What a fabulous read! I have been waiting for a book to come out that features the Medici's. This book is so well written and well researched that I aWhat a fabulous read! I have been waiting for a book to come out that features the Medici's. This book is so well written and well researched that I am having a difficult time putting it down. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Italian politics during this fascinating period of history. It's a fine read too for a look at the role that well born, educated women of the time had in their society - and how mcuh their lives depended on the men around them. I love this book!...more
I just got David Baldwin's "Elizabeth Woodville" from the library through inter-library loan. I am thoroughly enjoying it! Lots of great genealogy infI just got David Baldwin's "Elizabeth Woodville" from the library through inter-library loan. I am thoroughly enjoying it! Lots of great genealogy information that helps to sort out some of the complicated inter-related family lines. Mr. Baldwin also introduces lots of direct quotes from relevant documents that are, generally speaking, easier to read then I had thought they would be. Interesting to see how the language has morphed since then. Excellent book for anyone interested in the realities of Elizabeth's life. What a woman she must have been!...more
I always eagerly await the release of any book written by Alison Weir - both her fictional works as well as her historical, always well researched, boI always eagerly await the release of any book written by Alison Weir - both her fictional works as well as her historical, always well researched, books never fail to please. I am happy to be able to say that "The Lady In The Tower" has been no exception! I began to read it as soon as I got my hands on it and enjoyed this book all of the way through.
I have long believed that Henry VIII was a narcissistic megalomaniac - especially in the way that he treated Anne Boleyn. Despite whatever faults Anne may have had, Henry quite literally,changed the course of history in order to make Anne his Queen. In this very well researched book, Ms. Weir postulates that it was, in fact, Thomas Cromwell, not King Henry himself, who was behind the allegations made against Anne that resulted in her death. This books covers a very small window in time - 1536- and it has been Ms. Weir's task to sift through voluminous, and sometimes very conflicting, historical accounts, reports & letters to formulate her opinion that Thomas Cromwell was the cause of Anne's meteoric fall from Henry's good graces. In referencing Anne Boleyn's inability to carry a second child, the longed for son & heir, to full term, Ms. Weir postulates a very likely theory that Anne's pregnancies were complicated by the RH negative antibody. There would have been no treatment let alone understanding for this sort of complication at this time and the theory goes a long way as an explanation for the still born son who, in effect, sealed Anne's fate.
Ms. Wier has managed to make what really amounts to 19 days - from sham trial to execution - an engrossing read that will appeal to history lovers in general and, most especially, to those of us of thrive on Tudor and Elizabethan history. The wait for this book was worth it. I do highly recommend this book!
I loved this book! I ordered it from Britain before it's US release because I did not want to wait (check out the Book Depository or Amazon UK when yoI loved this book! I ordered it from Britain before it's US release because I did not want to wait (check out the Book Depository or Amazon UK when you simply can't wait for a US release of a book ). This cover is the British edition cover. I liked it better so I used it here - you can see the US cover now on any book seller’s site! I think this is just about my favorite book about Elizabeth I. It's jam packed with small details and information about Elizabeth that are most often overlooked by many authors who seem to concentrate on her relationships with men and her political acumen.
This book is about Elizabeth I - the queen who has always captured my imagination and has held my interest. I wish I could time travel so that I could hear her voice - see her walk. No - not yet possible! I think that Elizabeth was so much more than we can ever know. I think she was, most likely rather officious and rude to many of her ladies and maids in waiting - but charming and gregarious when handsome men were involved! That being said said Elizabeth was an amazing female ruler in a time when it was anathema for a country to have such a strong, apt, female leader! This book is about the women in Elizabeth's close circle of trusted female confidants. It's an aspect of Elizabeth's life - a large aspect of her life, that is often overlooked in favor of the larger issues of Elizabeth's life. The book is broken into sections that cover, her mother, Anne Boleyn, her sister, Mary, her step-mothers, Jane, Catherine and Katherine, her governesses, ladies in waiting, cousins, men and the travails of being a female ruler in a country that believed no female could effective rule by herself. Although this edition was 392 pages of relatively small print it flashed by like a novel - I could not put it down!
Ms. Borman's style is easy to read but she in no way "dumbs down" the information. I am off to order her first book now - if I can find one that I can afford that is! " Henrietta Howard: King's Mistress. Queen's Servant". If you love history I think you too will love this book! No disappointment here !
When I heard that Tracy Borman was releasing a new title I had to pre-order it right away. I has so enjoyed her earlier work , "Elizabeth's Women" (IWhen I heard that Tracy Borman was releasing a new title I had to pre-order it right away. I has so enjoyed her earlier work , "Elizabeth's Women" (I ordered if from Amazon UK so that I would not have to wait for the US release!) that I had high hopes for "Wife of The Conqueror" - and I was, happily, not disappointed!
Many of us have read a book about William , or at least know about who he was and what his claims to fame are, but few of us know much about his Queen, the very first Queen of England, Matilda, who wielded as much power as any women of the time, acting as regent in Normandy whilst William was about the business of conquering England. Matilda was the backbone of her family and she is largely responsible for fostering an environment of understanding and cooperation after William conquered England, deflecting tensions and skirmishes with a deft hand.
Ms. Borman has sifted through "historical artifacts and documents" to compile an excellent, highly enjoyable, biography of this truly unique women. Matilda was diminutive at 4 feet 2 inches tall but she had the intellect and courage of any man of her time.
From the jacket: "...this mother of 9, including four sons who went on to inherit William's French and English dominions, confounded the traditional views of women in medieval society by seizing the reins of power whenever she had the chance, directing her husband's policy, and at times flagrantly disobeying his orders..."
I think that Ms. Borman has the ability to sift through historical documents and collate the information - presenting a biography that is at once both easy to read as well as packed with significant historical notes. The reader gets a clear image of the people and the times. The reader absorbs the history lessons easily because the book is so well written.
I believe that this book will delight anglophiles, history buffs and biography readers, but it may also well hold the interest of people who are primarily historical fiction readers - because the book reads so well. Yes! I highly recommend this book. Bravo Ms. Borman!
I was browsing the "new non-fiction" stacks at the library when I discovered this book. I took it home not really expecting much since the time of FreI was browsing the "new non-fiction" stacks at the library when I discovered this book. I took it home not really expecting much since the time of French Revolution, as tumultuous as it was, is not really "my" taste in historical readings.
Imagine my surprise when I could not put this book down! It's a fascinating look at the French Revolution and the demise of the French Monarchy from the view of Marie Antoinette's hairdresser, Leonard Autie.
I have read my share of historical accounts of the last days of the Monarchy in France, and I have read even more about the life and death of Marie Antoinette, but this book managed to fill in some details that I had never known, and I learned a lot that I had not previously known. This book provides fascinating historical details that always manage to provide a broader picture of a particular time in history.
Leonard arrived in Paris in 1769 with nothing in hand except his "magical comb", a few francs and his ambition. He swiftly became the queen's hairdresser, hobnobbing with the powerful nobles of the land. In the years that followed his arrival as a penniless coiffeur, Leonard even had hopes of becoming ennobled himself.
It was Leonard who developed those towering head dresses that always seem to be a part of my collective image of Marie Antoinette. As I looked through the plentiful illustrations of this book (something I truly appreciated) I noticed that these outrageous head dresses manage to balance the equally outrageous fashions of the era, something that I had never considered before. Leonard became fast friends with the Queen's milliner and dress maker, Rose Bertin. I wonder if they planned it all in advance? The "too-wide-to-go-through-a-door" hoops in the dress in sync with the "too-tall-to-go-through-a-door" hair styles!
I had not known that there were actually three royal hairdressers named Leonard (nor had I had ever known the name of the person who created these towering hair styles for that matter). Leonard had also employed his relatives and all three were known as 'Leonard'. I had not known that one of these Leonard's actually had a hand to play in the Royal family's disastrous attempt to flee Paris. The book goes into some very interesting detail about the multiple calamities that doomed this chance at safety, there were so many things that went wrong with the planned escape. If even one of these things had gone right history might well have played out so much differently. The flight of the Royal family is one detail that I had, heretofore, not paid too much attention to, but I found that these details were riveting as I read this book.
This book is filled to the brim with fascinating, little known, information that is, obviously, the product of many long hours of meticulous fact finding and precise historical documentation.
I have often wondered what I would have done had been alive during either the American or the French revolutions. In the past I thought that I might have been more of a Monarchist, but after reading this book I think that I underestimated the reckless expenditures of the royals in France with the destitution of the multitudes. This was a French storm that had been brewing for a long time; similar, but also quite different, from the American Revolution. In hindsight it seems as if these tragedies were almost fated to happen.
The Royals knew no other life but that of wealth and privilege. They thought of money as an endless stream that procured their pleasures and pomp, while the general citizens knew only lives of dire, desperate, poverty that left many dead of hunger. The time of the French Revolution was a flood that washed away the foundations of every belief that had once been known as the law. By the time the Royals knew the extent of the problem it was already too late I think.
This book really helped me to see the Revolution in a very different light than I had previously. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it written in a very 'readable' style. As I said, I could not put it down!...more
I found this to be an enjoyable, eminently readable biography of Josephine. She was a fashionista, wife to one of the worlds most notable military menI found this to be an enjoyable, eminently readable biography of Josephine. She was a fashionista, wife to one of the worlds most notable military men, Napolean Bonaparte.
From her proud but humble beginnings to her rise the ultimate I. Status and privilege, Josephine's life was something of a rags to riches story that was filled with struggles, intrigues and true grit. She was a woman with heart, ambitions and desires who rose to the rarified heights of society and privilege.
Her life with Napoleon was rife with ups and downs, and the book affords a rare glimpse into his life behind the scenes, but the focus of the book remains on Josephine and how she managed to live with this brilliant but very difficult man. Josephine's fall from grace is written with sensitivity and understanding.
I learned quite a bit from reading this excellent book...and I thoroughly enjoyed it!...more
i had been wanting to read this book for some time and was delighted when my library called to say that it ready for pick up. I have to agree with a ri had been wanting to read this book for some time and was delighted when my library called to say that it ready for pick up. I have to agree with a reviewer who said that the title is a bit misleading. The book is about the extraordinary story of this painting being lost and found again rather than about the actual creation of the painting itself. Gustav Klimt has been one of my favprite artists for most of my life and I was eager to read more about his life and this mesmerizing painting. Perhaps I should have gotten a Klimt biography instead since he dies early in the book- as does the subject of the painting Adele Bloch-Bauer.
That being said what I found in this book was quite a lot more. I learned so much about Vienna's rich history, about the thriving, fantastic Jewish society in Vienna, about artists, writers and musicians of the era and, less happily, about the horrors surrounding Hitler's takeover of this magical city.
I have not read much about WWII. I tend to prefer history that goes up to pre-WWI and I also stay away from WWII history because, like a horse with blinders on, I truly dislike reading about the horrors wrought by Hitler and his crews of terror mongers. I can never forget these horrors and it makes my heart cry whenever I get anywhere near this time in history. This book did, howver, give me a very good look into the devastation that the Hitler regime caused in Vienna as it decimated the vibrant Jewish community there. I am wiser for having read this book.
Of course, the story of Klimt's beautiful painting is recounted throughout the book as we follow the lives and stories of the Bloch-Bauer family and the hunt for the painting. It's a riveting story. In my opinion this book is very well reserched and well written. I looked forward to all my reading time and I learned a lot along the way. That's what I hope for in a non-fiction read. ...more