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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: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,349,995 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

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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By paul courteau on September 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover
very few pictures, nowhere near enough maps, and hardly 'groundbreaking' new info at all, just a summary of all previously known info, plus the author's own incessant whining about the way women have been treated over time, which took up about half of the book. then she totally blew all her credibility by taking a personal shot at Enya on the last page. The crappy band 'the fugees' stole some of Enya's music and used it without her permission, which is called stealing. The author made Enya out to be the bad guy for objecting to having her work stolen. incredible...she spent half the book whining about how women are put down, then gets totally catty against another woman who did nothing at all wrong. wow.
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Format: Hardcover
the title of the book should be "the history of the roman empire, plus a little bit about the rebellion of boudica in the middle, and then lots and lots about how women have been downtrodden throughout history." there was really very little meat on this bone, nothing new about boudica. okay, okay, you're a woman and you don't like how women have been treated/portrayed through history, we get it. can we get back to the subject now? sheesh...

the author kept saying how the 'british' since the 1st century have used her legend for whatever they needed, but not once did she mention that the 'british' are really just the descendants of the Anglo-Saxon invaders. kind of a glaring omission seeing how boudica was never one of their people at all.

the author at one point stated how the wagons pulled by the families of the warriors would come back to bite them but never followed up on that. the only reason I know what she meant is because I saw a good documentary about this rebellion on the history channel and it stated how after the romans started getting the upper hand that the celts were pushed back against their own wagons so couldn't get away. so really I learned more about this person and her rebellion from tv than I did from this book.

another example of a person writing a book who knows the area so why bother with maps? "if I know where everything is, you should too." all this talk about places but no maps.

and why throw enya under the bus just because she didn't want someone stealing her music? that was just weird, and it came across as completely off the point, and petty (and a little bit racist...just because enya is from Ireland she's not allowed to make 'celtic' music? wow...
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