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Gimson’s Kings and Queens: Brief Lives of the Forty Monarchs since 1066

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  17 reviews
'Totally gripping - a factually accurate version of 1066 And All That' - Boris Johnson

Gimson’s Kings and Queens whirls us through the lives of our monarchs - from 1066 and William the Conqueror right up to Queen Elizabeth II and the present-day - to tell a tale of bastardy, courage, conquest, brutality, vanity, vulgarity, corruption, anarchy, absenteeism, piety, nobility,
Kindle Edition, 258 pages
Published August 20th 2015 by Vintage Digital
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Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having learnt nothing about the monarchy at school (in Texas, we focused on Texas history, surprise surprise), I was seeking a book to provide an accessible and historically accurate history of our kings and queens. This book filled that role ideally. I come out of it more knowledgeable than when I went in, with a top level understanding of the thread that spun the English, British, and European monarchies together and their impact on our everyday lives. Tidbits of facts will be remembered, such ...more
Helene Harrison
Review - A very interesting short history of the English monarchy. What really attracted me to this particular history when I flicked through it in the shop was the caricatures that top each monarch's personal history. It really gives a sense of the characters of the people behind the monarchs and what their most memorable characteristics were. The history itself is quite detailed for such a short book, and covers all the major points for each monarch. The only addition I can think of is a ...more
Mike Hall
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Good, but I did not like it as much as his Brief Lives of Prime Ministers. Occasionally he mistakenly strayed into "1066 and All That" territory, a humorous take on British History. The problem is that condensing an average reign of 24 years with events leading up to that reign is difficult in an average of 7 pages per Monarch. But like the "Prime Minister" book it is a good quick reference.
It amazes me that the Monarchy made it through the reigns of King George I-IV all either disinterested or
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
An absolutely first-rate, modern and upbeat interpretation of the British Monarchy and its evolution; it showcases a brief history of each monarch and their virtues and vices. It also serves well as another attempt at explaining the key to the Monarchy’s survival and its success in pushing through even the most testing times such as the interregnum and the abdication of Edward VIII. I hope it will serve me as a worthy source in writing my dissertation.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I started out getting very cross when he seemed to present speculation as solid fact - I don't think it's certain how Robert of Normandy met William the Conqueror's mother - but it settled down into an entertaining and clear canter through British History. I took this out of the library, and liked it so much I bought a copy. High praise!
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short but good

I have very much enjoyed Mr Gimsons lives of English and British monarchs since 1066 , it gives the main points in a readable and entertaining way of the 40 since William the Conqueror
Emma Dargue
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Good overview of the royalty of Great Britain and Ireland. There were a few scenarios and facts that I didn't particularly know about. Interesting for someone who maybe doesn't know a lot about UK history of kings and queens.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely gift from a special friend, an informative and interesting narrative with funny caricatures
As excellent as expected, despite reading widely on this subject, it's great to have a concise, hugely enjoyable, entertaining and intelligent book on the subject.
Catherine Beer
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exactly what I was looking for. Very short summary of each king and queen since 1066. Quite funny in places.
Helen Leecy
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been really enjoying watching Victoria the past couple of weeks and have recently started watching The Tudors which follows Henry VIII. I find myself looking up facts whilst watching to see how accurate the programmes are, but the main thing I look up is who proceeded and succeeded each monarch. What relation was everyone to everyone? I came across this book which detailed all the monarchs in order of succession from 1066 up to our current Queen, Elisabeth II. So, I thought it would be the ...more
Peter Thurley
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A pretty great primer on the English monarchs from William the Conqueror through Elizabeth II. Entertaining, it's a pretty easy read; would be great learning material for an eager pre-teen.
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a great and easy red for those who want a quick introduction to British history and the lives of some truly fascinating and important historic people. It's factual and correct, although a bit over the top royalist when it comes to the twentieth century.
A short intro to monarchs and their contribution to history and world events, and how it has formed our current day.
Robert C Mayho
Aug 30, 2016 rated it liked it
An excellent Christmas present from my better half - I am hopeless on English history and this very well written and witty primer on the monarchy certainly leaves you with an urge to learn more
A light, entertaining romp through a few hundred years of English royal history. The illustrations of each monarch were delightful.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great little book, informative but not boring as some history books can be!
Michael Ritchie
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful insight into 40 of the strangest, wildest, foulest, wisest, and most important figures in British history. Forty bums on the throne, forty incredible tales.
Katie Budd
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“The first great writer of English, Geoffrey Chaucer, was born in about 1343, the son of a London vintner, and early in life found employment at court, where he married a lady-in-waiting to the queen and in 1374 received from the king exactly the encouragement an author needs, namely "a gallon of wine daily for the rest of his life.” 0 likes
“No English monarch has treated those close to him with such ruthlessness as Henry VIII. The older he got, the more often he behaved like a petulant, self-obsessed teenager with a loaded revolver.” 0 likes
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