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Great Tales From English History Volume 2by Robert Lacey
Synopses & Reviews
The greatest historians are vivid storytellers, Robert Lacey reminds us, and in Great Tales from English History, he proves his place among them, illuminating in unforgettable detail the characters and events that shaped a nation. In this volume, Lacey limns the most important period in England's past, highlighting the spread of the English language, the rejection of both a religion and a traditional view of kingly authority, and an unstoppable movement toward intellectual and political freedom from 1387 to 1689. Opening with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and culminating in William and Mary's Glorious Revolution, Lacey revisits some of the truly classic stories of English history: the Battle of Agincourt, where Henry V's skilled archers defeated a French army three times as large; the tragic tale of the two young princes locked in the Tower of London (and almost certainly murdered) by their usurping uncle, Richard III; Henry VIII's schismatic divorce, not just from his wife but from the authority of the Catholic Church; Bloody Mary and the burning of religious dissidents; Sir Francis Drake's dramatic, if questionable, part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada; and the terrible and transformative Great Fire of London, to name but a few. Here Anglophiles will find their favorite English kings and queens, villains and victims, authors and architects - from Richard II to Anne Boleyn, the Virgin Queen to Oliver Cromwell, Samuel Pepys to Christopher Wren, and many more. Continuing the eminently readable, highly enjoyable (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) history he began in volume I of Great Tales from English History, Robert Lacey has drawn on the most up-to-date research to present a taut and riveting narrative, breathing life into the most pivotal characters and exciting landmarks in England's history.
"Acclaimed historian Lacey's second volume on English history opens in 1348, the year of the Black Plague, which wiped out half of England's five million people, and proceeds through the astonishing scientific discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton in 1687. Along the way, we meet characters as diverse as Chaucer, Richard II, Henry IV, William Caxton, Guy Fawkes, Richard Whittington, Lady Jane Grey and Titus Oates. In lively vignettes, Lacey (The Year 1000; Majesty) also regales us with such events as the Puritan civil war, the London fire of 1666 and Sir Walter Raleigh's voyages to the New World. Political and religious dissent dominate these tales. Lacey captures the humor inherent in the evolution of England's history; thus, he includes the story of the first modern water closet, invented by Queen Elizabeth's godson, Sir John Harrington. In addition, Lacey briefly chronicles the British attraction to the rare and the exotic in the tale of John Tradescant's opening to the public in the 1630s of his collection of artifacts and curiosities — England's 'first museum.' Lacey's animated prose, energetic storytelling and spirited approach to British history bring the past to life. 51 b&w illus., 2 maps. (June 2)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
With insight, humor and fascinating detail, Lacey brings brilliantly to life the stories that made England--from Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to Piers the Ploughman.
- Lacey is an established, bestselling author. His recent book The year 1000 (Little, Brown, 1999) has netted 120,000 copies in hardcover and paperback combined.- Lacey's first volume of GREAT TALES, published in spring 2004, whetted readers' appetites for the even more popular period of English history presented in this second volume.- In the bestselling tradition of How the Irish Saved Civilization (Anchor, 1996), this is popular, accessible, bite-sized history at its best.
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