A very thorough look at Tsar Alexander III and his private and political life. While the sections on his childhood, time as tsarevich, and parts of hiA very thorough look at Tsar Alexander III and his private and political life. While the sections on his childhood, time as tsarevich, and parts of his time as tsar -- mostly the accident at Borki, and his death, the political sections fall flat and are a chore to read. Best for those -very- interested in Romanov history. Four stars overall.
Finally, getting the review up for this one! A very interesting, and so far4 for me, the best book of the recent batch about Princess Louise, fourth dFinally, getting the review up for this one! A very interesting, and so far4 for me, the best book of the recent batch about Princess Louise, fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. I like how that the author focused on Louise's artistic abilities and patronage, and not quite so much on the various rumours about an illegitimate child, various lovers, and the other sorts of tabloid fodder. It's very readable, well-researched and interesting right up to the end. Four stars overall, and a recommendation.
So far this is the best book that I have read about King Edward VII of Great Britain. Starting with his birth, and the very complicated relationship tSo far this is the best book that I have read about King Edward VII of Great Britain. Starting with his birth, and the very complicated relationship that he had with his parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Living a childhood of isolation and high pressure, Bertie found relief in partying hard, the social whirl, travel and especially pretty women. His mistresses were notorious, with one that landed him in a divorce court. But he was lucky enough to marry a beautiful woman, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who was able to provide him with a loving home and children. Unfortunately she couldn't keep him from his mistresses. His first sexual adventure would cause a rift with his mother that was permanent, for his father had exploded with rage when the news came out -- and died less than a month later. But not only was Bertie was a scandal, he was also charming, perceptive, and a quick learner. By the time he became King in 1901, he was an able negotiator and was able to forge alliances with France and Great Britain. This was a fine read, with plenty of analysis and insights. Great for fans of British history or royalty. Five stars overall.
When I heard about this book, I was determined to read it. But before I delved into it, I watched the National Geographic special, and one of the talkWhen I heard about this book, I was determined to read it. But before I delved into it, I watched the National Geographic special, and one of the talking heads, Philippa Langley, got on my nerves with her hovering and generally being an annoyance to everyone involved. But the name didn't really register until I sat down and started reading the book, and I figured out that the presenter and the author were one and same. Wherein lays the trouble with this book. Nearly three hundred pages of gushing fangirling from Langley that goes into all about raising money, getting permission to dig, and generally being a pest, while all the time swooning over poor Richard's bones. Then there's Michael Jones narrative, which thankfully, saves this rather forgettable history. Jones looks at the historical facts of Richard III and his family, Henry Tudor, and Shakespeare's version, among others. For those of you out there who like history, if you can overlook Langley's verbosity, it should work. However, despite the maps and colour photos, it's not enough to save this from an average, ordinary blah book dumbed down for the masses. Only somewhat recommended.
Let's face it, the world went crazy this year with the news of the impending birth of the UK's newest royal -- HRH Prince George of Cambridge, the firLet's face it, the world went crazy this year with the news of the impending birth of the UK's newest royal -- HRH Prince George of Cambridge, the first child of Prince William and his Duchess Kate. A good bit of it was on the silly side, but I do tend to gravitate towards books on the royals, and one publisher that I do trust is The Royal Collection Trust, the keepers of all the art, artifacts, photographs and what-have-you, and able to draw on some very good historians to craft their volumes.
This volume traces the young royals of the last two or so centuries, starting with Queen Victoria (and the greatest baby derby in history), Kings Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI, Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs -- Princes Charles, William and now, George. Some of the more enchanting objects are baby shoes, a collection of rattles, sketches and paintings, and photographs. Stories about unruly children -- Queen Victoria's brood of nine seem particularly inclined to mischief -- and at times, sheer adorableness all culminate with Prince George's birth.
A very attractive and informative book on The Queen's coronation in 1953 and the massive preparations that went into it. It's the preparations that IA very attractive and informative book on The Queen's coronation in 1953 and the massive preparations that went into it. It's the preparations that I found to be the most interesting -- from the designs of Norman Hartnell for the Queen's gown, and discovering that he also designed the gowns for other ladies of the royal family, and the maids-of-honour attending the queen. All of the work and materials for the clothing were either grown (in case of the silk for the gowns and robes), and created in the United Kingdom.One very charming touch was the unique invitation made for Prince Charles. There's also the planning of the route the coronation procession would take -- a scale model of London was built for that, photos of the procession itself, and quite a few ancedotes about the coronation. For those of us out there who are royalty fans this book is jammed full of art and photographs, and explains all of the various traditions and ceremonies that surround the formal coronation of a British Queen or King. All in all, this one gets five stars.