it becoming dull.I visited the tower just before reading this book which made it even more interesting.
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on 20 January 2013
A rather gruesome and sometimes boring description of the history of some of the tower`s occupants. An accurate portrayal of past lives with much factual information
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on 5 March 2013
Wish this kind of history book had been around when I was a child. Lots of smiles and shivers the dry old characters of history were vividly brought to life!
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on 16 January 2013
Brilliant read! Definitely recommend for anyone interested in history! Very well written and researched. Could easily read it again it was that good.
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on 23 February 2013
Excellent and very interesting read, not just history about the tower of London but an insight into what was happening in the country at time.
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