Sunday, September 4, 2011

It should be stated that I am hugely interested in English history (as well as American History) and am delighted with books like Carolly Erickson's "Royal Panopoly: Brief Lives of The English Monarchs". Indeed they were generally brief, in fact - as well as in the accounts in this book.

As an account of every day life, it is fascinating. Their lives were colorful, if brief - and through much of English history it's evident that even minimal intelligence was not a prerequisite to ruling. War was constant, the masses led miserable lives. When a king was dethroned - it was seldom with dignity. Many met ghastly deaths at the hands of their own courtiers. The kings had so many bastard children by various mistresses that we all have to be descended from princes, as well as peasants. Sounds grim but it makes fascinating reading.

The pace is so fast that's it's hard to keep track of 'who's on first' but to trace the history of a country through such a span of time, starting with William the Conqueror, demands brevity

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