A Brief History of Brief Lives of the English Monarchs

  • by Carolly Erickson
  • Narrated by Roger Davis
  • 14 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This audiobook contains sharp and enjoyable new portraits of the English kings and queens. Hunchbacked Richard III, the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I, the grieving widow Victoria, and the romantic who gave up his throne for love, Edward VIII - often the colourful kings and queens of England seem like mere caricature, while less familiar rulers like William IV or Henry VI have faded into the shadows of history.
Carolly Erickson's sensitive and revealing portrayals bring new life to the big names, and light up some of our most neglected but intriguing royals. Here is the puny Charles I, nervous, tense and socially awkward, the frail slight Richard II, melancholic and sad, the homosexual James I with his handsome favourites, and the stuttering William II. Every monarch from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II is covered. Award-winning historian Erickson tells the human stories with her characteristic blend of authenticity, engaging style and psychological insight.
Carolly Erickson is a distinguished historian and the author of The First Elizabeth, Great Catherine, Alexandra, and a dozen other prize winning biographies. Her PhD in medieval history from Columbia University, New York, led her to six years as a college professor then to a career as a full-time writer.


What the Critics Say

"Erickson proves it is possible to write narrative history that is both popular and good." (Mail on Sunday)
"Erickson is one of the most accomplished and successful historical biographers writing in English." (TLS)
"Extremely readable." (Nikolai Tolstoy, Literary Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Definitely listen to it again- some amazing characters.
Bit of repitition in some chapters, but not a big issue.
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- keith

Excellent Summary and Connects The Dots!

Would you listen to A Brief History of Brief Lives of the English Monarchs again? Why?

Yes, I love how the creation of a timeline and what was going on in the world would have affected the lives of these monarchs. Excellently done and helps me understand why things got so boring in England Charles II.

What did you like best about this story?

All of it! I especially appreciated her candor regarding the boring nature of the current queen and how the monarchy has lost its shine and influence. The quick concise summaries really helped fill in timeline gaps for what was going on in the rest of the world! Great job!

What about Roger Davis’s performance did you like?

Great, proper inflection, and not monotone.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Discussions of the childhoods of each king and queen as they grew. The connect the dots as to why William I was as brutal as he was, was to understand the current culture in France at the time of his childhood. Excellent perspective.

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- J

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-07-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios