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The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens (Mammoth Books) Paperback – October 19, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The result of some 30 years of research by a prolific writer on British royalty, this chronology provides biographical information on more than 1,000 sovereigns from approximately 100 B.C. to Elizabeth II, a period of more than 2,000 years. The volume opens with "The Royal Book of Records," consisting of such lists as the longest and shortest reigns, the youngest monarchs to die, and the oldest monarchs to be married. Ashley points out that most chronologies of the British monarchy start with Egbert (802^-839). He believes, however, that there is sufficient credibility in Welsh legend to accept the authenticity of the Beli Mawr, a semi-legendary British king who was probably a historical figure, as the starting point for this survey, which is divided into three sections: "The Dark Ages" (from around 100 B.C. to around 900), "The Fight for Britain" (from around 900 to 1300), and "Uniting the Kingdom" (from 1300 to the present). Each section has numerous letter-coded subsections in order to cover all of the kingdoms and royal houses that by the Act of Union in 1707 formally brought Scotland, England, and Wales together into a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Biographical entries, supported throughout with time lines, maps, and family trees, vary in length from a line or two to several pages. They are current to at least August 1997 and the death of Diana. Longer entries critically assess the king or queen's reign. Concluding the chronological survey is a section called "The World Around Them," containing biographies of legendary or semi-historical kings of Britain and Scotland; and charts for other kingdoms in Europe whose rulers either had some dominion over Britain or vice versa. This is followed by a gazetteer of sites with a strong royal connection, a bibliography (current to 1997), and an index.

Written in a lively style and covering more than 2,000 years and 1,000 monarchs (more than any previous compilation), The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens will be a useful resource for academic and public libraries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A unique Domesday Book of the British monarchy. A reference work without peers" -- Peter Berresford Ellis

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Product Details

  • Series: Mammoth Books
  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; Reprint edition (October 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786706929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786706921
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Joe Owen VINE VOICE on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an essential Book of the British Monarchy that has helped me tremendously in doing research about all the Kings and Queens throught the history of Great Britain. It is thorough, well documented, it has essential maps and background information, not only about the Kings and Queens, but also about significant events throughout the history of this great nation. This is a book that reaffirms the importance of Great Britain in Western Civilization. The Kings and Queens from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth II are told with interesting form, as well as the Kings and Queens of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and major chieftans who had their own kingdoms in Britain during the early Middle Ages. An outstanding book that is an absolute must to anyone who wants to research the history of Great Britain.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By AE on May 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
First let me state that I love this book. I read it all the time, though I haven't come close to finishing it due to its size.
I love this book because it is interesting. It has every British ruler you can think of piled in there, from the most recent to the semi-mythological ones of bygone days. And this includes the ruling families of those who came to power in Britain. The most obscure rulers are covered.
The book is incredibly well indexed. I can find any ruler easier than it would be to look his name up alphabetically. Even better than that, I don't have to know the name of a ruler to find him. There are charts, graphs, geneological tables, maps, everything.
However, there is one major flaw with this book. As the "Royal Book of Records" in the beginning might suggest, the book might more be considered gossip than fact. The RBoR is fantastic, listining the Top 10 rulers for all sorts of things...strangest deaths, earliest marriages, most kids, you name it.
But the whole book kind of takes on this theme.
I would not have known that the book isn't the most reliable of sources if I hadn't gone and tried to use it on my papers for university (Dalriada, Pictland, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons mostly).
Which I did, and subsequently got marked off on. Every point that I cited with this book got marked off.
But I still can't help loving it.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I found this book of particular interest because I could go through it and compare the historical records of kings with the records left by Shakespeare. Macbeth, for example, was well-loved, and Richard III probably wasn't all that bad.
This book includes references to mythology and legend: there's an entry for Arthur, for example. It doesn't, however, accept that things are true because someone says so; it attempts to distinguish between fact and fancy. It's handy in that sense to have this book close at hand when reading historical fiction set in early England.
It's written from a definate British perspective, obvious because it cut's George III more slack than an American book would. Still, considering it's their monarchy, I guess they get to write the book.
Interesting both to history buffs and laymen. Not to be missed by Anglophiles.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By PMcC-DC on December 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I couldn't agree more with the one-star review from Sept. 2001. From a quick glance in a store, I was impressed by the book's apparent scope; once I owned it I could see, based on a good general knowledge of British royal history, how poor, undocumented, and second-hand the information was. Ashley gives roughly the same weight to legends as to actual historical figures: perhaps not surprising, now that I find he's published many other "Mammoth" books of fantasy literature but nothing else dealing with historical facts. It's hard to imagine that anyone involved in publishing or marketing it understood that scholarship needs to have at least some role in works of this kind. Because I don't believe in trashing books, however sorry their content, I donated my copy to a local book sale. If you care about history, skip this book to avoid a similar disappointment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tnafbrat on March 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I listened to Ashley's " A Brief History of Britsh King's and Queens" through Audible. I enjoyed it so much, I purchased it in the DTB (dead tree version) and went on to purchase this one for my Kindle. This pretty much an expanded version of "Brief History". It is presented in a timeline fashion and is awesome for following that historical line. So many kings and thir queens have the same names and I kept getting them confused. Think about it, count the number of Edwards, Henry's, Richards, James', Eleanors, (C)Katherines, Annes and Mary'. Throw in a few Aethel.....'s and it's easy to get lost. These two books have put them into perspective and I love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rita Reynolds on December 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We had been watching The Tudors and Reign on TV and wanted to know more information on English royalty. This book gave us all the information we were curious about plus much more. It tells about a 1000 monarchs. It tells the stories of the rulers and their people, their victories and their defeats, their alliances and their enemies. The book also gives the threads from which the unity and diversity of Britain is woven. This book is a must for anyone who wants to study British history. In this magnificent reference work, the author presents an exhaustive and immensely rich collection of every recorded royal ruler.
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