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Purple Secret: Genes, 'Madness' And The Royal Houses Of Europe
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Purple Secret: Genes, 'Madness' And The Royal Houses Of Europe

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
First published in 1998, this is a study, based on DNA sequencing, that traces the porphyria stain through the genealogical maze of Europe's royal dynasties to the present day descendants of the Houses of Hanover and Windsor, and the consequences it might have had on the history of Europe and North America.
Published January 1st 1999 by Corgi Books (first published January 3rd 1998)
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Jan 02, 2009 Duzzlebrarian rated it really liked it
The authors of this book take a step-by-step interdisciplinary approach to the question of whether or not George III and his descendants had porphyria. It's impressive, more scholarly than I expected, and convincing. I was impressed that they followed the trail to Continental Europe, and through several centuries - much longer and further than I thought.

They first review the original claim from the 1960s, and weigh its influence. Then they take the reader on a tour of the relatives of George III
Jun 21, 2016 Terence rated it it was amazing
This book gave me bad dreams for a couple of nights. But it is fantastic! At some level, the central theme of the book offered me a viable definition of Hell: you are granted one wish, and you must then live with the consequences. So, your wish is to become the King of England; and the consequences are that you inherit the genetic malady of variegated porphyria. As a result, you must suffer the intermittently horrendous agonies of George III. This book is part detective story, part scientific tr ...more
Oct 09, 2013 LillyBooks rated it liked it
This book was mentioned in another book I read recently, so of course my interest in forensic medicine was piqued. However, I'm torn on the rating for this book. It deserves five stars because it accomplishes what it sets out to do in a clear, orderly fashion: prove the theory that porphyria is not only what caused the madness of King George III but that it also continues to runs through the genes of the current royal houses of Europe. But on a pure enjoyment level I can only give it three stars ...more
Mar 16, 2009 Petra rated it really liked it
An intriguing looke at a possible heriditary disease within the Royal Family. The researchers follow written records, some modern medical records and DNA analysis to prove their point, some of which is near impossible due to the "ancientness" of the records, lack of medical knowledge, etc. However, very compelling and interesting. If true, History could have been influenced greatly by an hereditary disease within a family with extreme power over events. The book starts it's research with "mad" K ...more
Aug 20, 2010 Leorah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating read. I went to bed every evening with both my books in hand and told myself that I would a bit of Rohl's book before moving on to the Conroy. I couldn't have been more wrong: once I started reading the Purple Secret, I couldn't put it down. In, parts the microbiology and genetics explanations were a bit difficult to understand, but the main idea they supported was not. I'm off to read Rohl's other book, The Kaiser and His Court.
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John C. G. Röhl (born 31 May 1938) is a British historian mostly known for his expertise of the German Kaiser Wilhelm the second.

Originally from London, England, Röhl taught in Germany at the University of Hamburg and at the University of Freiburg. In 1964 he became a professor of European history at the University of Sussex, where he was given emeritus status in 1999.
More about John C.G. Röhl...

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