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Mistress of the Elgin Marbles: A Biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin
Susan Nagel
0060545550
August 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
The lively and sharp-witted Scottish heiress Mary Nisbet (1778–1855) shone as the wife of Thomas Bruce, seventh Earl of Elgin and Ambassador Extraordinaire to the Ottoman Empire—whose name became associated with the Parthenon friezes brought to England. In the earliest years of marriage, Mary was her husband's staunchest ally and participant in his diplomatic work, as her diaries and letters reveal. As Nagel shows, following Elgin's incarceration under Napoleon and after the tragic loss of their only son as an infant, Mary's feelings for Elgin began to cool. She resisted his demand for another heir, and their relationship collapsed when Elgin discovered Mary's affair with his best friend. The glamorous couple's marriage ended in scandal and a humiliating public divorce. Nagel, who has written for the...


Queen Emma and the Vikings : Power, Love, and Greed in 11th Century England
Harriet O'Brien
1582345961
August 16, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
While much remains unknown about Queen Emma as an individual, her story offers a fascinating entrance into the tumultuous world of late Anglo-Saxon England. Daughter of the duke of Normandy, descended just a few generations from Viking invaders, Emma (985–1062) was the wife of two kings (the English Aethelred and, later, his Danish Viking successor, Cnut), the mother of two kings and great-aunt of the Norman William the Conqueror. Despite her secondary status as a woman, Emma can be seen as a key factor in this momentous transitional period, serving as a source of stability and continuity in uncertain times. London-based journalist O'Brien provides a lively account of the harsh realities of war and politics in this era, the vagaries of political marriage and the thin line between invaders and settlers. She...


Queen Isabella
Alison Weir
0345453190
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Isabella of France (1295?–1358) married the bisexual Edward II of England as a 12-year-old, lived with him for 17 years, bore him four children, fled to France in fear of his powerful favorite, returned with her lover, Roger Mortimer, to lead a rebellion and place her son on the throne and eventually saw Mortimer executed as her son asserted his power. Veteran biographer Weir (Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc.) battles Isabella's near-contemporaries and later storytellers and historians for control of the narrative, successfully rescuing the queen from writers all too willing to imagine the worst of a medieval woman who dared pursue power. Weir makes great use of inventories to recreate Isabella's activities and surroundings and, strikingly, to establish the timing of the queen's turn against her...


The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Alison Weir
0802136834
March 2000
Paperback
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From School Library Journal
YA-- A wonderfully detailed, extensively researched collective biography. Although the book is undoubtedly the work of a Tudor scholar, with sources ranging from previous biographies of these women to private papers, letters, diaries, and diplomatic sources, it is also the work of a competent fiction writer. The narrative is free flowing, humorous, informative, and readable. Weir's research abilities and deductive reasoning have shed a whole new light on the political maneuverings of the era and thus on the myriad forces that drove Henry VIII, his wives, and his children. Personal and obscure facts about the women, Henry's relationship with his nobles, and quirks of the times enliven the text. Genealogical tables for all the families involved are included. This book can be used for research, as it contains a...


Sex with Kings
Eleanor Herman
0060585447
May 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
When kings marry foreign strangers for dynastic or financial reasons and queens are trained in piety over sensuality, royal mistresses seem an inevitability. Kings had flings and extramarital relationships through much of European history, and in her first book, Herman offers, with relish and dry wit, a delightful overview of their sexual escapades. Her subjects are international, though France dominates and England gets a strong showing. It's a lively account, organized by topic e.g., "The Fruits of Sin—Royal Bastards." Herman weaves into a larger pattern the tales of recurrent figures, such as Louis XIV's mistress Athénaïs de Montespan and Madame de Pompadour, who is perhaps more famous than her royal lover, Louis XV. Fashions, love potions and cheerful conversation kept kings enthralled while...


The Life of Elizabeth I
Alison Weir
0345425502
October 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
The long life and powerful personality of England's beloved Virgin Queen have eternal appeal, and popular historian Alison Weir depicts both with panache. She's especially good at evoking the physical texture of Tudor England: the elaborate royal gowns (actually an intricate assembly of separate fabric panels buttoned together over linen shifts), the luxurious but unhygienic palaces (Elizabeth got the only "close stool"; most members of her retinue relieved themselves in the courtyards), the huge meals heavily seasoned to disguise the taste of spoiled meat. Against this earthy backdrop, Elizabeth's intelligence and formidable political skills stand in vivid relief. She may have been autocratic, devious, even deceptive, but these traits were required to perform a 45-year tightrope walk between the two great powers of Europe,...


Alice
Hugo Vickers
0312302398
June 2003
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
A chain-smoking, nearly deaf princess who ministered to the sick in Greek hospitals and soup kitchens, was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic at age 45, fancied herself a nun and sheltered a Jewish family during the Holocaust (for which she was posthumously given the title Righteous among the Nations, an honor Oskar Schindler also received), Alice is a biographer's dream. Born under the watchful eye of her great-grandmother Queen Victoria in Windsor Castle in 1885, Alice married a Greek prince who was actually Danish, German and Russian. And while she was devoted to Greece, she and her royal in-laws were never fully accepted by their adopted subjects. At age 84, she died in Buckingham Palace, where she lived at the end of her life at the behest of her youngest child and only son, Prince Philip, and his wife,...


Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life
Queen Noor
1401359485
March 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who loved The King and I will readily warm to the love story of Queen Noor and the late King Hussein of Jordan. Born in America in 1951 as Lisa Halaby, Noor came from a wealthy, well-connected family and was part of Princeton's first co-ed class. Her father's aviation business produced a chance meeting with King Hussein in 1976, and a year or two later Noor realized the king was courting her. He was 41, she was 26. The rumor mills buzzed: was she the next Grace Kelly? Before long, the king renamed her Noor (light in Arabic), and she converted to Islam. They were married in the summer of 1978. From this point on, her story is mostly his, mainly covering his attempts to broker peace in the Middle East. There are meetings with Arafat, Saddam Hussein, American presidents and other leaders. Noor details...


Born to Rule : Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria
Julia P. Gelardi
0312324235
February 23, 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
This lively page-turner covers the 100-year period between the birth of Queen Maud of Norway in 1869 and the death of Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain in 1969. Suffering only from the inevitable repetition and melodramatic foreshadowing caused by the five-in-one setup of this biography, Gelardi's book features liberal quotations from fascinating correspondence and diaries that reveal both the intimate and the public faces of the women featured. Tales of the girls' romances and weddings spice up the early pages, followed by descriptions of marital relationships, childbirths and the early seeds of conflict-both personal and political. World War I and the Bolshevik revolution dominate the third part of the book, after which Gelardi describes the poignant twilight years of the four granddaughters who lived past the...


Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life
Alison Weir
0345434870
April 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
Combining the pace and descriptive quality of a novel with the authority of a textbook, Alison Weir's study of the revered and reviled Eleanor of Aquitaine should be valuable to anyone with an interest in medieval European history. Wife of Louis VII of France and subsequently of Henry II of England, and mother of Richard "the Lion-Hearted," Eleanor played a prominent part in the politics of the 12th century. The author of a number of other books on the medieval period (Life of Elizabeth I, The Children of Henry VIII), Weir brings all the color and ever-present dangers of Eleanor's world to life, filling the text with absorbing background detail and revelatory contemporary anecdotes. She is concerned throughout to make critical analysis of the primary sources, the later myths about Eleanor, and other modern biographies....


Six Wives
David Starkey
0060005505
May 2004
Paperback
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Book Description

No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. In this remarkable study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer but someone seeking happiness -- and a son. Knowingly or not, he elevateda group of women to extraordinary heights and changed the way a nation was governed.

Six Wives is a masterful work of history that intimately examines the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy, and religion that were part of daily life for women at the Tudor Court. Weaving new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama surrounding Henry's six marriages, David Starkey reveals the central role that the queens played in determining...



Victoria's Daughters
Jerrold M. Packard
0312244967
November 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
Incisive character studies of Queen Victoria's five daughters provide the framework for a lively survey of 19th-century European history. With three brothers securing the English throne, the princesses' royal duty was to further Britain's interests through marriage. Vivacious, intelligent Vicky (1840-1901), the spoiled eldest, had a happy union with Hohenzollern prince Frederick William, though her liberal views were unpopular in Prussia and vehemently resisted by her son Willy, who eventually became the emperor of Germany. Sensitive, altruistic Alice (1843-78); dutiful, dull Lenchen (1846-1923); and shy baby sister Beatrice (1857-1944) all married minor German royalty--though Beatrice, intended to be her domineering mother's spinster companion, didn't marry until she was 28 and continued to live in England at Victoria's...


The Women of Windsor : Their Power, Privilege, and Passions
Catherine Whitney
0060765844
April 1, 2006
Hardcover
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Book Description

Who are the women of Windsor? We know them as Elizabeth, the Queen; Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; Princess Margaret; Anne, the Princess Royal. Their images have been with us on film and in print for more than a century, like priceless artifacts that call to mind a grander era. Seen at a distance, they appear unknowable. But each is an individual, a real woman, with an extraordinary story to tell. Now, Catherine Whitney reveals what happens behind the palace doors, giving us an intimate glimpse into the private lives of these public figures.

Elizabeth, the Queen: Born to duty, adored by her parents, Elizabeth swore as a teenager to serve her country above all else . . . and she has lived up to her promise, even when her crown has been a burden. This once-lively young woman has sacrificed self-interest and...



Grace Kelly : Icon of Style to Royal Bride (Philadelphia Museum of Art S.)
H. Kristina Haugland
0300116446
May 28, 2006
Paperback
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Book Description
One of the most admired women in the world, Grace Kelly (1929–1982) is remembered for her beauty, poise, and style. Her “fairy-tale” wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 was one of the most celebrated of the century. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, this lovely book tells the story behind her wedding gown, cap, veil, shoes, and prayer book—all given by the new princess to the Philadelphia Museum of Art shortly after the ceremony. 
Philadelphia-born Grace Kelly rocketed to Hollywood stardom, becoming a major box-office draw and winning an Academy Award. She also was an icon of classic American style, which became known as the “Grace Kelly Look.” After examining the development of the star’s on- and off-screen style, the book focuses on her magnificent wedding...


Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar
Edvard Radzinsky
074327332X
October 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
It's difficult to reform Russia, as popular historian Radzinsky shows in this lively examination of the czar best known for emancipating the serfs in 1861. Viewed as the most liberal of Russia's 19th-century czars, Alexander II (1818–1881) came to power in 1856 with the idea of bringing Russia into the modern age. But as Radzinsky (The Last Tsar) shows, his liberal reforms brought him nothing but trouble. Alexander came under attack from the right for being too liberal, and the left for not going far enough. He also had to curtail his reforms when faced with the need to fight foreign enemies. Radzinsky focuses much of the latter half of the book on the rise of left-wing populist movements—the book covers in depth the intellectual currents that swirled around Russia during Alexander's reign. Some...


Diana
Simone Simmons
0312354991
July 2005
Hardcover
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Review
“Simone, if anything happens to me, write a book and tell it like it is.”—Diana, Princess of Wales

“The two could often spend up to eight hours a day chatting on the phone. Simone was the Princess’s friend and confidante who was entrusted with her personal documentation.”—Paul Burrell



A Treasury of Royal Scandals : The Shocking True Stories History's Wickedest Weirdest Most Wanton Kings Queens
Michael Farquhar
0140280243
May 1, 2001
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
In another royal expos‚, Farquhar, a writer at the Washington Post, duplicates some of the ground covered in Karl Shaw's Royal Babylon (reviewed above), such as Peter the Great's delight in administering torture (he had his son lashed to death) and the way Britain's Queen Mary cajoled her subjects into giving her their household treasures ("I am caressing it with my eyes," she would coyly coo). Written in a provocative tabloid style (with headings like "We Are Not Abused. We Are Abusive," "A Son Should Love His Mother, But..." and "All the Holiness Money Can Buy"), Farquhar publicly washes the dirty laundry of not only European royalty, but also of Roman emperors and popes. Murderers and torturers who slept with their siblings (and other relatives), the emperors of Rome excelled at corruption. The maniacal...


Philip and Elizabeth
Gyles Daubeney Brandreth
0393061132
Nov 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Princess Elizabeth fell for Prince Philip in 1939, when she was 13 and he, 18. But though Philip was a direct descendent of Queen Victoria, some at court thought him an unsuitable match. But as longtime royal acquaintance Brandreth shows, Philip has been the perfect mate: dutiful, loyal, hard-working and deeply respectful. As Brandreth makes clear, the marriage has succeeded not only because Philip loves his wife, but because he understands the nature of royal life. Social and outgoing, Philip balances the queen's reserve. He's also likely the only person who has ever threatened her and gotten away with it: Brandreth relates how Philip grew so fed up with his wife's wordless but potent backseat driving that he told her to stop or he'd put her out of the car. She stopped. Brandreth goes to great and mostly...


Children of Henry VIII
Alison Alison Weir
0345407865
July 1997
Paperback
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Book Review
The royal family may have its problems these days, but as Alison Weir reminds us in this cohesive and impeccably researched book, the nobility of old England could be both loveless and ruthless. Weir, an expert in the period and author of a book on Henry's VIII wives, focuses on the children of Henry VIII who reigned successively after his death in 1547: Edward VI, Mary I ("Bloody Mary") and Elizabeth I. The three shared little--living in separate homes--except for a familial legacy of blood and terror. This is exciting history and fascinating reading about a family of mythic proportions. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
The tragedy of four accidental rivals to a throne, three of them children?by different mothers?of a...


Warriors of God
James Reston, Jr.
0385495625
May 2002
Paperback
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Book Review
Throughout the medieval era, the Holy Land was a fiercely contested battlefield, fought over by huge Muslim and Christian armies, by zealots and assassins. The Third Crusade, spanning five years at the end of the 12th century, was, writes James Reston Jr. in this absorbing account, "Holy War at its most virulent," overseen by two great leaders, the Kurdish sultan Salah ad-Din, or Saladin, and the English king Richard, forevermore known as Lionheart.

Writing with a keen sense of historical detail and drama, Reston traces the complex path by which Saladin and Richard came to face each other on the field of battle. The Crusades, he observes, began "as a measure to redirect the energies of warring European barons from their bloody, local disputes into a 'noble' quest to reclaim the Holy Land from the 'infidel'." Of the five...



The First Elizabeth
Carolly Erickson
031216842X
August 15, 1997
Paperback
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Review
"Even more readable and absorbing than the justly praised works of Tuchman and Fraser." --Philadelphia Inquirer

"A masterpiece of narrative, a story so absorbing it is as hard to put down as a fine novel." --Edward M. White, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Carolly Erickson is a great interpreter of history. She writes political history, but imbeds it into social, and even more, humane history. She's likely to be the Barbara Tuchman of her generation." --David Herlihy, Charles Lea Professor of History, Harvard University

."A vivid and eminently readable portrait of history's favorite Tudor, [Queen Elizabeth I]." --The New York Times Book Review


Marie Antoinette: The Journey
Antonia Fraser
0385489498
November 2002
Paperback
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Book Review
In the past, Antonia Fraser's bestselling histories and biographies have focused on people and events in her native England, from Mary Queen of Scots to Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot. Now she crosses the Channel to limn the life of France's unhappiest queen, bringing along her gift for fluent storytelling, vivid characterization, and evocative historical background. Marie Antoinette (1755-93) emerges in Fraser's sympathetic portrait as a goodhearted girl woefully undereducated and poorly prepared for the dynastic political intrigues into which she was thrust at age 14, when her mother, Empress Maria Theresa, married her off to the future Louis XVI to further Austria's interests in France. Far from being the licentious monster later depicted by the radicals who sent her to the guillotine at the height of...


Queen's Jewels
LESLIE FIELD
0810981726


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From Library Journal
The Queen's Jewels captures the opulence and splendor of the gems of English queens from Mary Queen of Scots to Elizabeth II. Organized alphabetically by gemstones, this historical and visual documentary elegantly displays the world's most famous jewelry collection intertwined with accounts of romance, intrigue, and politics. It offers an inside look at the tastes of each monarch, from Queen Mary's Delhi Durbar emeralds to Elizabeth II's diamond engagement ring designed by Prince Philip. The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor documents the final chapter of this century's best-known love story, that of the Engish king who abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson, and the sale of the historic collection of jewels he gave her. Rayner, however, curiously focuses on a biography of the Duke and the...


Peter the Great
Robert K. Massie
0345336194
January 1986
Mass Market Paperback
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Book Description
"Enthralling...As fascinating as any novel and more so than most!"
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Against the monumental canvas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and Russia, unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great. He brought Russia from the darkness of its own Middle Ages into the Enlightenment and transformed it into the power that has its legacy in the Russia of our own century.

Inside Flap Copy
"Enthralling...As fascinating as any novel and more so than most!"
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Against the monumental canvas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and Russia, unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great. He brought Russia from the darkness of its own Middle Ages into the Enlightenment and transformed it into...

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