Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weekly Wishlist - February 28, 2013

Lots of non-fiction this week.

Treasures of the Royal Courts:  Tudors, Stuarts and Russian Czars by Tessa Murdoch.  Non-fiction.  UK release March 4, 2013.  (Published by the V&A)

This beautiful book explores the diplomatic, trade and cultural exchanges between the courts of Britain and Russia, from the reign of Henry VIII to the death of Charles II. Through the material life of the courts, the gifts of the diplomats and the commissions of the monarchs, the book presents an overview of privileged living in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - illustrating the material life of the leading personalities of the period. Engaging and authoritative, Treasures of the Royal Courts uses superb new photography to illustrate chapters on diplomacy, silver, portraits, miniatures, arms and armour, heraldry, textiles and jewellery by experts from the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Kremlin Museum, Moscow.

Music and Monarchy by David Starkey.  Non-fiction.  UK release  March 28, 2013.  (BBC books)

A new history of the British monarchy through it's music, to accompany a BBC series with bestselling royal historian David Starkey.

"David Starkey's Music and Monarchy"offers us a new history of Britain through music, showing how the Royal Court shaped the musical landscape in ways that speak directly to our national identity. Many of our current musical symbols of nationhood -- from the 'Last Night of the Proms' to football terraces erupting in song -- have their origins in the way the Crown deliberately shaped the national soundtrack.
This is a story of song and power, exploring how Henry VIII subverted the Reformation he started by protecting a sacred choral tradition he loved; how Henry Purcell's music was designed to help make Charles II more palatable to his subjects; how opera in Georgian London is a story of political infighting between the King and his son; and how the coronation of Elizabeth II, and the music of Vaughan Williams, represented the last dramatic moment of Church and State coming together in all its grandeur.

The Three Edward:  War and State in England 1272-1377 by Michael Prestwich.  Non-fiction.  UK reissue April 10, 2013.

This book is an excellent introduction to this eventful  period in history, offering students of history and the Middle Ages a fascinating insight into the reigns of three very different sovereigns:

* Edward I – a confident and masterful conqueror of Wales
* Edward II – defeated by the Scots, humiliated and deposed
* Edward III – triumphant against the French, but reigned through the ravages of plague.

The book focuses on each king's approach to war - an essential determinant of political and constitutional development, and emphasizes how the importance of war stretches far beyond the traditional boundaries of military history.

For any student or researcher of history and the Middle Ages, this highly acclaimed book provides excellent research and course study opportunities.

Royal Exiles:  From Richard the Lionheart to Charles II by Iain Sode.  Non-fiction.  UK release April 28, 2013.

'I know there are but few steps between the prisons and graves of princes' Charles I The experience of exile and captivity, usually in war, was not uncommon for medieval kings and princes. Many knew the joy of survival followed by the frustration of being caged; some tried to govern from exile; others adapted and took advantage of a temporary release from duty; most canvassed allies and very few gave up hope. This book chronicles the experiences of capture, flight, captivity or exile as they languished far from home and the highs and lows of their attempts to regain a life to which they could relate. From Richard the Lionheart in 1192 to Charles II in 1651, a succession of England's kings and princes were forced to flee into exile or endure captivity at home or abroad, as were foreign royalty in English hands. Even kings can be pawns in the great game of international diplomacy. Royal lineage brought privilege but also great danger. Those who suffered in this way lived periods of great frustration and of edge-of-the-seat uncertainty, surrounded by spies and guards, governing or simply relating to the outside world in secret or by smuggled letter. Negotiations for their release, when possible, were often half-hearted and subject to conflicting agendas. Returns could be torrid affairs and often involved force of arms. Some were broken by their experiences. Others came back with tales of adventure and derring-do. Most were forgotten or wrapped in layers of propaganda, put in the shade by their subsequent successful reigns or their ignominious end. It is a story of privileged lives rendered helpless, and of keeping a flame of hope alive.

The Sword and the Throne by Henry  Venmore-Rowland.  UK release June 20, 2013.

AD 69. Aulus Caecina Severus has thrown in his lot with the hedonistic Vitellius and prepares his legions for a gruelling march over the Alps.
Driven by the desire to repay the treachery of his former patron, the Emperor Galba, and to keep his rival Valens in check, Severus leads his army against barbarian rebellions and against the mountains themselves in his race to reach Italy first. With the vast Po valley almost in sight, news reaches the army that Galba has been killed in a coup, and that Otho has been declared Emperor by the Praetorians who he had bribed to murder their own emperor.

But there is no turning back for Severus, even if he wanted to. The Rhine legions want their man on the throne, and they won't stop until they reach Rome itself. Even once Otho is defeated, the battle for supremacy between Severus and Valens is far from over. The politics of the court and the mob is the new battleground, and Severus needs the help of his wife Salonina and his freedman Totavalas in this constant game of thrones. When stories spread of a new power in the east, Severus has to decide where his real loyalty lies: to his Emperor, to his city or to himself?

Lady of Passion by Freda Lightfoot.  UK release June 30, 2013.

Beautiful and talented actress, poet and fashion icon, Mary Robinson was one of the most famous women of her time - yet she died virtually penniless, her reputation in ruins. Mary was destined always to be betrayed by the men she loved - her father, her husband and, most seriously, by the Prince of Wales, later George IV, for whom Mary gave up her career, her husband and her independence, only to be cruelly abandoned. This is her enthralling story: a tale of ambition, passion, scandal and heartbreak.

The Anglo-Saxon World by Nicholas Higham and Martin Ryan.  Non-fiction.  UK release June 30, 2013.

The Anglo-Saxon period, stretching from the fifth to the late eleventh century, begins with the Roman retreat from the Western world and ends with the Norman takeover of England. Between these epochal events, many of the contours and patterns of English life that would endure for the next millennium were shaped. In this authoritative work, N. J. Higham and M. J. Ryan reexamine Anglo-Saxon England in the light of new research in disciplines as wide-ranging as historical genetics, paleobotany, archaeology, literary studies, art history, and numismatics. The result is the definitive introduction to the Anglo-Saxon world, enhanced with a rich array of photographs, maps, genealogies, and other illustrations. The Anglo-Saxon period witnessed the birth of the English people, the establishment of Christianity, and the development of the English language. With an extraordinary cast of characters (Alfred the Great, the Venerable Bede, King Cnut), a long list of artistic and cultural achievements ('Beowulf', 'the Sutton Hoo ship-burial' finds, the 'Bayeux Tapestry'), and multiple dramatic events (the 'Viking invasions', the 'Battle of Hastings'), the Anglo-Saxon era lays legitimate claim to having been one of the most important in Western history.

The Boleyn Women:  The Femme Fetales Who Changed English History by Elizabeth Norton.  Non-fiction.  UK release July 28, 2013.

Huge interest in the Boleyn family and wives of Henry VIII. First book to consider all of the female members of the Boleyn family. Covers eight generations of Boleyn women from the fourteenth century to 1603. The Boleyn family appeared from nowhere at the end of the fourteenth century, moving from peasant to princess in only a few generations. The women of the family brought about its advancement, beginning with the heiresses Alice Bracton Boleyn, Anne Hoo Boleyn and Margaret Butler Boleyn who brought wealth and aristocratic connections. Then there was Elizabeth Howard Boleyn, who was rumoured to have been the mistress of Henry VIII, along with her daughter Mary and niece Madge, who certainly were. Anne Boleyn became the king's second wife and her aunts, Lady Boleyn and Lady Shelton, helped bring her to the block. The infamous Jane Boleyn, the last of her generation, betrayed her husband before dying on the scaffold with Queen Catherine Howard. The next generation was no less turbulent and Catherine Carey, the daughter of Mary Boleyn fled from England to avoid persecution under Mary Tudor. Her daughter, Lettice was locked in bitter rivalry with the greatest Boleyn lady of all, Elizabeth I, winning the battle for the affections of Robert Dudley but losing her position in society as a consequence. Finally, another Catherine Carey, the Countess of Nottingham, was so close to her cousin, the queen, that Elizabeth died of grief following her death. The Boleyn family was the most ambitious dynasty of the sixteenth century, rising dramatically to prominence in the early years of a century that would end with a Boleyn on the throne.

Royal Babies:  A History 1066-2013 by Amy Licence.  Non-fiction.  UK release July 28, 2013.

Published to tie-in with the impending birth of Prince William and Catherine's royal baby in July 2013. Will include details of this new royal baby! Final jacket will feature the official photograph of William, Catherine and the new baby prince/princess! Includes details of the circumstances of conception, the birth experience of royal mothers throughout British history and the reaction in the country at large.
Babies are born every day, but only once or twice in a lifetime, a child arrives who will inherit the throne. This summer, the nation will be watching as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, delivers our future monarch. There will be predictions, expectations and a flurry of media attention around the new parents but apart from the flashing cameras and internet headlines, this is nothing new. Royal babies have excited interest since before their births, for more than a millennium. When a queen or princess conceived, the direction of a dynasty was being defined and the health and survival of the child would shape British history.

Amy Licence explores the stories of some of these royal babies and the unusual circumstances of their arrivals from the Normans to the twenty-first century. 1470 saw the arrival of Edward, a longed-for son after three daughters, born in sanctuary to Edward IV and his beautiful but unpopular wife, Elizabeth Wydeville; he was briefly King Edward V at the age of twelve, but would disappear from history as the elder of the two Princes in the Tower. In 1511, amid lavish celebrations, Catherine Aragon gave birth to the future Henry IX, whose survival would perhaps have kept Henry from having six wives; alas, he was to die after just seven weeks. In 1817 came George, the stillborn son of Charlotte, Princess of Wales; had she not died as a result of the birth, she would have been queen instead of Victoria. This book explores the importance and the circumstances of these and many other arrivals, returning many long-forgotten royal babies to the history books.

Henry VIII:  The Life and Rule of England’s Nero by John Matusiak.  Non-fiction.  UK release August 1, 2013.

Henry VIII is by no means yet another account of the 'old monster' and his dealings. The 'monster' displayed here is, at the very least, a newer type, more beset by anxieties and insecurities, and more tightly surrounded than ever by those who equated loyalty with fear, self-interest and blind obedience. This compelling and ground-breaking book also demonstrates that Henry VIII's priorities were always primarily martial rather than marital, and accepts neither the necessity of his all-consuming quest for a male heir nor his need ultimately to sever ties with Rome. As the story unfolds, Henry's predicaments prove largely of his own making, the paths he chose neither the only nor the best available. For Henry VIII was not only a bad man, but also a bad ruler who failed to achieve his aims and blighted the reigns of his two immediate successors. 500 years after he ascended the throne, the reputation of England's best known king is, it seems, being rehabilitated and subtly sanitised. In Henry VIII, Tudor historian John Matusiak paints an absorbingly intimate portrait of a man wholly unfit for power: his personality, his beliefs, his relationships, his follies, his hollow triumphs, his bitter, ironic disappointments.

Battle Story:  Bannockburn 1314 by Chris Brown.  Non-fiction.  UK release September 1, 2013.

Bannockburn 1314 is the most celebrated battle between Scotland and England, in which a mere 7,000 followers of Robert the Bruce defeated more than 15,000 of Edward II's troops. The Battle of Bannockburn, fought over two days on 23 and 24 June 1314 by a small river crossing just south of Stirling, was a decisive victory for Robert, and secured for Scotland de facto independence from England. It was the greatest defeat the English would suffer throughout the Middle Ages, and a huge personal humiliation for Edward. Chris Brown's account recreates the campaign from the perspectives of both the Scots and English. If you want to know what happened and why read - Battle Story.

Anastasia by Carolyn Meyer.  Juvenile fiction.  US reissue November 2013.

Thirteen-year-old Anastasia is the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II, ruler of Russia. Anastasia is used to a life of luxury; her major concerns are how to get out of her detested schoolwork to play in the snow, go ice-skating, or have picnics. She wears diamonds and rubies, and every morning her mother tells her which matching outfit she and her three sisters shall wear that day. It's a fairy tale life--until everything changes with the outbreak of war between Russia and Germany. As Russia enters WWI, hunger and poverty grow among the peasants, and soon they are not pleased with their ruler. While the czar is trying to win a war and save their country, the country is turning on the royal family. When her father and the rest of the family are imprisoned by the Bolsheviks, suddenly Anastasia understands what this war is costing the people. In the pages of her diary, Anastasia chronicles the wealth and luxury of her royal days, as well as the fall from power, and her uncertain fate.

Marie Antoinette by Kathryn Lasky.  Juvenile fiction.  US reissue December 2013.

To forge an incredibly powerful political alliance, thirteen-year-old Marie Antoinette of Austria is betrothed to Dauphin Louis Auguste, who will one day be the king of France. To prepare her for this awesome responsibility, she must be trained to write, read, speak French, dress, act...even breathe. Things become more difficult for her when she is separated from her family and sent to the court of Versailles to meet her future husband. Opinionated and headstrong Marie Antoinette must find a way to fit in at the royal court and get along with her fiancé. The future of Austria and France falls upon her shoulders. But as she lives a luxurious life inside the palace gates, out on the streets the people of France face hunger and poverty. Through the pages of her diary, Marie captures the isolation, the lavish parties and gowns, her struggle to find her place, and the years leading up to her ascendance of the throne...and a revolution.


Marie said...

First off, what poor taste that cover of Royal Babies. I mean, God Forbid something happened to the baby, but really what poor taste.

And then, wow there's lots of royal books coming out still - I guess the fascination over Kings and Queens will never end.

Though, I hadn't expected Russian Tsars to be thrown into the same lot as Stuarts and Tudors.

Out of this post the only one that intrigues me is Freda Lightfoot's.

Daphne said...

I agree with you on the cover of the Royal Babies book - actually I'm not sure what I think of the entire book. Definitely cashing in on the William/Catherine cash cow!