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Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
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Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,604 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
A long-overdue and dramatic reinterpretation of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots by one of the leading historians at work today.

She was crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months of age, and Queen of France at sixteen years; at eighteen she ascended the throne that was her birthright and began ruling one of the most fractious courts in Europe, riven by religious conflict and
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published April 7th 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2004)
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Alice Poon
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, history
I've given this book 5 full stars. It took me an inordinate amount of time to finish it due to the humongous cast of characters and the tangled relationships that the Tudor and Stuart family trees exhibit. Now that the reading is done, I can say that I’m truly impressed by this luminous, expertly researched biography of the gracious, witty, brave and ill-fated Scottish Queen, from whom every subsequent British ruler has been descended.

Mary Stuart was crowned Queen of Scotland when she was less t
To say this was a sympathetic biography of Mary Queen of Scots would do an injustice to the word sympathetic. I hate to use the word hagiography but this is as close as it gets.

The author is a specialist in Tudor history and is to be respected but I have come away from this very readable book, and I mean very readable, profoundly confused. He has, in my opinion, let his deep research into the subject cloud his judgement in the presentation of the biography. His sympathy spoils the entire narrat
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Interesting insight on what Mary was really like but the author is VERY biased in her favour and bends over backwards to show her in a favourable light, often to the detriment of others. I wonder how he feels about the recent revelations by medical historians that for it to be apparent that Mary had miscarried Bothwell's twins (rather than a single baby), she must have been at least five months pregnant - 16th century medicine would not have been able to discern twin foetuses before that stage. ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book but found it difficult not to be furious with Mary's stupidity and short-sightedness, not to mention her vanity which allowed her to be easily led by similarly vain and ambitious men. Guy perhaps is a little in love with Mary and the book lacks incisiveness and impartiality because of it but it's still one of the best biographies I've read.
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mary, Queen of Scots, doesn’t have the best reputation. Said to have ruled with her heart rather than her head; Mary Stuart was surrounded by drama, heartbreak, forced to abdicate her throne, and eventually beheaded after being held captive in England. Yet, there is much to credit Mary that many people overlook. Historian John Guy attempts to rehabilitate this infamous woman in, “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart”.

Guy presents “Queen of Scots” as a full-fledged biography beginning wi
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone more interested in hagiography than the truth
Shelves: history
Good read but too biased and tries to present Mary as a far better person than the evidence suggests she could possibly have been.

What are we to think of a woman who, when the husband she loathes is murdered, gives his horse and some of his clothes to the man EVERYONE says is the killer?

What should we think when she refuses to allow more than a "show" trial at which the court is surrounded by armed men employed by the defendant, who threatens to kill anyone who speaks out of turn?

What should
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Mary Queen of Scots, when she's not being muddled up with Mary Tudor, is generally known as a scandalous Queen. She is the emotional, flighty counterpart to Elizabeth I's steely calculation. John Guy does a wonderful job of rubbishing this stereotypical view.

He is obviously a fan of Mary and does his best to show the other, lesser known facets of her character. Unlike her English cousin, Mary became the Queen of Scotland when she was only six days old and she left Scotland to marry the French Da
Mari Biella
Centuries after her execution, Mary Queen of Scots remains one of the most divisive and enigmatic figures in British history. Was she manipulated and betrayed by those around her? Or was she conniving, untrustworthy, and perhaps even a party to the murder of her own husband?

Those wanting to find out the truth (insofar as “the truth” can be recovered after so much time) could do far worse than to read John Guy’s scholarly, masterful biography. Guy presents Mary as a sympathetic, generous woman wh
Margaret Sankey
Supposedly a revisionist view of Mary Stuart with new information that sets her decisions in a better light...I read it hoping for this and came to the conclusion that nope, she's still an idiot. A better documented idiot, but still an idiot.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary was in my estimation was still a nitwit, but I enjoyed this book immensely.
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John Guy is recognised as one of Britain's most exciting and scholarly historians, bringing the past to life with the written word and on the broadcast media with accomplished ease. He's a very modern face of history.

His ability for first class story-telling and books that read as thrillingly as a detective story makes John Guy a Chandleresque writer of the history world. Guy hunts down facts with
More about John Guy...