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Olivier

Olivier thouare sur loire, France Member Since 2012
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  • "A Good Overview of Early British Kings"

    Overall

    The book "A History of Britain: Volume 1" covers British dynastic rulers from the time of the end of the Roman Empire until the end of the life of Elisabeth I.



    As such, for the lay public, such as I, this is a perfectly-sized overview of all the British kings that one has heard about but that one will probably never read a biography of (with the exception of Henry VIII and Elisabeth I).



    The only negative to this otherwise excellent book, is that the author begins with a pondering and philosophical introduction that rambles on for 26 minutes and almost made me stop listening. But I did not, and I am glad as the rest of the book is clear and unpretentious, even very humourous at times.

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    A History of Britain: Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Simon Schama
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (31)

    The story of Britain from the earliest settlements in 3000BC to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney. From the successes and failures of the monarchy to the daily life of a Roman soldier stationed on Hadrian's Wall, Schama gives a vivid, fascinating account of the many different stories and struggles that lie behind the growth of our island nation.

    Olivier says: "A Good Overview of Early British Kings"
  • "Excellent Book, Misleading Title"

    Overall

    The title "The Children of Henry VIII" was probably chosen to tie in to the book "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", and as a marketing gimmick. It's too bad as it might discourage people who want a good interesting yet serious telling of the transition from Henry VIII to Elisabeth I.



    This book starts at the death of Henry VIII and ends with the accession to the throne of Elisabeth I, and provides an excellently woven history of these turbulent years. Edward VI, Catherine Grey (not a child of Henry VIII), and Mary Tudor, may not justify a general public biography each, but combined and intertwined this is well worthy of spending 15+ hours of one's time. If you ever wondered what happened after Henry VIII, this book is for you.



    The history is fascinating, the story is well written and the text is well read.

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    The Children of Henry VIII

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alison Weir
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (14)

    New York Times best-selling author Alison Weir is one of the most popular chroniclers of British and European royal history. In this fascinating book she sheds light on the scheming, backstabbing and brutality that plagued England after Henry VIII's death. Filled with remarkable and sometimes shocking details, The Children of Henry VIII is an arresting narrative that brings the past to life and infuses it with all the flair of a riveting novel.

    Olivier says: "Excellent Book, Misleading Title"
  • "A Lesser-Known But Fascinating King"

    Overall

    Not having been to school in the UK, I had never heard of Henry VII, and purchased this title on a whim, based on other reviewers' praise for this audiobook. I do not regret it.



    On the one hand it is a perfect "prequel" to the life of Henry VIII and sheds much light into the context in which Henry VIII became king (in particular his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the immense wealth he found when acceding to the throne, and the wild popularity he enjoyed at the beginning of his reign).



    On the other hand it depicts Henry VII, an immensely interesting king in his own right. At a time when all European monarchs were cash-strapped due to their incessant wars, Henry VII studiously avoided wars and became the only cash-rich king of Europe. His attention to details (micromanagement) was probably also a plus as compared to other kings who let councilors run amok.



    The book is a bit frustrating at times as it often doubles-back to tell the story of a new protagonist, just at the time when we are getting to a crucial point (such as the wedding of Arthur to Catherine of Aragon).



    One point I liked about the book is that it did not end abruptly with the death of Henry VII, and goes on for about 30 minutes with the aftermath of his reign. Having had other biographies (Jean Edward Smith's FDR and Eisenhower come to mind) stop within half a page of the death of the biography's subject, it was nice to have the author's take on the transition to come.



    The reader is excellent and nicely emphasizes the quoted, old English, parts of the text, so that one always knows what is a quote and what is the author's text.

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    Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Thomas Penn
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors - the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty - filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII. Near the turn of the sixteenth century, England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry Tudor clambered to the top of the heap, a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England's crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for 24 years.

    Marcus says: "Classy reconstruction of the period"
  1. A History of Britain: Vol...
  2. The Children of Henry VIII
  3. Winter King: The Dawn of ...
  4. .

A fascinating insight into World War I

A Great Introduction To The Great War

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    • UNABRIDGED (9 mins)
    • By Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Susan Burch, Hannah Joyner
    • Narrated By Corey Johnson
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    • UNABRIDGED (8 mins)
    • By Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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