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The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Revised and Updated Paperback – February 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Revised edition (February 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520224604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520224605
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Her reading was enjoyable and pleasing to listen to… an outstanding reference book." -- Rochelle Caviness, Large Print Reviews, November 1, 2001

"In her [Wanda McCaddon’s] commanding voice this unsurpassable listening experience stirs both mind and imagination." -- AudioFile, unknown date

"McCaddon reads with an impeccable and formal British accent, appropriate to the content." -- KLIATT, September 1999

"This fascinating and mesmerizing chronology is filled with colorful characters and startling reversals… vividly narrated." -- Sir ReadaLot.org, February 2005 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Antonia Fraser is an internationally acclaimed writer. Her historical biographies include Mary, Queen of Scots (1993), Cromwell, Our Chief of Men (1996), Charles II (1974), and The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1993). Her most recent work is Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot (1997).

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Customer Reviews

I am very happy to have this book as part of my library now.
C. Bashara
Antonia Fraser's book "The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England" provides an excellent history of the British monarchy.
Cynthia A. LINTON
Though not an academic, she has developed a reputation for impartial, well considered, very well written prose.
Michael K. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Antonia Fraser's 'The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England' has long been one of my favourite books (since my childhood, really), because it has both breadth and brevity simultaneously, a rare feat. Lady Fraser's style is evident here, a non-imposing and non-technical style, that is nonetheless satisfying to all but the most rigourous of academic historians.
Fraser's account begins with the Norman invasion; like many books on royal history, scant attention is paid to pre-Norman figures. Fraser groups the monarchs into categories:
Normans
Angevins
Plantagenets
House of Lancaster
House of York
Tudors
Stuarts
House of Hanover
House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
House of Windsor
Putting together the genealogical tables is a fun exercise--beware here, however, that lesser historical figures are left off the charts (thus, Queen Anne's bevy of children are not represented on the genealogy as none lived to assume the crown or perpetuate the line). Each monarch is given an article about 10-15 pages in length (a good bedtime reading length, I've found). Pictures and paintings help place visually the stories, together with the interspersed essays on coats-of-arms and other topics.
Fraser likes to find the humourous aspects whenever possible. Writing on William IV's distaste for the young Victoria's mother:' 'In 1836 the Duchess of Kent took over a large suite of rooms in Kensington Palace without the King's permission. William was furious. If he died now, Victoria would not be old enough to rule without her mother as Regent. At a public dinner, attended by more than a hundred guests, William said that he hoped his life would be spared long enough to prevent such a calamity.'
His wish was granted.
An ideal gift for anyone, child to adult, who has an interest in the history of the British royals, and a good ready-reference for students, this book is first-rate.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By mfagelson@yahoo.com on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
For anyone who has even a passing interest in the English monarchs (what's the difference between Bloody Mary and Mary, Queen of Scots?) this is the perfect book. Within four to eight pages, depending on the subject, Antonia Fraser gives a wonderful summary of every monarch since Normand time, right up to Elizabeth II. I used this book not only to clarify which Edward or Mary was which, but also to give me teasers about important events in English history. From this I read two books by another great English historiographer, Alison Weir, "The Wars of the Roses" and "The Princes in the Tower." I even used Fraser's book to guide me as I watched "Mrs. Brown" on video! Fraser manages to take these fascinating people and put them in the context of their time, without romantic presupposition or fake dialogue. Fraser delivers documented facts or opinions and still manages to give her work an interesting and engaging voice.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By P A Brown on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This big picture book of kings and queens is a great reference work for anyone interested in English royal history. The color illustrations are lavish, the brief biographies hit all high points and the geneologies of the various royal houses are very useful when trying to trace the convoluted relationships of England's royals. This is a handy book to have around when you just can't figure out just how Germans ended up on the British throne, can't remember which of Henry VIII's wives died on the block or want to know why Queen Victoria died in the arms of Kaiser Wilhem. Lots of information on all matters royal, including ancient traditions, heraldry, issues of precedent, the crown jewels, court dress, palaces and passtimes and other fun facts. A good book to have close to hand.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia A. LINTON on August 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Antonia Fraser's book "The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England" provides an excellent history of the British monarchy. Highlights of the book include its balance of brevity with a comprehensive scope, it photographs, and especially its genealogical charts. The book's only flaw is that it does not begin in 827 with King Egbert, but in 1066 with William the Conqueror beginning the rule of the Norman kings.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lesley West on September 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Antonia Fraser does a great job here, outlining the lives and adventures of the Kings and Queens of England, from the time of the Norman conquest. And of course its not just a history of England that we are reading here, from time to time it was also a history of the known world - there were times when if England didn't own another country, they were coveting it, or were in some conflict with it. And what fascinating people these royal people were. They were of their times, they were shaped by the times, they were defeated by their times, and in being so helped shape the world that we see today. They were competent, insane, brilliant, loyal, lecherous and obsessive. This is a history of mankind - only far more visible!
Antonia Fraser is one of the finest historical writers today. In this book she does not have the space or time to delve into the nitty gritty of the reigns of each monarch, but she does give a fascinating and insightful snap shot of their times. This is a valuable reference book for any half serious library, as it deals not only with the people, but the times tthat they lived in.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Maureen Jacobs on May 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is book gives a brief but useful history of every English monarch over the past millenium. I knew very little about the monarchy before reading the book, and this was a perfect introduction. This book would also probably be helpful for those who want a refresher in their history or for those who are just trying to keep all of the Henrys, Georges, and Edwards straight.
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