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The Kings and Queens of England Hardcover – April 1, 1996

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nicholas Best was fiction critic for the Financial Times for 10 years. His other titles include Five Days That Shocked the World and The Greatest Day in History. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821222554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821222553
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,767,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicholas Best grew up in Kenya and was educated there, in England and at Trinity College, Dublin. He served in the Grenadier Guards and worked in London as a journalist before becoming a fulltime author.

Formerly a literary critic for the Financial Times, he has written more than 20 books, both fiction and non-fiction, and is translated into many languages. His novel TENNIS AND THE MASAI was serialized on BBC Radio 4. His short story THE SOUVENIR was long-listed in 2010 for the Sunday Times-EFG Bank £30,000 award, the biggest short story prize in the world.

Nicholas Best lives in Cambridge, England. For more information, see

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A. Maxham on June 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My boyfriend and I bought this book in the British Museum bookstore so we could keep the monarchs straight. For that purpose it is perfect. Each page is about the size of two credit cards, and each monarch gets two pages each- one page for a picture of him/her, and one page for a biography. The brevity of the biography obviously leads to inaccuracies in the interest of cramming it all into a single tiny page. In other words, I don't recommend using it to study for a history test, but if you want to put it in your backpack as you are touring London so you can say "Oookay, now Henry the VI was a [crummy] and weak king" as you stand over his tomb in St. George at Windsor and "Henry VII killed Richard the III, that bad guy from Shakespeare" as you stand next to Henry's tomb in Westminster Abby, it is absolutely perfect for that purpose. However, if you want a more thorough review (and loads of pictures, but less backpack friendly) of each monarch, I very much recommend Antonio Fraser's "The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England."
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I didn't pay attention to the dimensions of this book when I ordered it, so I wasn't prepared for it's size. The book is very small, as in almost fits in the palm of my hand! Nevertheless, the book is still worth purchasing. It has beautiful color photographs of each monarch and includes a short summary on each. Although I didn't learn anything new from this book (and you probably won't either), it still makes a great addition to any historical collection.
If you are interested in reading something other than the "same old" stories about the British Monarchy, be sure to read "Kings, Queens, Bones & Bastards." It's one of the best!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on March 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This compact little volume is a handy resource, especially for readers who like English novels/mysteries/historical fiction. I keep it near my favorite chair to refer to whenever I need to keep straight the identity and era of one of the royals. Thumbnail bios and repros of famous portraits enhance the format. Who knew that King Steven (that usurper!) was crosseyed?
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Format: Hardcover
My only real complaint about this book is that Charles I is treated with less than justice here. For a more accurate view of his life and tragic death, I suggest you read Winston Churchill's "History of the English Speaking People."

That said, this book by Nicholas Best is a nice brief overview of the Kings and Queens of England from William I (1066-1087) to Elizabeth II (1952-present). It includes a nice photograph of each king and queen as well as brief description of their reign. (Now certainly, this book is not designed for an in depth study.) If that is your intention, you should look at Winston Churchill's book that I have mentioned.

Perhaps the greatest thing about this book is the chapter that focuses on King Henry VIII. While he certainly had his faults, he did accomplish a lot for England. (Authorizing the Bible's translation into English, revising and updating Parliament, building up the navy well, and keeping civil order during the dangerous times with no wars breaking out!) As Nicholas Best says in this book: "The country felt an enormous loss when he died."

While not the most thorough book, it belongs in the library of any English History buff.
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