Well researched, readable, but biased in favor of Raleigh. The author mentions Raleigh's crimes, but too often presents them as justified. On page 25,Well researched, readable, but biased in favor of Raleigh. The author mentions Raleigh's crimes, but too often presents them as justified. On page 25, "The Irish, being rebels, were hanged regardless of sex." On page 150, "Berreo was not at all offended by the burning of the colonies and the killing of the soldiers. He would have treated Raleigh in the same manner if their positions had been reversed." Raleigh was a ruthless butcher; this book admires and excuses him.
But there is a lot of history here. Said the author, "A life of Walter Raleigh inevitably is a history of England in Raleigh's time, for the man had something to do with practically every event of importance: social, military, naval, or political, while he was at court." Thus, an eventful history of an eventful life....more
Hetty Green was said to be the richest woman in America, and the stingiest. This is her bizarre life story, well researched from books, newspaper andHetty Green was said to be the richest woman in America, and the stingiest. This is her bizarre life story, well researched from books, newspaper and magazine accounts, interviews, letters, court and financial records, etc. Some of the dialogue may be improvised, but on the whole, a fact-based book with a solid historical backdrop. No particular bias. Hetty Green comes across as a suitable case for treatment, but the facts speak for themselves. Her eccentricities, however exaggerated by rumor, were real. This book does a good job of separating fact from rumor. Illustrated with family photos. No index or bibliography. ...more
The premise of this book is that history can be fun, when viewed through the lives of the jokers who made it. Sure it can be boring in the abstract, wThe premise of this book is that history can be fun, when viewed through the lives of the jokers who made it. Sure it can be boring in the abstract, when seen in terms of political factions or economic systems, of territorial boundaries or dates or battles; but on the human level, the up-close and personal level, it becomes a cavalcade of psychological case histories. Because historical personages were real people, as nutty as the rest of us. To understand them is to understand the world they created. Is there a more entertaining way to learn history? This is nonfiction, fact-based satire. Based on real facts, it is real history. These personages took part in real historical events: the Renaissance, the French Revolution, the Petticoat War, the Dreadful Decade, the porkless Thursdays of World War I. Lots of history here, between the laughs. As Edgar Johnson said, "Satire is enjoyable compensation for being forced to think."
Printed in easy-to-read 12 pt. type for your reading pleasure. More than fifty illustrations. With footnotes that are admittedly unnecessary, but how could we do without them? Guaranteed free of those annoying split infinitives, misplaced modifiers, and dangling participles. No cheap puns. Well, OK, a few, but hardly any. Released in an updated third edition in April 2012. Recommended to readers who think history is boring. It doesn't have to be! Not recommended to grumps and grouches who have no sense of humor.
Table of Contents
I. Part One: Religious Wackos 1. The Borgias 2. The Spanish Inquisition 3. Oliver Cromwell 4. Anthony Comstock
II. Part Two: Damyanks 1. Andrew Jackson 2. U. S. Grant 3. Woodrow Wilson 4. William Randolph Hearst
III. Part Three: Bloodsuckers 1. Ivan the Terrible 2. Pirates 3. Boss Tweed 4. John D. Rockefeller
IV. Part Four: Jacks and Queens 1. Sir Walter Ralegh 2. Marie Antoinette 3. Bismarck 4. Queen Victoria
V. Part Five: Imperialist Warmongers 1. Hernan Cortes 2. Robert Clive 3. Napoleon Bonaparte 4. Cecil Rhodes
VI. Part Six: Popular Hate Figures 1. Kaiser Wilhelm II 2. Benito Mussolini 3. Adolf Hitler 4. Francisco Franco
VII. Part Seven: Weirdos and Worse 1. Gilles de Rais 2. Casanova 3. Hetty Green 4. Rasputin
This book presents Marie Antoinette as a kindhearted and generous person. It sympathizes with her difficulties in a foreign and not-so-friendly court.This book presents Marie Antoinette as a kindhearted and generous person. It sympathizes with her difficulties in a foreign and not-so-friendly court. But it also acknowledges her frivolity, her extravagant lifestyle, and her irresponsible spending. In Chapter 22 it calls her stupid and arrogant, “a spoilt, capricious woman, who always acted on impulse and never stopped to reason.”
There is some new material here. In addition to public archives in Vienna and Paris, the author accessed many private archives, diaries, and letters, including the queen's correspondence with her mother and her brother, and her secret love letters with Count Axel Fersen. The reader is treated to an occasional ribald ditty from the streets of Paris or Versailles.
A good introduction to Marie Antoinette, especially her earlier years, but not necessarily to the politics that surrounded her. There are better sources for the political context. A big book, thorough and well researched. Indexed and illustrated. ...more