on 6 March 2000
I've been looking for a VERY long time for a book that tells a bit more about British Kings than the fact that Henry VIII had 6 wives and that Elizabeth I her teeth were rotting, yet is well readable for somebody who isn't a historian himself. And I've found it! This book tells everything there is to know, and also tells the story in a way that doesn't make you fall asleep. There's loads of maps and charts that make themselves quickly understood.
I could go on for hours, I guess. Buy it! It's a must for the real Anglofile!
on 5 April 2010
This is an amazing book, it's very informative and gives all the information you need to know about British Kings and Queens (Plus More). It starts on some of the pre-roman leaders that we/they know about trying to destingress between myth and fact, then going on to the Roman emporer's and governers that ruled the country (part off). Then it goes on to all the small kingdoms from the SW corner of England and wales to the Islands of Scotland. Then gradually going on to the the bigger kingdoms and the uniting of the crowns to become Great Britain then the UK. These plenty of information, on all the monarchs, as well as sites with royal connections, royal family tree's with the connection's between them all (not just the traditional look, a very comprihensive one) and a full (as full as historians/fact know) list of all the monarchs ( and roman emporers and governers of britain) of the UK, with dates and notes. It also shows the Kings, Queens, Prince's, Duke's, leaders etc of other places, fron Norway to Anjou and France to Hanover for example.
This book has everything you need to know in it. A must have and if I could give it more stars I would.
on 19 November 2014
I thought this was a con, this fine book for just a penny. It is a fund of information for those who float in that space between, history lover and historian, and supplies an amazing amount of information. Full of Kings Lists and ancient family trees, the book also provides a potted history of all that happened in Britain. My only complaint is that I assume most of the names in the various lists that take the reader through The Dark Ages and beyond, are early Welsh versions of original Celt; I should have liked to have had this confirmed; not being an expert in either of those Languages. I was looking for this book and prepared to pay the full price; it is well worth that and a credit to the author.
on 20 June 2013
This is perhaps the most comprehensive one volume digest of British monarchs and spans 2000 years of rulers of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and smaller kingdoms withing Britain. There are over a thousand entries.
It has a section on LEGENDARY OR SEMI-HISTORICAL KINGS OF BRITAIN which includes the possibilities of who the legendary King Arthur was based on, as well as the King Lear we know from the Shakespeare play.
In this section he refers to the History by Geoffrey of Monmouth, whom Ashley does not see as a very incredible historian.
According to Geoffrey's History the legendary first king of Britain was Brut or Brutus who was supposed to have reigned about 1100 BCE. But Ashley says that although Geoffrey's is almost certainly a creation of his own imagination, there is no reason to disbelieve the concept of tribes of Celts arriving in Britain at this period and one strong leader emerging.
The first likely British king to have been documented is Beli Mwar (circa 100 BCE). It is possible to trace most British and Welsh rulers back to Beli.
Alfred the Great (871-899 CE), the best known of the West Saxon kings earned the epithet of the 'Great' not only because he held the Saxon nation together against the Dane invaders but because he improved the strength, culture and quality of his realm.
The section on kings of England tells us tat King William I The Conqueror or The Bastard, after his conquest of England, marched in 1069 against the rebels under Swein and Edgar. The author tells us that "harrying of the north was the most extreme example of despoiling and genocide that England has ever seen and for which William was never forgiven. He may have conquered them but he never ruled them".
We learn that the facts about Scottish king MacBeth are not reflected at all in Shakespeare's play.
As for Richard III, while Shakespeare may have greatly exaggerated his villainy, the facts bare out that he almost certainly did order the murders of the young princes of the tower, as examined in The Princes in the Tower.
This book is a reference work, and can be referred to whenever reading up on British history, or historical fiction. It is also an interesting read in itself.
It is crammed with interesting facts such as the existence of the heredidatary disease porphyria which has infected the English royal family for centuries.
The Royal Book of Records in this digest is particularly fascinating.
Since this book was written Elizabeth (Queen since 1952) has overtaken Henry III of England (56 years) and James VI of Scotland ( 57 years) . If Elizabeth is still reigning in 2012 she will have overtaken George III (59 years)and if she is still reigning in 10 September 2015, she will have overtaken Queen Victoria as the longest reigning British monarch. If she is still reigning in 2016 she will have overtaken Meurig of Gwent to be the oldest reigning monarch ever on the island of Britain.
The digest takes us up to the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997.
The monarchy has been in crisis many times before and while today it is going through difficulty one can only hope that such an ancient venerable institution it will survive.
It is up to the new generations to help the monarchy find a new place in the affections of the people.