You think you know her story. You've read the Brothers Grimm, you've watched the Disney cartoons, you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But the lives of real princesses couldn't be more different. Sure, many were graceful and benevolent leaders - but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev murdered thousands of men, and Princess Rani Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back. Princesses Behaving Badly offers mini-biographies of all these princesses and dozens more. It's a fascinating listen for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.
©2013 Linda Rodriguez Mcrobbie (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Campbell makes each princess's story engaging, and makes it crystal clear that while some did, indeed, behave badly--even inhumanely--others were just rebelling against impossible strictures...it's Campbell's impeccable narration that turns the book into something special." (AudioFile)
"Princess, diva, pain in the ass - all terms that resonate throughout Princesses Behaving Badly, which tells of royal terrors who make modern gossip queens seem as demure as Snow White." (New York Post)
"History has produced some very real, very dangerous ladies who make their movie and book counterparts seem lame by comparison. From Nazi spy to bloodthirsty killer, these women were not meek in any way. Heck, one of them even wore a mask of raw veal! You'll find out all this and more in this little book of miniature biographies." (Geeks of Doom)
Think of this as the ultra-fast introduction to literally dozens of history's most famous, notorious, and interesting women. If you're looking for in-depth, move on. These mini-biographies are, instead, tailored to giving only the highlights. The result is that you learn a lot in a short period of time, and chances are there are many of these that will inspire you to dig deeper. The downside is that if you listen to this book in one or two sittings, some of these people will probably blend together. Solution: listen again. This is the no-frills, no subtleties, no boring bits of history for those times when you just need a lighter read. As much as I love the in-depth and nuanced tomes, sometimes I just need something fun. This book fits the bill.
"Princesses Researched Well"
The author's aim in this book is to tear away the pinky froth of the Disney princess and replace it with, in most cases, a rather ugly reality. It's written with a witty tone, and somber when it is needed. Unlike some of the other collections I have read, it doesn't seem just to recycle old history, but uses current research as well. I'm anal retentive about history, and getting it right, and I found little to quibble with over this. Its spans a good millennia in the telling, but not chronologically rather by interesting categories, such as the warrior princesses. It's certainly not for young girls, maybe a mature teenage with a penchant for history.
"Worth a Listen"
I do think I will listen again. I feel like I may not have absorbed all the stories. I enjoyed listening the first time, and I expect I will enjoy it again.
The book is grouped by topic, with stories of different women in various countries and time periods per topic. Interesting information, well conveyed.
"My new favorite"
The narrator does an excellent job and the content is very interesting.
The warrior princesses. It as all fantastic
The same as the book
One of my new favorite audiobooks. I definitely recommend it.
"ACTUALLY PRETTY INTERESTING"
"A Great Ride"
I read a lot of different kinds of books, mostly historical. This book revealed a plethora of interesting women that history has overlooked because they were on the "shady side" of the truth. A lot of the books that I've listened to recently are about non-existent people who claim to be close intimates of actual famous historical figures. Like a fake lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn who was privy to secrets that somehow Philippa Gregory or Alison Weir missed. Or a fictional private eye in the early 20th century who ran with people like Huey Long, Amelia Earhart, President John Kennedy, Al Capone, Charles Lindbergh, Jimmy Hoffa, and Marilyn Monroe. I'd like to see the authors of those fictional history books use this bit of documented info about one of these "Princesses" and weave an interesting story that is both enlightening and entertaining.
She has a pleasant non-regional voice that adds a great tongue-in-cheek quality to the story. You always get the impression that Ms. Campbell is "thisclose" to bursting out laughing over some of the outrageous antics of the "Princesses" and the gullibility of the people they make fools of.
Naw! It's not that kind of story. There ARE moments when I wanted to giggle though.
Maybe, if they wanted a book about women leading armies into battle or ruling countries at a time when there weren't many.
I just answered this question.
There are a lot of pretty interesting women mentioned.
The title implied to me that there would be stories about torrid affairs or horror stories of murder and betrayal. Instead it was just a book about women who ruled kingdoms or amassed armies. Not a bad book I guess, just not what I was hoping for. The narrator was great though.
"Good for traveling"
Book was good for driving. Not too much to get caught up in, but still interesting. Chapters are very short.
"love love love"
loved this book. so many amazing stories that do not glamorize what it is/was like to be princess
"Disney, this is not"
Amazing, fantastic, captivating.
This is a history of amazing women who kicked butt, took names, and held their heads high. I've heard of quite a few of these women, but there were so many others I couldn't sit still listening. Talk about impressive! These women were battling societal norms and killing those who stood in their way. While I don't envy their lives its a shame history initially wrote their stories so placidly.
"Bite-sized windows into overlooked bits of history"
This was a fantastic collection of stories about some of the world's most notable, notorious, brave, forgotten, spoiled, crazy, and royal women. Each mini-biography was not only the story of a princess, but a window into her culture and place in history.
Most of the tales a grouped together by a theme, warriors, crazies, floozies, etc. The narrative is never dense, and the passages are in nice bite size pieces. I think some of my favorite women were some of the earliest stories, many if which were half myth and lacking in much historical record - like Boudicca or the Scandinavian princess turned pirate. It was also really interesting to hear about figures outside if Western Europe, like those of the Asian dynasties and the Aztecs - cultures sadly omitted from most standard history curriculums, certainly mine. Turns out I barely knew more about the Hapsbergs and the Tang, I've got some brushing up to do. It was kinda funny to hear stories that overlapped into this era too, some royal ladies from the last 50 years or so... I had never heard any of those stories, and hardly considered the fact that princesses still exist in this day and age - if for no other reason than because they're rare and removed from my world.
However you look at it, despite some strains of mental illness, some loose morals, some tomboys, and some murderesses, this collection exhibits some incredible women, playing the hands they were dealt in life, and doing the best they can. If I recall, there was at least one lady who got to live mostly happily ever after, a nice break from so many brutal and tragic deaths.
Great narration. Not much in the way of dialogue, but I noticed she was pretty good at most of the names - and there were many interesting names from throughout the world and history that I'm sure I'd have tripped over had I been reading them from the page.
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