Book picks similar to
1666: Plague, War, and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal
The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
Ian Mortimer - 2008
This text sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking the reader to the Middle Ages, and showing everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture.
A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? 3500 BC-AD 1603
Simon Schama - 2000
Schama, the author of the highly acclaimed Citizens and The Embarrassment of Riches, is one of the most popular and celebrated historians of our day, and in this magnificent work he brings history to dramatic life with a wealth of stories and vivid, colorful detail, reanimating familiar figures and events and drawing them skillfully into a powerful and compelling narrative. Schama's perspective moves from the birth of civilization to the Norman Conquest; through the religious wars and turbulance of the Middle Ages to the sovereignties of Henry II, Richard I and King John; through the outbreak of the Black Death, which destroyed nearly half of Europe's population, through the reign of Edward I and the growth of national identity in Wales and Scotland, to the intricate conflicts of the Tudors and the clash between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Driven by the drama of the stories themselves but exploring at the same time a network of interconnected themes--the formation of a nation state, the cyclical nature of power, the struggles between the oppressors and the oppressed--this is a superbly readable and illuminating account of a great nation, and its extraordinary history.
The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England
Dan Jones - 2012
In this epic history, Dan Jones vividly resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world. We meet the captivating Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; her son, Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and King John, a tyrant who was forced to sign Magna Carta, which formed the basis of our own Bill of Rights. This is the era of chivalry, of Robin Hood and the Knights Templar, the Black Death, the founding of Parliament, the Black Prince, and the Hundred Year’s War. It will appeal as much to readers of Tudor history as to fans of 'Game of Thrones.
The English and their History
Robert Tombs - 2014
They first came into existence as an idea, before they had a common ruler and before the country they lived in even had a name. They have lasted as a recognizable entity ever since, and their defining national institutions can be traced back to the earliest years of their history.The English have come a long way from those precarious days of invasion and conquest, with many spectacular changes of fortune. Their political, economic and cultural contacts have left traces for good and ill across the world. This book describes their history and its meanings from their beginnings in the monasteries of Northumbria and the wetlands of Wessex to the cosmopolitan energy of today's England. Robert Tombs draws out important threads running through the story, including participatory government, language, law, religion, the land and the sea, and ever-changing relations with other peoples. Not the least of these connections are the ways the English have understood their own history, have argued about it, forgotten it, and yet been shaped by it. These diverse and sometimes conflicting understandings are an inherent part of their identity. Rather to their surprise, as ties within the United Kingdom loosen, the English are suddenly beginning a new period in their long history. Especially at times of change, history can help us to think about the sort of people we are and wish to be. This book, the first single-volume work on this scale for more than half a century, and which incorporates a wealth of recent scholarship, presents a challenging modern account of this immense and continuing story, bringing out the strength and resilience of English government, the deep patterns of division, and yet also the persistent capacity to come together in the face of danger.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
Barbara W. Tuchman - 1978
Barbara Tuchman anatomizes the century, revealing both the great rhythms of history and the grain and texture of domestic life as it was lived.
The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
Susan Bordo - 2013
Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first century portrayals? (Answer: neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne's death more than her life. How could Henry order the execution of a once beloved wife? Drawing on scholarship and critical analysis, Susan Bordo probes the complexities of one of history's most infamous relationships.Bordo also shows how generations of polemicists, biographers, novelists, and filmmakers imagined and reimagined Anne: whore, martyr, cautionary tale, proto-"mean girl," feminist icon, and everything in between. In this lively book, Bordo steps off the well-trodden paths of Tudoriana to expertly tease out the human being behind the competing mythologies.
Queens of the Conquest
Alison Weir - 2017
It is a chronicle of love, murder, war and betrayal, filled with passion, intrigue and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, stateswomen and lovers. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England’s queens in the century after the Norman Conquest.Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, who claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to that end, the five Norman queens emerge as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters.Much more than a series of individual biographies, Queens of the Conquest is a seamless tale of interconnected lives and a rich portrait of English history in a time of flux. In Alison Weir’s hands these five extraordinary women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.
The Sisters Who Would Be Queen
Leanda de Lisle - 2009
Misremembered as the ‘Nine Days Queen’, she has been mythologized as a child-woman destroyed on the altar of political expediency. Behind the legend, however, was an opinionated and often rebellious adolescent who died a passionate leader, not merely a victim. Growing up in Jane’s shadow, her sisters Katherine and Mary would have to tread carefully to survive.The dramatic lives of the younger Grey sisters remain little known, but under English law they were the heirs – and rivals – to the Tudor monarchs Mary and Elizabeth I. The beautiful Katherine ignored Jane’s dying request that she remain faithful to her beliefs, changing her religion to retain Queen Mary’s favour only to then risk life and freedom in a secret marriage that threatened Queen Elizabeth’s throne.While Elizabeth’s closest adviser fought to save Katherine, her younger sister Mary remained at court as the queen’s Maid of Honour. Too plain to be considered significant, it seemed that Lady Mary Grey, at least, would escape the burden of her royal blood. But then she too fell in love, and incurred the queen’s fury.Exploding the many myths of Lady Jane’s life and casting fresh light onto Elizabeth’s reign, acclaimed historian Leanda de Lisle brings the tumultuous world of the Grey sisters to life, at a time when a royal marriage could gain you a kingdom or cost you everything.
If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home
Lucy Worsley - 2011
Lucy Worsley takes us through the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen, covering the architectural history of each room, but concentrating on what people actually did in bed, in the bath, at the table, and at the stove.
Black Tudors: The Untold Story
Miranda Kaufmann - 2017
A heavily pregnant African woman is abandoned on an Indonesian island by Sir Francis Drake. A Mauritanian diver is despatched to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose... Miranda Kaufmann reveals the absorbing stories of some of the Africans who lived free in Tudor England. From long-forgotten records, remarkable characters emerge. They were baptised, married and buried by the Church of England. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. Their stories, brought viscerally to life by Kaufmann, provide unprecedented insights into how Africans came to be in Tudor England, what they did there and how they were treated. A ground-breaking, seminal work, Black Tudors challenges the accepted narrative that racial slavery was all but inevitable and forces us to re-examine the seventeenth century to determine what caused perceptions to change so radically.
Terry Jones' Medieval Lives
Terry Jones - 2004
and did outlaws never wear trousers?Terry Jones and Alan Ereira are your guides to this most misrepresented and misunderstood period, and they point you to things that will surprise and provoke. Did you know, for example, that medieval people didn't think the world was flat? That was a total fabrication by an American journalist in the 19th century. Did you know that they didn't burn witches in the Middle Ages? That was a refinement of the so-called Renaissance. In fact, medieval kings weren't necessarily merciless tyrants, and peasants entertained at home using French pottery and fine wine. Terry Jones' Medieval Lives reveals Medieval Britain as you have never seen it before - a vibrant society teeming with individuality, intrigue and innovation.
The Black Death: A Personal History
John Hatcher - 2008
By focusing on the experiences of ordinary villagers as they lived-and died-during the Black Death (1345-50), Hatcher vividly places the reader directly inside those tumultuous times and describes in fascinating detail the day-to-day existence of people struggling with the tragic effects of the plague. Dramatic scenes portray how contemporaries must have felt and thought about these momentous events: what they knew and didn't know about the horrors of the disease, what they believed about death and God's vengeance, and how they tried to make sense of it all despite frantic rumors, frightening tales, and fearful sermons.
Daughters of the Winter Queen: Four Remarkable Sisters, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Enduring Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots
Nancy Goldstone - 2018
When she was married at sixteen to a German count far below her rank, it was with the understanding that her father would help her husband achieve the kingship of Bohemia. The terrible betrayal of this commitment would ruin "the Winter Queen," as Elizabeth would forever be known, imperil the lives of those she loved, and launch a war that would last for thirty years. Forced into exile, the Winter Queen and her family found refuge in Holland, where the glorious art and culture of the Dutch Golden Age indelibly shaped her daughters' lives. Her eldest, Princess Elizabeth, became a scholar who earned the respect and friendship of the philosopher René Descartes. Louisa was a gifted painter whose engaging manner and appealing looks provoked heartache and scandal. Beautiful Henrietta Maria would be the only sister to marry into royalty, although at great cost. But it was the youngest, Sophia, a heroine in the tradition of a Jane Austen novel, whose ready wit and good-natured common sense masked immense strength of character, who fulfilled the promise of her great-grandmother Mary and reshaped the British monarchy, a legacy that endures to this day.Brilliantly researched and captivatingly written, filled with danger, treachery, and adventure but also love, courage, and humor, Daughters of the Winter Queen follows the lives of five remarkable women who, by refusing to surrender to adversity, changed the course of history.
The Norman Conquest
Marc Morris - 2012
An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought. This riveting book explains why the Norman Conquest was the single most important event in English history.Assessing the original evidence at every turn, Marc Morris goes beyond the familiar outline to explain why England was at once so powerful and yet so vulnerable to William the Conqueror's attack. Why the Normans, in some respects less sophisticated, possessed the military cutting edge. How William's hopes of a united Anglo-Norman realm unravelled, dashed by English rebellions, Viking invasions and the insatiable demands of his fellow conquerors. This is a tale of powerful drama, repression and seismic social change: the Battle of Hastings itself and the violent 'Harrying of the North'; the sudden introduction of castles and the wholesale rebuilding of every major church; the total destruction of an ancient ruling class. Language, law, architecture, even attitudes towards life itself were altered forever by the coming of the Normans. Marc Morris, author of the bestselling biography of Edward I, A Great and Terrible King, approaches the Conquest with the same passion, verve and scrupulous concern for historical accuracy. This is the definitive account for our times of an extraordinary story, a pivotal moment in the shaping of the English nation.
Necropolis: London and Its Dead
Catharine Arnold - 2006
The city is one giant grave, filled with the remains of previous eras. The Houses of Parliament sit on the edge of a former plague pit; St Paul's is built over human remains; Underground tunnels were driven through forgotten catacombs, thick with bones. A society can be judged by the way it treats its dead, and this is especially true of London. From Roman burial rites to the horrors of the plague, from the founding of the great Victorian cemeteries to the development of cremation and the cult of mourning that surrounded the death of Diana, Princess of Wales - Necropolis leaves no headstone unturned in its exploration of our changing attitudes towards the deceased among us.