Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe Hardcover – Illustrated, November 29, 2016
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―Literary Review (UK)
"[Game of Queens] casts a well-researched time period in an intriguing light.... Readers of popular history, especially of Tudor England, and of women's history will find much to enjoy."―Library Journal
"Game of Queens is a magnificent exploration of a most remarkable group--the women who ruled sixteenth century Europe. Sarah Gristwood gives us impeccable research, incisive attention to detail, and exquisite writing as she investigates these truly fascinating women and their lives of courage, tribulation, and determination. Absolutely unputdownable."―Kate Williams, authorof England's Mistress
- Item Weight : 1.45 pounds
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0465096786
- ISBN-13 : 978-0465096787
- Dimensions : 6.38 x 1.25 x 9.63 inches
- Publisher : Basic Books; Illustrated edition (November 29, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #564,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Interesting, at times, riveting, this is a fascinating glimpse into a world that is too often overshadowed by the achievements of kings rather than the women who surrounded and influenced them.
Thank goodness the author's notes contain 1) a time line, 2) family trees and 3) thumbnail descriptions of the central characters (eight of whom are either named Mary or Margaret). I kept referring to those. Hard to keep track sometimes, but still an engrossing read.
Another thing that Sarah Gristwood does is show us just how brutal -and complicated- these eras were. These women took refuge in their religion, using it as a justification for their actions or to validate themselves as regents, queen regnants or governors, but painfully brushed it aside when it came to their survival and their kingdom’s future.
I am not a historian, but an ardent fan of history. Game of Queens looks at the 16th century from the unique perspective of several queens and queen consorts who ruled and had a significant impact on the events of the day. The book explores the interactive nature of their relationships and their influence across the European continent. In a world that was so dominated by men, these queens managed to become major players in their kingdoms.
The book is organized in chronological order by major events in Europe, and highlights the roles the Queens played amidst the political and religious conflicts that were brewing.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and a must-have for your history library!
The book is well researched and well written, but there's such an abundance of characters that they all get confusing at times. It would have been nice to have a map included with each woman listed on the country of association.
Top reviews from other countries
It is a fascinating discussion of the women who held power - either on the throne or behind it - their often conflicted loyalties to their homelands, or being forced to marry to secure alliances. It challenges the myth that women had no role in politics in the sixteenth century, at times being the ones to secure peace (Margaret of Austria and Louise of Savoy).
Sarah Gristwood has a marvellous way of effortlessly making the book seem less like a biography/timeline, and more like a discussion you are having with her. She effortlessly breezes between the entwined stories and lives of these remarkable women, with such ease and delicacy that the reader is not left behind scratching their heads (which could easily be the case). What is also special about this book is that you do not need a vast knowledge of the sixteenth century, this is as perfect an introduction to the period as many other books. In fact, probably more so here due style of the narrative, which does not fall into the trap of many other books that go off on tangents. Simply sticking to key facts surrounding the women during their time in power.
Many books have been written set in the sixteenth century, mainly Tudor England, that you often wonder if some have anything new to offer. This book however, offers a whole new focus to the period. Mainly due to the focus on the women outside of England, those in power in France, Spain, Netherlands, Navarre, Hungary etc. That you begin to understand a new side to the politics of sixteenth century women.
It must be said that the book does not glamorise the role of women in the sixteenth century world, making them out be early feminists - quite the contrary, instead it merely challenges some of the views people may have had about the role of some women in these times, that they were actually more than child bearers.
As bestselling historian Alison Weir says, this book is quite simply "A Masterpiece". I eagerly await Sarah Gristwood future work.
* At the back of the book, look out for further reading on these women, as well as the link to the 'Game of Queens' website.