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A Brief History of British Kings & Queens
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A Brief History of British Kings & Queens

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  269 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
A reference on British royalty, from the legendary King Alfred the Great onwards, including the monarchies of England, Scotland, Wales and the United Kingdom over a thousand years. Portraits are woven into a history of division and eventual union of the British Isles -and even the royals we think most familiar are shown in a sometimes surprising light. This paperback, a re ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 10th 2002 by Robinson Publishing (first published 1998)
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the Lady of the Possums
I'm gonna start by saying that I had pretty high hopes for this book. I was not necessarly expecting it to be the most engaging reading in my life (those sort of books are often a little dry) but I thought that it would be a good introduction to british history, a book that I could recommend to people wishing to start studying this subject. I was wrong and I'm certainly not gonna recommend this book to anyone.

I'm not an expert on every single sovereign that ever ruled in England, Scotland or Wa
Nov 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Easily the best, most accesible and easily readable book on not just the history of the British monarchy but to a certain extent the country itself and how each influenced the other.

I've read books on the same subject in the past but they have preferred to just resort to reciting by rote all the agreed information and it feeling like one big list.
I'll be honest, the post Tudor world has never interested me so I didn't read that section but what I read up to there was remarkably well elucidated a
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wales, ireland, scotland
A great primer on the entire history of British kings and queens. A few minor points I disagreed with the author on, but also enlightening for the later periods of the monarchy, which I am less familiar with. Definitely a good reference book! Would have liked an inclusion of Irish monarchs, as was presented for Scotland and Wales, but I suppose that's a whole other book, haha.
Excellent reference book of British history. Good ground point for people who have no idea about the general timeline of British history, and quite readable all the way through. It contains a number of black and white reproductions of paintings of various monarchs, which do not print well and were fairly pointless to the text. It does not contain maps, which would have been a much more useful inclusion, particularly as country borders were frequently changing.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A little more information than I've gotten from similar themed books. Kudos!
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
With the rich, long history of Britain, it's a credit to any writer or historian who takes on the task of thoroughly researching the topic. This book explores the vast roots of English history, beginning with commentary of the region before the birth of Christ. From Queen Boadicea of the ancient Brits who fought against the tyranny of Roman occupation right up to the present Queen, this book does more than an admirable job of explaining the origins of the resilient, defiant nature of the inhabit ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and it was interesting to find out more about the country before all the well known kings and queens. I really enjoyed reading about George VI and thought he was super brave. The only thing that knocked the book down for me was after queen Elizabeth II it went back to explain what had happened with the land in the past and give a list of all known rulers which was a bit gardgoing and overly factual after the rest of the book. Had it been combined it probably would of b ...more
Having not grown up in the UK, I feel my knowledge of its history is somewhat lacking (I feel this most particularly while watching quiz shows). Farbeit for me to claim that history begins and ends with who was on the throne, but it's a decent start and you pick up a lot of major happenings along the way.
This is an impressive, detailed tome that has taught me a lot, caused me to raise my eyebrows a number of times, and will no doubt serve as a useful reference work for years to come. Just two ja
Ericy Yine
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: october
This book is about the leaders of Britain, from when the Celts first came to the islands to Modern Britain, about all the known information on these kings or queens, in detail, like the birth and death dates, what they did, whom they married, etc. It talks about the major headstones of their lives, and some information never seen before.

I picked up this book after reading A Brief History of: 1917 Russia's Year of Revolution, and found that the book is just as detailed as the 1917 book. I finishe
Nov 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first word that comes to mind when reviewing this book is this: Comprehensive.

Every single monarch in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales that was ever known about, is in this book. The amount of information it feeds is almost exhausting. Near the end I was like "MORE monarchs?!" there has been so, so many you can't even begin to imagine.

Some, like Arthur, are myths based on factual events, or are only mentioned in one or two sources. There are so many things we will never know because of
Nicole Yovanoff
it was a pretty dry read at first and picked up a little. A bit of a problem for a person not familiar with the geography of Great Britain since I do not really know where many of the locations that they speak of. Sussex, Kent, Cornwall mean nothing to me just as people of the UK would not know Flin Flon, Moose Jaw, Sherebrooke (Nova Scotia or Quebec). Other than that, good information and interesting read.
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, you certainly do get what the title advertises with this one! I would have liked more backround information on many of the people and events referenced throughout. It probably doesn't help that I'm not a Brit, and therefore haven't been raised on British history in as much detail as was the intended audience of this book.

Very good overview, though, and good to have on hand to refresh memory of what, say, Henry II was known for, other than, say, Thomas Beckett's death.
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-history
This author assumes that the reader lives in the UK and you happen to know where all the regions are located. The interesting thing though is that he covers all monarchs from 100 BC and all regions, but I ended up just skipping all those parts as I couldn't pronounce the names or the places (especially the welsh names how the heck to do you say "ap"?). Also he covers each one so quickly you can't even get the chronology straight in your head. The book does have good geneological tables though.
Rebecca Curtis
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I have ready many a history of the royalty of England and GB but this one was full of information and very easy to read, I have had this book sitting on my shelf for way too long and it made for a very fun travel read. I find that no matter how much I think I already know about the monarchs of GB that I can always learn more and in this book I did. I recommend it to anyone who is not wanting too many details but a concise overview.
Yu Chen
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got the book at the Heathrow Airport and used it as a guide book during my trip to Glasgow and London.

It helped a lot while i was trying to figure out all their kings and queens with so few choices of names. haha

I was able to finish the book by the end of the week-long trip, mission impossible with two kids tagging along on any of my trips now. :)
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent reading!! Loads of information, sometimes a bit confusing, but absolutely interesting.
I remember the first time I saw this book, it was at the souvenirs area in Hampton Court. Although I thought about buying it I didn't, but after a couple of months I decided to order it and I'm really glad I did it.
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Another useful and very readable treasure trove of information. However, it doesn't quite match up to its Antonia Fraser-edited counterpart volume, because of (1) a few odd choices in the chronological entries, and (2) the lack of punchy writing styles that Ms. Fraser was able to collect for her own volume.
Graeme Stuart Waymark
Just about exactly what I wanted in a reference book on this subject. Although not read in its entirety, I have read enough for my purposes at present and will continue to use it in the future as demands are made on me to better comprehend the continuance and chronology of the British Royals.
Marylu Sanok
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs only
Recommended to Marylu by: research
Shelves: history
This book was for study on only certain kings and queens as a follow up to some other books I have read on English kings and queens.

The data was concise and well organized and had lists of topics I had not seen before.
Sarah Wagner
A good reference source for a brief overview of Britain's monarchs, including Welsh and Scottish rulers as well as the more famous English ones. This volume also includes maps and genealogical tables for the reader's reference. Not much in-depth information, but a good reference book.
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of the British monarchy, handy reference material if one has a future query
Jun 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
It's not brief enough!
Larry Farnsworth
A great help when tracing geneology
Amy Cotterman
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Know your monarchs .. you might be on Jeopardy!
Christopher Green
Really good basic reference
K.M. Ellis
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My "go to" book for everything.
Jacinta Hoare
Concise reference book - I think I will refer to this again in the event I forget the order of the succession.
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as research for a book of my own. It was really interesting. Now that I think about it...I should really get started on that book.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good reference book.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-owned
An excellent overview of nearly a thousand years of the British monarchy. A wonderful and interesting read! I'm glad I read it before I went to London, that's for sure!
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Michael Raymond Donald Ashley is the author and editor of over sixty books that in total have sold over a million copies worldwide. He lives in Chatham, Kent.
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