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View Poll Results: What books would you like to read in September-December 2008?
The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1452 (Desmond Seward) 4 23.53%
Christina Queen of Sweden (Veronica Buckley) 3 17.65%
Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings (Amy Ruth Kelly) 5 29.41%
The Royal Physician's Visit: a Novel (Per Olov Enquist) 4 23.53%
The Wars of the Roses (Alison Weir) 4 23.53%
Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe (Nancy Goldstone) 5 29.41%
Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark (Karin Palshoj and Gitte Redder) 6 35.29%
The Hollow Crown (Penguin History of Britain) (Miri Rubin) 1 5.88%
Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England (Alison Weir) 1 5.88%
Henry II (English Monarchs) (W. L. Warren) 0 0%
1215: The Year of Magna Carta (Danny Danziger and John Gillingham) 2 11.76%
Queen Emma: a History of Power, Love, and Greed in 11th Century England (Harriet O'Brien) 3 17.65%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 06-01-2008, 11:14 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
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Suggestions and Poll for September-December 2008

This thread is to gather suggestions for book club choices for September-December 2008. In order to limit the number of suggestions and not have a poll with 100 choices, we're asking for suggestions of books on the following two topics: Scandinavian royalty and Medieval monarchy. Ideally we'll end up with two books on each topic for the four-month period, but if one topic is vastly more popular than the other, we could get a three-one split.

The books on Scandinavian royalty can include books about individual Scandinavian countries, books about Scandinavian monarchies as a whole, histories, biographies of contemporary or historical royal figures, or anything else that you happen to find interesting. Please stick with nonfiction this time around; we're planning to have a historical fiction topic in one of the upcoming periods.

The books on medieval monarchy can include biographies, books about wars and conquests, political histories, books about social or religious issues - again, just about anything with a royal-related theme as long is it's nonfiction. The cutoff date should be somewhere inthe 15th century, depending on the country. For books about medieval Britain, the cutoff would probably be the end of the Plantagenet dynasty.

The thread will be open for suggestions until 21 June, at which point we'll choose up to 12 of the suggested books and open a poll like the one we had for the May-August choices. The poll will run till the middle of July, when we'll announce the choices for September-December. That should give everyone plenty of time to find copies of the books they're interested in reading and to read the first one ahead of time if they want to.

When you suggest books, please don't just give titles and authors; give us some idea of what the book is about and why you'd be interested in reading it. Feel free to link to the Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or whatever) page where the book is listed. You can also paste the Amazon book description (not one of the copyrighted ones from Publisher's Weekly or whatever - the Amazon one itself) if you don't want to explain in your own words why you find the book interesting.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:11 AM
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Medieval History:

The Last Plantagenets
by Thomas B. Costain

Available everywhere
This book is the last in a series of books in regards English histoy. Mr. Costain is well known for his indepth scholarship on the subject that is still highly revered to this day. If you are interested in the Plantagenets this is the book to read along with The Conquering Family, The Magnificent Century, and The Three Edwards.

"No man writes popular history with greater understanding." (The New York Times)


The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453
by Desmond Seward

Amazon Link
"A remarkable and engrossing account of medieval England's epic conflict with France.
From 1337 to 1453 England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. Though it was a small, poor country, England for most of those "hundred years" won the battles, sacked the towns and castles, and dominated the war. The protagonists of the Hundred Years War are among the most colorful in European history: Edward III, the Black Prince; Henry V, who was later immortalized by Shakespeare; the splendid but inept John II, who died a prisoner in London; Charles V, who very nearly overcame England; and the enigmatic Charles VII, who at last drove the English out. Desmond Seward's critically-acclaimed account of the Hundred Years War brings to life all of the intrigue, beauty, and royal to-the-death-fighting of that legendary century-long conflict."

"Mr. Seward shows us all the famous sights of those roaring times . . . and illuminates them with an easy scholarship, a nice sense of detail . . . and a most agreeable clarity of style." --The New Yorker


The Angevin Empire
By John Gillingham

Amazon Link
Read this book when I was an undergrad, and I loved it!. The book is not that difficult to read even though it is quite in-depth. Scholarly reserach mixed with popular history is what makes this book so fascinating.

"At its greatest extent, the Angevin Empire stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees. It was ruled by a succession of princes -- Henry II, Richard I, and John -- who could claim to be the most powerful rulers in western Europe. For fifty years it was the dominant political entity and "English" and "French" history were inextricably woven together. This study looks at how these disparate territories came together, how they
were ruled, and whether they truly constituted an empire. The new edition of this groundbreaking work has been thoroughly revised and carries two new chapters."



Scandinavian Royalty:

Historical

Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric
by Veronica Buckley

Amazon Link
"One of the standouts in a long line of self-indulgent European royals, Christina, with her eccentricities, merits Buckley's close attention. From the moment of her birth in 1626, when she was mistakenly identified as a boy, to the time of her death in 1689, she ardently pursued an extraordinarily extravagant life characterized by an emotionally contrary nature. Many have speculated about her seemingly ambiguous sexuality, but, as Buckley discerns, her refusal to even contemplate marriage evidences both an independent temperament and an essentially asexual orientation."


Contemporary

Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark
by Karin Palshoj adn Gitte Redder

Amazon Link
An extremely easy book to read. The authors are far from being "in-depth" scholars (hence it wouldn't win a book prize for original research) who love to ask tough questions in regards to their subject; however, it is a cute fluff read for those who are interested in Mary. Overall, the book is a good intro course for those who may not know much about her and how she met Frederik.


Something About Mary: From a Girl About Town to Crown Princess
by Emma Tom

Amazon Link
Now this book is the complete opposite of the previous book, Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark. Simply put: It's kind of hilarious even though that was not the authors intention. So if you want to know more about Mary from a vastly different perspective than from Palshoj and Redder's book, Emma Tom's version is it.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:01 AM
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'Northern Crowns: The Kings of Modern Day Scandinavia'
by John van der Kiste.

Amazon link

Readers Comment:
This is an excellent book! It is full of important historical information, dates, names and descriptions of key figures in Royal history, and the like. If you are doing research on recent Scandinavian monarchs, this is a great place to begin! If you want to know how a Danish prince came to be the first 20th century King of Norway or how the son of a German Duke became King of Denmark, you can find out from this book. Detailed information on family relationships is included, and there are a number of highly entertaining anecdotes about several Kings in all three Scandinavian families.
The only problem I saw in this book is that it's language and grammer may sometimes be slightly intimidating; this is NOT a book for those accustomed to reading only in the vernacular. The occasional difficulty in the reading, though, is offset by the pure wealth of information offered. For a small and handleable book, it has a lot to offer. I believe it is one of the best like it on its subject.

Contence:
A collective biography-cum-history of the Kings of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and their consorts, from the mid-19th century onwards
How did Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, born in 1818 the fourth son of a little-known German prince, come to succeed to the throne of Denmark in 1863? What part did the Kings and their consorts of modern Scandinavia play in their countries' efforts to remain neutral throughout two world wars? How did they adapt to an increasingly democratic world during the turbulent years of the 20th century, and yet retain the respect and affection of their subjects?

In this study, the lives of the Kings of Denmark, Norway and Sweden are recounted, from the birth of the prince destined to become King Christian IX of Denmark, the so-called 'Grandfather of Europe' (whose children included Queen Alexandra, George I of the Hellenes and Marie Feodorovna, Empress of Russia), to the death of King Olav V of Norway in 1991. Among them are King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden, who married successively a granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, King Haakon VII of Norway, a son-in-law of King Edward VII and King-in-exile in Britain during the Second World War, and the ppoular, musical King Frederick IX of Denmark.

Attention is also paid to the political backgrounds of these monarchs' reigns; as well as examining the suspected pro-German leanings of King Gustav V of Sweden, the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 is described, as is Finland's brief experiment with monarchy in 1918 by choosing a brother-in-law of Kaiser Wilhelm II, a 'King who never was'. Illustrated with 24pp of plates.

Read more here.

Disadvantage IMO: only 176 pages, so not very in-depth.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:24 AM
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It is difficult to find literature about Scandinavian royals in English, but here are some suggestions:

The King's Physician, which was on the poll last time.

Early Kings of Norway: Amazon.co.uk: Early Kings of Norway: Thomas Carlyle: Books (At 80 pages, it's not the longest read…)

Born to Rule - Queen Maud of Norway. The book doesn't cover her very well, though.

Anna of Denmark, Queen of England - Amazon.co.uk: Anna of Denmark, Queen of England: A Cultural Biography (New Cultural Studies): Leeds Barroll: Books

Northern Crowns: the Kings of Modern Scandinavia by John van der Kiste. I don't think John v. d. Kiste is a good author, though, he does write on the subject.

Bernadotte: the crowned sargeant: Amazon.co.uk: Bernadotte: The Crowned Sergeant: Alan Palmer: Books

The amazing career of Bernadotte: Amazon.co.uk: The Amazing Career of Bernadotte 1763 to 1844: Sir Dunbar Plunket Barton: Books
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  #5  
Old 06-02-2008, 11:29 AM
Imperial Majesty
 
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Although I specified that the choices should be restricted to nonfiction, I think A Royal Physician's Visit, as recommended by Norwegianne, would be an appropriate choice. The title does say it's a novel, but to me it seemed to be a pretty factual account of the events surrounding the affair between Struensee and Queen Caroline Matilda. I found it really interesting, although the atmosphere it creates is a pretty unpleasant one. However, I think the atmosphere in the Danish court at the time really was unpleasant, and this book strikes me as one of the best accounts of the problems faced by supporters of the Enlightenment as they tried to overcome the combination of religious superstition and social conservatism in their attempts to modernise Europe.

I'd definitely recommend this book as one of the choices.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:01 PM
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I had this book in mind for Medieval History :
Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life
by Alison Weir

Amazon Link

From Amazon.com
"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. This results in a fresh and thoughtful perspective on the energetic life of a determined and ambitious woman living with the sexism, excesses, and violence of a society in which the word of a single man could condemn thousands to death. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a vivacious but scholarly book with extensive notes and references, giving an objective and rich account of the staunch Eleanor, her feuding family and her complex and unstable world."

"An alluringly candid portrait of this most public yet elusive of medieval women."
--The Boston Globe

I found it interesting since Eleanor did marry both, King of France and King of England. She was a determinant element to the war between the two kingdoms.
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  #7  
Old 06-02-2008, 01:19 PM
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That one looks interesting. Eleanor is always a fascinating subject for a study of Europe in the Middle Ages.

Here's another one by Alison Weir:

The Wars of the Roses

This is a complicated period in English history, and she does a good job of cutting through some of the knots and presenting the story in a very understandable way.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:26 PM
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Yes, I saw this one too Elspeth but I hesitated to purpose it since it's a little later than the end of the Plantagenet dynasty which should be the cutoff. (Or should the House of Lancaster be considered as the continuity of the Plantagenets ?)
Looks very interesting though (and finally a chance for me to understand what happened during that period in England )
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:15 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
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Well, Richard III is often referred to as the last Plantagenet king, so I was including the Lancaster-York stuff in Medieval Monarchy. Might be a bit of a stretch, though.

TOTAL coincidence that it happens to be my favourite era in British royal history, of course...
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:54 PM
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I really like this book. I've already started it, and it's a really good read thus far! And perfect for those feminists among us!

Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe

Amazon.com: Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe: Nancy Goldstone: Books
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  #11  
Old 06-04-2008, 12:59 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
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I've looked at that one in Barnes & Noble and thought about getting it. Sounds as though I should succumb to the temptation next time I'm over there.
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empress View Post
I really like this book. I've already started it, and it's a really good read thus far! And perfect for those feminists among us!

Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe

Amazon.com: Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe: Nancy Goldstone: Books
Have you read the reviews at Amazon? There seem to be some major mistakes in this book - mistakes in geography, mistakes in history, Additionally one reviewer appears to find it overwhelmed by names, but a lack of information of their roles in the lives of the queens. Wonder what you think about these remarks?
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:08 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
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Unsurprisingly, I succumbed to the temptation...

Trouble is that I have a bunch of other books that I need to read first.

We've still got a couple of weeks where people can make suggestions; looking forward to some more titles that we can put into the poll, or more comments about the suggested titles.
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  #14  
Old 06-08-2008, 02:38 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
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And to get the ball rolling again, here's an overview of medieval England from 1307 to 1485:

The Hollow Crown by Miri Rubin

Amazon description:

The extraordinary world so brilliantly re-created in The Hollow Crown was a turbulent and dangerous one. England was racked by famine, rebellion, civil war, and plague—with the descent of the Black Death and the horrific, ultimately futile bloodbath of the Hundred Years War—and yet, despite the turmoil, this period left a magnificent artistic and literary legacy, creating a recognizable spoken and written form of the English language. Ranging from peasant to king, from field to fortress—including the events that are part of the modern world’s collective imagination, not least through Shakespeare’s history plays—The Hollow Crown brings the texture of late medieval England to life.

This book is part of the Penguin History of Britain series. It ties the fates of royalty in the Middle Ages to the events in the wider population; it starts with the aftermath of the Black Death and then recounts the succession of diseases, famines, and wars that characterise the period. There are some criticisms of the writing style in the Amazon reviews, and the book seems to me to be rather densely written, so it won't be an easy read. But it looks pretty comprehensive to me, and it gives an overview of a complicated and turbulent couple of centuries.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:00 PM
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Good choice, Elspeth.

Here are a couple of early to mid- Medieval history books:


England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225 by Robert Bartlett

Amazon Link
Quote:
This lively and far-reaching account of the politics, religion, and culture of England in the century and a half after the Norman Conquest provides a vivid picture of everyday existence, and increases our understanding of all aspects of medieval society. There are colourful details of the everyday life of ordinary men and women, with their views on the past, on sexuality, on animals, on death, the undead, and the occult. The result is a fascinating and comprehensive portrayal of a period which begins with conquest and ends in assimilation.


Henry II by W.L. Warren

Amazon Linik
Quote:
Henry II was an enigma to contemporaries, and has excited widely divergent judgments ever since. Dramatic incidents of his reign, such as his quarrel with Archbishop Becket and his troubled relations with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his sons, have attracted the attention of historical novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers, but with no unanimity of interpretation. That he was a great king there can be no doubt. Yet his motives and intentions are not easy to divine, and it is Professor Warren's contention that concentration on the great crises of the reign can lead to distortion. This book is therefore a comprehensive reappraisal of the reign based, with rare understanding, on contemporary sources; it provides a coherent and persuasive revaluation of the man and the king, and is, in itself an eloquent and impressive achievement.


This must surely rank as one of the classic historical biographies...it will hold its place not only as a work of reference but as a piece of historical literature."--Observer

"W. L. Warren has written a life of the great Angevin whose scholarship and fair-mindedness should make it the classic account for the next fifty years. . . . Dr. Warren's monumental celebration is made to last."--The Times

"The result is masterly. . . . it is alive all through, a fine work by a professional historian who can write and has an eye for significant detail, without burying us under it."--Sunday Telegraph




Richard I by John Gillingham

Amazon Link
Quote:
In this new account of Richard the Lionheart`s reign, its leading authority John Gillingham scrutinizes the king`s fluctuating reputation over the centuries and provides a convincing revised interpretation. Neither a feckless knight-errant nor a neglectful king, Richard I was in reality a masterful and businesslike ruler, the author argues.

"Unique among the kings of England, Richard I played a leading role in the great events of world history - in his case the struggle for control of the Middle East by two great religions, Islam and Christianity. No other monarch took on a challenge remotely comparable with that of the Third Crusade: taking a fleet and army to the eastern end of the Mediterranean and facing down an adversary as formidable as the great Saladin."--BOOK JACKET.

"Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century historians such as Hume, Gibbon and Stubbs criticized Richard for his neglect of domestic government and policy, and cast him as a careless ruler and bad husband."--BOOK JACKET.

"Harnessing the latest sources and interpretations, John Gillingham provides a new assessment of Richard I, looking at what matters in history as well as what matters in legend."--BOOK JACKET.
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:36 PM
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How about Christina of Sweden?

I have always wanted to learn more about this lady.

Now this book sounds interesting, but is probably far too expensive:

Rome and the Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia: The Age of Gustavus Adolphus and Queen Christina of Sweden, 1622-1656: The Age of Gustavus Adolphus and ... in the History of Christian Thought,)
von Oskar Garstein (Autor)
Amazon.de: Rome and the Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia: The Age of Gustavus Adolphus and Queen Christina of Sweden, 1622-1656: The Age of Gustavus Adolphus and ... in the History of Christian Thought,): Oskar Garstein: English Books

Alternatives:
Christina of Sweden (Taschenbuch)
von I. a. Taylor (Autor)
Amazon.de: Christina of Sweden: I. a. Taylor: English Books

Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric (Gebundene Ausgabe)
von Veronica Buckley (Autor)
Amazon.de: Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric: Veronica Buckley: English Books

Unfortunatly I have never heard of any of the authors and don't know about their credibility / research.
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:00 PM
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The Buckley book was in the poll for May-August and gathered a fistful of votes, so it certainly looks like a possibility for the next poll.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:28 PM
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Here are Amazon links and product descriptions for the 12 choices.

1. Amazon.com: The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453: Desmond Seward: Books

A remarkable and engrossing account of medieval England's epic conflict with France. From 1337 to 1453 England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. Though it was a small, poor country, England for most of those "hundred years" won the battles, sacked the towns and castles, and dominated the war. The protagonists of the Hundred Years War are among the most colorful in European history: Edward III, the Black Prince; Henry V, who was later immortalized by Shakespeare; the splendid but inept John II, who died a prisoner in London; Charles V, who very nearly overcame England; and the enigmatic Charles VII, who at last drove the English out. Desmond Seward's critically-acclaimed account of the Hundred Years War brings to life all of the intrigue, beauty, and royal to-the-death-fighting of that legendary century-long conflict.

2. Amazon.com: Christina Queen of Sweden: Veronica Buckley: Books

She was born on a bitterly cold December night in 1626 and, in the candlelight, mistakenly declared a boy. On her father's death six years later, she inherited the Swedish throne. She was tutored by Descartes, yet could swear like the roughest soldier. She was painted a lesbian, a prostitute, a hermaphrodite, and an atheist; in that tumultuous age, it is hard to determine which was the most damning label. She was learned but restless, progressive yet self-indulgent; her leadership was erratic, her character unpredictable. Sweden was too narrow for her ambition. No sooner had she enjoyed the lavish celebrations of her officialcoronation at twenty-three than she abdicated, converting to Catholicism (an act of almost foolhardy independence and political challenge) and leaving her cold homeland behind for an extravagant new life in Rome. Christina, Queen of Sweden, longed fatally for adventure. Freed from her crown, Christina cut a breath-taking path across Europe: spending madly, searching for a more prestigious throne to scale, stirring trouble wherever she went. Supported and encouraged in turn by the pope, the king of Spain, and France's powerful Cardinal Mazarin, Christina settled at the luxurious Palazzo Farnese, where she established a lavish salon for Rome's artists and intellectuals. More than once the cross-dressing queen was forced to leave town until a scandal died down. She loved to buckle on a sword and swagger like the men whose company she adored, but the greatest mystery in her life was the true nature of her elusive sexuality, which biographer Veronica Buckley explores with sensitivity and rigor. For a time it seemed there was nothing this extraordinary woman mightfear attempting, until a bloody tragedy of her own making foreshadowed her downfall. Pairing painstaking research with a sparkling narrative voice and unerring sense of the age, Veronica Buckley reclaims a protean life that had been preserved mostly as myth. Christina was a child of her time, and her time was one of great change: Europe stood at a crossroads where religion and science, antiquity and modernity, peace and war all met. Christina took what she wanted from each to create the life she most desired, and she dazzled all who met her.

3. Amazon.com: Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings (Harvard Paperbacks): Amy Ruth Kelly: Books

The story of that amazingly influential and still somewhat mysterious woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has the dramatic interest of a novel. She was at the very center of the rich culture and clashing politics of the twelfth century. Richest marriage prize of the Middle Ages, she was Queen of France as the wife of Louis VII, and went with him on the exciting and disastrous Second Crusade. Inspiration of troubadours and trouvères, she played a large part in rendering fashionable the Courts of Love and in establishing the whole courtly tradition of medieval times. Divorced from Louis, she married Henry Plantagenet, who became Henry II of England. Her resources and resourcefulness helped Henry win his throne, she was involved in the conflict over Thomas Becket, and, after Henry's death, she handled the affairs of the Angevin empire with a sagacity that brought her the trust and confidence of popes and kings and emperors.
Having been first a Capet and then a Plantagenet, Queen Eleanor was the central figure in the bitter rivalry between those houses for the control of their continental domains--a rivalry that excited the whole period: after Henry's death, her sons, Richard Coeur-de-Lion and John "Lackland" (of Magna Charta fame), fiercely pursued the feud up to and even beyond the end of the century. But the dynastic struggle of the period was accompanied by other stirrings: the intellectual revolt, the struggle between church and state, the secularization of literature and other arts, the rise of the distinctive urban culture of the great cities. Eleanor was concerned with all the movements, closely connected with all the personages; and she knew every city from London and Paris to Byzantium, Jerusalem, and Rome. Miss Kelly's story of the queen's long life--the first modern biography brings together more authentic information about her than has ever been assembled before and reveals in Eleanor a greatness of vision, an intelligence, and a political sagacity that have been missed by those who have dwelt on her caprice and frivolity. It also brings to life the whole period in whose every aspect Eleanor and her four kings were so intimately and influentially involved. Miss Kelly tells Eleanor's absorbing story as it has long waited to be told--with verve and style and a sense of the quality of life in those times, and yet with a scrupulous care for the historic facts.

4. Amazon.com: The Royal Physician's Visit: A Novel: Per Olov Enquist, Tiina Nunnally: Books

An international sensation, The Royal Physician's Visit magnificently recasts the dramatic era of Danish history when Johann Friedrich Struensee -- court physician to mad young King Christian -- stepped through an aperture in history and became the holder of absolute power in Denmark. His is a gripping tale of power, sex, love, and the life of the mind, and it is superbly rendered here by one of Sweden's most acclaimed writers. A charismatic German doctor and brilliant intellectual, Struensee used his influence to introduce hundreds of reforms in Denmark in the 1760s. He had a tender and erotic affair with Queen Caroline Mathilde, who was unsatisfied by her unstable, childlike husband. Yet Struensee lacked the subtlety of a skilled politician and the cunning to choose enemies wisely; these flaws proved fatal, and would eventually lead to his tragic demise.


5. Amazon.com: The Wars of the Roses: Alison Weir: Books

Lancaster and York. For much of the fifteenth century, these two families were locked in battle for control of the British throne. Kings were murdered and deposed. Armies marched on London. Old noble names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands. The war between the royal Houses of Lancaster and York, the longest and most complex in British history, profoundly altered the course of the monarchy.
Alison Weir, one of the foremost authorities on the British royal family, brings brilliantly to life both the war itself and the historic figures who fought it on the great stage of England. The Wars of the Roses is history at its very best--swift and compelling, rich in character, pageantry, and drama, and vivid in its re-creation of an astonishing, dangerous, and often grim period of history.


6. Amazon.com: Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe: Nancy Goldstone: Books

Four Queens is a rich pageant of glamour, intrigue, and feminine power at a time when women were thought to have played limited roles. In thirteenth-century Europe, four sisters from a single family—Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia, and Beatrice of Provençe—rose from obscurity to become the queens of, respectively, France, England, Germany, and Sicily. All four were beautiful, cultured, and ambitious, and their stories offer a window into the era of chivalry, crusades, poetry, knights, and monarchs that will appeal to fans of Alison Weir and Antonia Fraser.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:36 PM
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7. Amazon.com: Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark: Karin Palshoj, Gitte Redder: Books

The modern-day, real-life fairy tale of the young Australian commoner who became the Crown Princess of Denmark is detailed in this definitive biography. When Mary Donaldson walked into the Slip Inn restaurant in Sydney on the first Saturday of the 2000 Olympic Games, she met Frederik, the Crown Prince of Denmark, by chance, and her life was never the same again. The world watched as the Prince wooed Mary, and women everywhere swooned as Frederik shed a tear as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. This biography chronicles the incredible story of the thoroughly modern and elegant woman who has risen to the formidable challenge of being the Crown Princess of Denmark with grace and style.

8. Amazon.com: The Hollow Crown (Penguin History of Britain): Miri Rubin: Books

The extraordinary world so brilliantly re-created in The Hollow Crown was a turbulent and dangerous one. England was racked by famine, rebellion, civil war, and plague—with the descent of the Black Death and the horrific, ultimately futile bloodbath of the Hundred Years War—and yet, despite the turmoil, this period left a magnificent artistic and literary legacy, creating a recognizable spoken and written form of the English language. Ranging from peasant to king, from field to fortress—including the events that are part of the modern world’s collective imagination, not least through Shakespeare’s history plays—The Hollow Crown brings the texture of late medieval England to life.

9. Amazon.com: Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England: Alison Weir: Books

Isabella arrived in London in 1308, the spirited twelve-year-old daughter of King Philip IV of France. Her marriage to the heir to England’s throne was designed to heal old political wounds between the two countries, and in the years that followed, she would become an important figure, a determined and clever woman whose influence would come to last centuries. But Queen Isabella’s political machinations led generations of historians to malign her, earning her a reputation as a ruthless schemer and an odious nickname, “the She-Wolf of France.”
Now the acclaimed author of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Alison Weir, reexamines the life of Isabella of England, history’s other notorious and charismatic medieval queen. Praised for her fair looks, the newly wed Isabella was denied the attentions of Edward II, a weak, sexually ambiguous monarch with scant taste for his royal duties. As their marriage progressed, Isabella was neglected by her dissolute husband and slighted by his favored male courtiers. Humiliated and deprived of her income, her children, and her liberty, Isabella escaped to France, where she entered into a passionate affair with Edward II’s mortal enemy, Roger Mortimer. Together, Isabella and Mortimer led the only successful invasion of English soil since the Norman Conquest of 1066, deposing Edward and ruling in his stead as co-regents for Isabella’s young son, Edward III. Fate, however, was soon to catch up with Isabella and her lover.
Many mysteries and legends have been woven around Isabella’s story. She was long condemned as an accessory to Edward II’s brutal murder in 1327, but recent research has cast doubt on whether that murder even took place.
Isabella’s reputation, then, rests largely on the prejudices of monkish chroniclers and prudish Victorian scholars. Here Alison Weir gives a startling, groundbreaking new perspective on Isabella, in this first full biography in more than 150 years. In a work of extraordinary original research, Weir effectively strips away centuries of propaganda, legend, and romantic myth, and reveals a truly remarkable woman who had a profound influence upon the age in which she lived and the history of western Europe.
Engaging, vibrant, alive with breathtaking detail and unforgettable characters, Queen Isabella is biographical history at its finest.


10. Amazon.com: Henry II (English Monarchs): W. L. Warren: Books

Henry II was an enigma to contemporaries, and has excited widely divergent judgments ever since. Dramatic incidents of his reign, such as his quarrel with Archbishop Becket and his troubled relations with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his sons, have attracted the attention of historical novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers, but with no unanimity of interpretation. That he was a great king there can be no doubt. Yet his motives and intentions are not easy to divine, and it is Professor Warren's contention that concentration on the great crises of the reign can lead to distortion. This book is therefore a comprehensive reappraisal of the reign based, with rare understanding, on contemporary sources; it provides a coherent and persuasive revaluation of the man and the king, and is, in itself an eloquent and impressive achievement.

11. Amazon.com: 1215: The Year of Magna Carta: Danny Danziger, John Gillingham: Books

Surveying a broad landscape through a narrow lens, 1215 sweeps readers back eight centuries in an absorbing portrait of life during a time of global upheaval, the ripples of which can still be felt today. At the center of this fascinating period is the document that has become the root of modern freedom: the Magna Carta. It was a time of political revolution and domestic change that saw the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart, King John, and -- in legend -- Robin Hood all make their marks on history.
The events leading up to King John's setting his seal to the famous document at Runnymede in June 1215 form this rich and riveting narrative that vividly describes everyday life from castle to countryside, from school to church, and from hunting in the forest to trial by ordeal. For instance, women wore no underwear (though men did), the average temperatures were actually higher than they are now, and the austere kitchen at Westminster Abbey allowed each monk two pounds of meat and a gallon of ale per day. Broad in scope and rich in detail, 1215 ingeniously illuminates what may have been the most important year of our history.

12. Amazon.com: Queen Emma: A History of Power, Love, and Greed in 11th-Century England: Harriet O'Brien: Books

Emma, one of England’s most remarkable queens, made her mark on a nation beset by Viking raiders at the end of the Dark Ages. At the center of a triangle of Anglo Saxons, Vikings, and Normans all jostling for control of England, Emma was a political pawn who became an unscrupulous manipulator. Regarded by her contemporaries as a generous Christian patron, an admired regent, and a Machiavellian mother, Emma was, above all, a survivor: hers was a life marked by dramatic reversals of fortune, all of which she overcame.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:07 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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I have to tell you, I'm cheating! I already have Elenor of Aquitane but I've never read it!
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