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Great Tales from English History, Vol 2: Joan of Arc, the Princes in the Tower, Bloody Mary, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Isaac Newton & More
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Great Tales from English History, Vol 2: Joan of Arc, the Princes in the Tower, Bloody Mary, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Isaac Newton & More

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  393 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Unforgettable stories from the England of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and beyond-the rich second volume of great tales by a master of British popular history.
Hardcover, 271 pages
Published June 2nd 2005 by Little Brown and Company (first published November 4th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 895)
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Ben Babcock
This is the third in a somewhat unintentional trio of books set (or partially set) in seventeenth-century England. It’s “somewhat” because once I got them all from the library, I decided to read them consecutively and see how such a thematic grouping affected my perception of them. Alas, all three have been somewhat disappointing. I find Elizabethan England fascinating, and I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the reigns of James I, Charles I, the Commonwealth, the Restoration, etc. How ...more
Secondo volume della serie ”Great Tales from English History”. Si sa che con il passare dei secoli la storia abbandona sempre di più le strade del mito e della leggenda per intraprendere quelle delle testimonianze e degli archivi. In questo caso, poi, Lacey si occupa dell’Inghilterra dal secolo quattordicesimo al diciassettesimo, il periodo più insegnato a scuola, quello più romanzato, quello della guerra delle due rose, dei Tudor, della gloriosa rivoluzione ecc. Insomma: un periodo molto noto. ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Sheldon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Shelley Piedmont
Recommended to Sheldon by: Sheldon Meister
This is an extremely readable book about historical figures in English history. The chapters were short, so the book lent itself easily to utilizing brief snatches of time. I've always been rather hazy on which monarchs came after which monarchs and where old Oliver Cromwell fitted in. I think anyone who reads this book would be favorably disposed to reading more English history if it were written in the same vein. I especially enjoyed the chapter on Joan of Arc which made her almost human. If h ...more
Part 2 of Lacey's quick overview of British history. Like book 1, this is a very concise summary of what's happened, though he provides an extensive bibliography for extra reading.

I have quite a lot of fun with these books, despite the fact that I'll probably have forgotten the names of all the rulers tomorrow. Still, not a bad way to spend your time and definitely a good introduction to British history.
All those fascinating stories from English History you can never keep straight, re-told beautifully. Lacey cruises from one major figure to the next, enlivening each one with the best details and leaving out what you never wanted to know anyway. These stories live and breathe, fill you with sympathy and horror, and leave you remembering more about English history than you ever thought possible.
Cynthia Egbert
Yes, I am reading these books out of order because that is how the library sent them to me. I don't care, I can now go back to volume one with little hassle. I cannot recommend these three volumes highly enough if you have a love for or a desire to understand more of English history. There are a number of things that I have had to write down that I want to study at greater depth, but the overview that Mr. Lacey offers is superb. Even my children would have to admit that they got caught up in som ...more
A pretty good walk through of the major events in middle English history. A little disjointed but nevertheless an interesting read.
I reviewed the previous book in this series, though right now I can't find a copy of the third one.

This book was much the same as the previous one, though the content has changed now to encompass the War of the Roses period and the general political climate that that encompassed. The stories were interesting, and the bibliography at the back rather good. I quite liked the fact that Robert Lacey included both Museums and Gardens, books and websites - primary sources are great. I sent several reco
Ah, history. The torch of truth and the destroyer of prejudice (supposedly). I used to love history, just like reading a novel but with all the good parts.

Authors like Robert Lacey try to make history read very much like a novel, and to a certain extent they succeed. The language is appropriate, considering it is a 'history-in-brief' book, while Lacey tries to make his book as informative as possible while maintaining the general appeal. I must admit that even though I like to think of myself a
I gave this three stars because I would not suggest that anyone pick it up for casual fun. For what it is, though, it's excellent. Extremely readable, and if you're curious about the subject, it's a wonderful way to get some information. I checked it out because I wanted to know the story of Oliver Cromwell, how he came to lead England, how he was associated with the army, what he believed. And this book summed up what I need to know to be culturally literate on the subject, in about three four- ...more
Deanna Against Censorship
First this is not a book for the serious student of history. It is a book of a timeline of history filled with interesting little tidbits of history. It is enjoyable. I listened to this book. I usually (make that never) like an author reading his/her own writing. Sorry Jessica Fletcher. Lacey is the exception. He makes the book funny and sad yet always intriguing. A fun way to introduce history to a reluctant reader. I love history and I love these books.
A Real Treat As An Audiobook

Robert Lacey has done something that many writers have failed to do (unfortunately) - he has written history in a fun, accessible, easy to grasp manner. After all, as Lacey points out in his introduction to Volume 1, the "history" and "story" come from the same Latin root word. Essentially, history should be the simple story of how things happened, to the best of the teller's knowledge.

Lacey's power as a storyteller is highlighted here in spades. He narrates his audio
While preparing for my trip to London this summer, I decided it would be good to brush up on my English history. This book was perfect! This was my first time reading a book by Robert Lacey (I skipped over Vol. 1), but I plan to purchase Vols. 1 and 3 of this book. Lacey had a very enticing writing style, breaking down history into short little anecdotes. I particularly enjoyed the "mysteries" of the Lost Colony and the princes in the tower. Neither of these were stories I had heard before and I ...more
May 20, 2008 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs and Anglophiles
This short book was a joy to read. The writing was snappy and conversational, and Lacey chose to focus on the influence of individual people's lives on history rather than on impersonal descriptions of battles, politics, and mass movements. As a result, the book was infused with a lot of personal detail that you often have to dig for in bigger history books. My only complaint about this book is that for some reason, Lacey didn't have a chapter devoted to Shakespeare, even though he would have fi ...more
David R.
Lacey provides a series of engaging stories about England between Chaucer and Newton. Almost all of this material is well known (e.g. the wives of Henry VIII, the Glorious Revolution, the Princes in the Tower) but Lacey gives it something new. Wonderful reading!
Pete Friend
This book is excellent, I'm loving this author, I hope he releases some more books soon
Caleb Poon
Inspiring tale telling with unpretentious honesty and British pride.
Like the first volume, this is a series of short essays on important events and people from English history. I like Lacey's style: informal and with a fair amount of humor. This is a nice way to brush up on English history.
a nice "highlights of english history" book. i enjoyed the writing and the chosen episodes were also highly interesting. and i will also, when it crosses my way - get the other similar books out of the library.

it just lacked the wow-factor to give it more than three stars. it was nice and a great addition to introductory history books. in nice easy readable chunks for people who sometimes just need something to read for five minutes or so and be done with it.
H. P. Reed
Robert Lacey writes English in brief very well. It is somewhat amusing now to see how wrong historians were about Richard III crooked back. Lacey emphatically states the unlikelihood of Richard's back being crooked. As of last year's discovery of poor Richard's bones we know that Shakespeare was right. Still, Lacey's stories are entertaining. They are best appreciated by newcomers to English history, buffs in the making.
It was a solid overview of a fair chunk of English histroy, and I read it before going to England in order to have a better grasp of the relationships and stories which I knew so little of. For that, it was good.

It would be a good book on the toilet, or a good between books book, something that doesn't get you too involved, and is broken into quick, managable chapters.
Nov 14, 2008 Lauri rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes history with intelligence, humor and real people
Again, this is one of those books I love listening to - the author reads his work in a wonderful British accent. The sectons are short and filled with wit and information. I learned so much. I read it out of order. I am about to start Vol.I and plan to read Vol. III (which I can't find in an audio version, unfortunately.)
In Great Tales from English History, Robert Lacey tracks important events from the beginning of the Tudor’s reign to the end of the Stuarts. He includes major (and well known) events as well as less widely known interesting tidbits. The narrative style makes this book interesting and fun. A great resource and read!
Keri Daskam
My suspicion is that volume two will be my favorite of the series. This book is heavy on the golden years of monarchy with Henry VII, VIII, and Elizabeth I featuring prominently throughout. It was a great lesson in the Tudors and Stuarts, and one I thouroughly enjoyed.

Onto the next and final volume!
Daniel Kukwa
Another all around excellent research tool that works equally well as history-for-personal-enjoyment. However, the one caveat I have is that a few of the entries fall on the state-the-obvious end of the scale, spoiling runs of some more interesting write-up's.
It wasn't all that great, but if you are interested in English history, you may like it. It gives a VERY short descriptionof popular English tales, but not much actual historical background. Just tells the tales as they were told years ago. Not bad, but not great.
This was supposed to be a throw away for me--I needed something short to listen to at work before a long weekend. I know something about British history, but I learned so much from this. I'm going to read the other books in this group. Now I need a trip to England!
Quick and colorful accounts of British history. Very entertaining, and well told. The books in this series are worth reading especially if you are traveling to England. Knowing a little bit of the history makes a lot of the sights more enjoyable.
Mark Delaplane

I was prompted to read this after reading Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle series. I wanted more background on 17th century England. This book presents the significant historical events in easy to read and understand short stories.
Aug 31, 2011 Teri rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teri by: Erika
Easy to read history with fun commentary by Lacey. I really enjoyed it and want to read Vols. 1 and 3 now. It was good enough that I would like to own the books. Short chapters with enough info to give you the general idea.
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Robert Lacey is a British historian noted for his original research, which gets him close to - and often living alongside - his subjects. He is the author of numerous international bestsellers.

After writing his first works of historical biography, Robert, Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Ralegh, Robert wrote Majesty, his pioneering biography of Queen Elizabeth II. Published in 1977, Majesty remains
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