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Boudica: The Life and Legends of Britain's Warrior Queen Hardcover – May 18, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover (May 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585677787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585677788
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,435,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Collingridge's comprehensive history doesn't just look at the Iron Age queen who conquered three cities in Roman-occupied Britain but begins with the Roman incursion into Britain under Julius Caesar. It wasn't until almost 90 years after Caesar, under the emperor Claudius, that the Romans really got a foothold in Britain, and the invaders did not find it an easy province to manage. While some tribes accepted the path of least resistance and submitted to Roman rule, others did not. Boudica's husband, King Prasutagus, was a pro-Roman "client king," but after his death Roman soldiers beat Boudica and raped her two daughters. The proud queen went on a rampage, gathering warriors from various tribes and sacking three cities (including London) before her army was defeated. Drawing on two Roman historians, Tacitus and Cassius Dio, Collingridge shows an early lionization of Boudica at the final battle, and later chapters go on to illustrate just how Boudica became legend, even influencing another famous British queen, Elizabeth I. An absorbing historical study of how an upstart queen became a legend. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Publisher

Boudica has been mythologized as the woman who dared to take on the Romans to avenge her daughters, her tribe, and her enslaved country. Her immortality rests on the fact that she almost drove the Romans out of Britain, and her legend has become the reference point for any British woman in power, from Elizabeth I to Margaret Thatcher. As Boudica has become well known as an icon of female leadership and strength, the true story of her revolt against the Roman empire has only become more distant- until now. Combining new research and recent archaeological discoveries, Vanessa Collingridge has written a major new biography on this shadowy and often misunderstood figure of ancient history. Boudica provides a detailed history of the "Celtomania" that has adopted Boudica as its earliest hero, and the nationalist and feminist causes that have also tried to claim her as their own. While tracking the origins and impact of the various versions of the Boudica legend, Vanessa Collingridge unearth a historical woman who is far subtler- but every bit as fascinating- as the myths associated to her name.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Brewer on July 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book shortly after its release, but it's been (regrettably) sitting on my shelf until just a week ago, when I decided it was about time I got around to it. How glad I was that I did! Boudicca has long been an interest of mine, and I was pleased with Collingridge's thoroughly researched account of the queen's life and, perhaps more importantly, the context from which historians glean information about her and her people. By providing a full summary of the world in 61 AD, and a Roman as well as a Briton perspective of the events surrounding the Iceni queen's debasement, revolt and subsequent death, Collingridge places Boudicca in an environment neither exaggerated nor abstracted with sensationalism.

Needless to say, I was dismayed upon trekking over to Amazon and finding the "average rating" for this book so low, based entirely on a single review from a person who appeared to have had little interest in the subject in the first place, denouncing the book as "superficial" and claiming its author makes no attempt to show why we should care about the subject. The only problems I could see with this very solid history was with editing (names of historical personages are occasionally misspelled: Cleopatra's son by Julius Caesar is referred to as "Caesarian" rather than the more accurate and commonly cited spelling Caesarion, and other errors crop up now and again), but these, placed in the context of the book, are nitpicker's complaints as Collingridge clearly knows her material regardless of editor's faults. Rest assured, the book is not superficial as claimed by the (until-now) sole reviewer, but rather exhaustively researched.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on May 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book describes the life of Boudica and times and the context in which the Iceni Warrior-Queen lived.
It tells of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, something about pre-Roman Britain, of Julius Ceasar's invasion of Britain, the conquest of Britain a century later by Claudius, and of the Druids
around which British life centered in pre-Roman times and were ruthlessly stamped out by the Romans.
Interesting insight in human sacrifices by the Druids as well as their use of hallucinogenic drugs such as hallucinogenic mushrooms.
The book gives us an insight into the sheer brutality of the Roman Empire, destroying entire nations and seizing lands at will.
In retaliation for an assault on his men by German tribesman, Julius Casar ordered one of the biggest slaughters of his career.

However the book centers around the Roman coquest of Britain and how the British tribes were subdued.
It is important to note that prior to the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain centuries later, there never was an identity among Britons as a nation.
They identified according to the various tribes to which they belonged, which essentially formed confederations in different regions of today's England.
The Iceni were a client tribe of Rome, and their lands stretched across most of what is now East Anglia, covering today's Norfolk, north Suffolk, and north-east Cambridgeshire.
Boudica's husband, Prasutagus, was the king of Iceni.
when Prasutagus died his attempts to preserve his line were ignored and his kingdom was annexed as if it had been conquered. Lands and property were confiscated and nobles treated like slaves. According to Tacitus, Boudica was flogged and her young daughters brutally raped.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Carter on February 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The main reason for reading this book was to find out about the life and legend of Boudica. She didn't show up until after page 175. First you must wade through Roman history and not just its conquest of Britain, then the history of Britain, than a history of Druids then a brief interlude in which she finally tells us there isn't much factual information about Boudica. Then the book rambles off into trivia. The book is well written, full of information however just not on the person in the book's title: Boudica. If you want to know anything about Boudica -- look elsewhere.
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10 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Baby Blue on August 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is superficial and never really gets to the purpose of

even why one would want to write a book about this subject much

less read one. The author wonders all over the place in a vain attempt to keep the reader interested with references spread throughout British history from Elizabeth I to Princess Diana. Simply put the book is a waste not well researched or thought out; and finally not well written.
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