[Review] The Kings and Queens of England The Biography by David Loades

Title: The Kings and Queens of England The Biography
Author: David Loades
Publisher: Amberley Publishing August 20, 2013
Genre: Non-fiction, Kings and Queens of England, Royalty, British History, British History Reading Challenge 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 544, 166 illustrations
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Amberley Publishing for the purpose of review.

Link for more information at Amberley Publishing.

Website for David Loades.

The Kings and Queens of England is an encyclopedic biography. Beginning in 925 AD with Athelstan's reign in Mercia and followed by his reign in England 927 AD; through to our current era of Elizabeth II and her family. David Loades, mentions three times in the introduction, this book is not a "political narrative." "This is not a constitutional history, but essentially a narrative of the lives of men and women, because until comparatively recent times England was a personal monarchy." The introduction in brief, shares information on the period of 500 to 927 AD. These were the years following the Roman occupation, the invading Anglo-Saxon's and Vikings. Sometime in the 500s the Anglo-Saxon's settled in England; the original inhabitants, the Briton people, moved "farther west." The Anglo-Saxon's established themselves into individual kingdoms, not a one united kingdom of England until Athelstan. Although the early historical years are written in brief summary, it is a fascinating and solid introduction.
Athelstan
Pros:
1. I feel as if I've taken a short, but extensive coarse on British history. At no point did the information become dry and brittle. I felt intrigued, curiosity satisfied and entertained.
2. Easy to understand and grasp. Loades is a born teacher, meaning he has the talent for teaching information in such a way that a person of any education level can grasp.
3. At times I wished to hear Loades audibly speak, because the sentence structure is fluid and engaging.
4. I never felt Loades was bias in his observations of historical figures. The closing remarks on Richard III showed the "probable bias of the Tudor's," as well as Richard's "illegal act."
5. I loved the added information on personal habits and twerks of the kings and queens, for example:
King James I of England. "He was physically ungainly, untidy in his personal habits, and his court was crude, boisterous and chaotic." By sharing this information I'm given a humanity on royalty which is often unspoken.
6. During the reign of King George III, America was in rebellion against England; it was interesting to read the other side of history.
7. Reading The Kings and Queens of England, has led me to want to read more books on the following people or historical periods: Oliver Cromwell, The English Civil War, Edward I, George III, war with American colonies, Jane Grey, Prime Ministers (all of them), George V, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

Cons:
I did not want the book to end.

This is the first book read for two reading challenges:
European Reading Challenge,
British History Reading Challenge. 


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