©2006 David Starkey; (P)2007 W F Howes Ltd.
This is a thoroughly engrossing history of the British monarchy from the 15th century Wars of the Roses to the Victorian era. Frankly, it is more of a survey than a comprehensive study as no author could be expected to adequately review and analyze more than 400 years of British history in a single work. Thus, some of the portraits of monarchs are rather hastily sketched. But it is particularly strong in Starkey's study of the Tudor era, his specialty as a historian. Nevertheless, the book is full of richly drawn descriptions of virtually every holder (and pretender) to the throne over four centuries, including a fascinating study of the Cromwellian "republic." It also traces with remarkable clarity the development of the British system into the present era as the monarchy slowly lost its ability to control events with the growth of that new political power center, Parliament--a development not lost on observers in 13 North American colonies throughout the 18th century. "Monarchy" is intelligently written and beautifully narrated by the author. It deserves a place in the library of anyone even remotely curious about the origins of the modern world.
Not so much a history of the lives of individual monarchs, as a history of the institution of monarchy itself. Covering the period from Henry VII to Victoria, this book shows how the British monarchy has been instrumental in shaping the modern world.
Some of the individual kings and queens receive rather brief biographical sketches, but this is more a story of their most notable successes - and spectacular failures - than of the minutiae of their daily lives. An interesting theme is the way in which even the spectacular failures (eg. much of James II's reign) are extremely important - because they provided the impetus for many of the social and political changes which led to our modern forms of democracy.
I always enjoy hearing the author read his or her own work, and Starkey's characteristic narration is definitely no exception - he has an obvious passion for his field of study, and the way his tone rises with excitement and descends into an almost reverent hush is very well-suited to the weighty topics he discusses.
This book was one of my first and still one of my very favourite Audible audiobooks, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in history.
You'll be hooked
This is a lot of history and it would be easy to forget who is who. Starkey keeps the players sharp in the memory. I think the book is amazing.
Definitely makes me want to learn more about English History.
A wonderful history of the British monarchy, very comprehensive and detailed. A lot of surprising information on lesser known kings and the stories that go with them
David Starkey narrating is own book! Having watched the video series, which I enjoyed immensely. I was delighted to find David reading the book. It adds great touch and really ties it all together with his video series.
He Oxford accent and his way with words bring a regal touch to the listening experience.
I really learned a lot! I do plan on listening to it again, since there is so much to take in.
Would love to hear David narrate more of his books! Thank you for the experience.
"I loved it."
Excellent book. Informative, but not dry. Utterly riveting. More like a story, than like dry history. And I loved the way it was read.
"Fascinating Review of our Monarchy"
David Starkey always goes into great detail about the historical characters he has researched and he tells their story in a no fuss, direct but highly entertaining way which is accurate and believable.
This is not a fictional novel, so all the kings and queens are interesting. Henry VIII is always fascinating of course, but it is also nice to hear about those monarchs who are less well known
David brings them all to life - he speaks in a lively, dramatic style which involves the listener
I just wanted to keep on listening!
"Mr Starkey does it again."
I always enjoy David Starkeys work regardless of the media its in.Once again he meets my expectations.Highly recommended.
"Interesting approach to the history of monarchy"
The angle chosen by the author goes at the core of the issues raised by power: how to get to the top and how to stay there in an ever-changing world by creating and adapting influence, status, image, control ... under the notion of "royal family"
The book is very erudite, filled with pertinent comments, in a clear structure that allows us to keep the thread through centuries of British monarchy.
It is a pleasure to hear him read his own book. David Starkey is a very good orator and speaker and it is commendable he did the narration himself.
To stay a monarch, you need to reinvent oneself constantly while always giving the impression you are immemorial and imperturbable.
The decisions made by kings and queens hundreds of years ago still affecting our lives today. It was absolutely fascinating and told in an engaging way.
learning about Henry VII.
No - but I would like to!
Yes, I listen on my walk to and from work, and I couldn't wait for the next chance I would get to listen!
This is the first non-fiction book I have listened to, and I absolutely loved it. It was very much an impulse buy, but not one I regret!
It's a history, this question is irrelevant.
It's a HISTORY not an Agatha Christie. Why are you asking me these questions?
Yes, but it would have been too long.
As always, Starkey is a good performer and an engaging and of course highly knowlegeable writer.
"You couldn't make it up"
ignorant if our own history I felt a need to explore it in a way that would not bore me. This is it!
If it wasn't based on well researched facts the story is one that is hardly believable.
read with such authority by the leading authority I enjoyed it so much that I am going to listen again to commit more to memory.
"A brilliant and addictive listen!"
The narrative style keeps you spell bound, chapter by chapter.
The story of the Monarchy in England and subsequently the United Kingdom is incredible. But it takes a great author and historian to deliver the content in such a compelling manner. Many thanks.
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