With both authority and verve, David Starkey unmasks the personalities and achievements, the defeats and victories, that lie behind the monarchs that form the backbone of British history. This magisterial study begins with the Tudors, five monarchs who ruled over England and Ireland until the reformation of the 1530s, and continues with the Stuarts who followed them. It includes Oliver Cromwell, a non-monarch, who ruled as Lord Protector, a "king in all but name", and the Georgians, a dynasty that began with the accession of George I and ended with the death of George IV. Queen Victoria, the longest reigning monarch in British history, and, finally, our present day Queen, Elizabeth II, who today reigns over 16 independent nations, make up the book's latter stages.
More important than this, Monarchy encompasses the greatest and most notorious events in our history. From the War of the Roses to the infamous Gunpowder Plot, the bloody battles of the English Civil War to the madness of King George III, the Napoleonic Era to the heyday of Empire under Victoria, and finally to our present-day Queen Elizabeth II, Monarchy offers a radical reappraisal of English nationhood, culture, and politics, shown through the most central institution in English life. With characteristic insight and perceptiveness, Starkey gives new life to these figures, producing an entertaining and masterful picture of the building blocks upon which the England of today was built.
"Starkey is an energetic and authoritative guide." (Express)
"Starkey, always an engaging writer, has a gift for bringing ideas as well as individuals to life." (Sunday Times)
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