Synopses & Reviews
A dazzling history of the Tower of London, one of the world's busiest tourist attractions, and the people who populated it Castle, royal palace, prison, torture chamber, execution site, zoo, mint, home to the crown jewels, armory, record office, observatory, and the most visited tourist attraction in the UK: The Tower of London has been all these things and more. No building in Britain has been more intimately involved in the island's story than this mighty, brooding stronghold in the very heart of the capital, a place which has stood at the epicenter of dramatic, bloody and frequently cruel events for almost a thousand years. Now historian Nigel Jones sets this dramatic story firmly in the context of national—and international—events. In a gripping account drawn from primary sources and lavishly illustrated with sixteen pages of stunning photographs, he captures the Tower in its many changing moods and its many diverse functions. Here, for the first time, is a thematic portrayal of the Tower of london not just as an ancient structure, but as a living symbol of the nation of Great Britain.
"Built by William the Conqueror beginning in 1078 as a super-castle, the Tower of London has been variously the kingdom's primary palace, a prison and execution site, a zoo, the Royal Mint, and home to the crown jewels. Henry III expanded and transformed the Tower into an opulent palace, and by the end of Edward I's reign in 1307, it had assumed today's outlines, with 20 towers and a 100-foot-wide moat. At the Tower, captured foreign kings were pampered prisoners; Richard II's mother was nearly raped by a drunken army of rebellious peasants; and candidate knights in Henry IV's new Order of the Bath took actual baths in the Tower as part of the ceremonies. Edward IV gorged on food and mistresses while his predecessor and prisoner, Henry VI, lived a harsh existence only a couple of walls away. The Tower was the site of the execution of two wives of Henry VIII and Mary Tudor's nemesis, Jane Grey,; and briefly the prison of Nazi chief Rudolf Hess. Jones (Rupert Brooke) provides more than the history of an famous tourist site, creating a marvelous, authoritative, and entertaining history of England, tightly focused and richly detailed. 8 pages of b&w photos, 1 map. Agent: Charlie Viney, the Viney Agency (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A gripping portrait of life in Britain in a year that shook Europe to its foundations
1914 dawned with Britain at peace, albeit troubled by faultlines within and threats without: Ireland trembled on the brink of civil war; suffragette agitation was assuming an ever more violent hue; and suspicions of Germany's ambitions bred a paranoia expressed in a rash of "invasion scare" literature. Then when shots rang out in Sarajevo on June 28th, they set in motion a tumble of diplomatic dominos that led to Britain declaring war on Germany. Nigel Jones depicts every facet of a year that changed Britain for ever. From gun-running in Ulster to an attack by suffragettes on a Velasquez painting in the National Gallery; from the launch of HMHS Britannic to cricketer J.T. Hearne's 3,000th first-class wicket; from the opening of London's first nightclub to the embarking for Belgium of the BEF, he traces the events of a momentous year, its benign domestic beginnings to its descent into the nightmare of European war.
About the Author
NIGEL JONES is a historian, journalist, and biographer, covering subjects ranging from Nazi Germany to the lives of British writers. He has written for the Cambridge Evening News, the Press Association News Agency, and has been an editor on BBC and independent radio, as well as for History Today and BBC History magazines.