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This is a thoroughly engrossing history of the British monarchy from the 15th century Wars of the Roses to the Victorian era. Frankly, it is more of a survey than a comprehensive study as no author could be expected to adequately review and analyze more than 400 years of British history in a single work. Thus, some of the portraits of monarchs are rather hastily sketched. But it is particularly strong in Starkey's study of the Tudor era, his specialty as a historian. Nevertheless, the book is full of richly drawn descriptions of virtually every holder (and pretender) to the throne over four centuries, including a fascinating study of the Cromwellian "republic." It also traces with remarkable clarity the development of the British system into the present era as the monarchy slowly lost its ability to control events with the growth of that new political power center, Parliament--a development not lost on observers in 13 North American colonies throughout the 18th century. "Monarchy" is intelligently written and beautifully narrated by the author. It deserves a place in the library of anyone even remotely curious about the origins of the modern world.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Not so much a history of the lives of individual monarchs, as a history of the institution of monarchy itself. Covering the period from Henry VII to Victoria, this book shows how the British monarchy has been instrumental in shaping the modern world.
Some of the individual kings and queens receive rather brief biographical sketches, but this is more a story of their most notable successes - and spectacular failures - than of the minutiae of their daily lives. An interesting theme is the way in which even the spectacular failures (eg. much of James II's reign) are extremely important - because they provided the impetus for many of the social and political changes which led to our modern forms of democracy.
I always enjoy hearing the author read his or her own work, and Starkey's characteristic narration is definitely no exception - he has an obvious passion for his field of study, and the way his tone rises with excitement and descends into an almost reverent hush is very well-suited to the weighty topics he discusses.
This book was one of my first and still one of my very favourite Audible audiobooks, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in history.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Excellent book. Informative, but not dry. Utterly riveting. More like a story, than like dry history. And I loved the way it was read.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
Gripping events narrated more like a story than a series of monotonous incidents,and beautifully narrated by Dr David Starky whose voice is engaging and keeps you listening.He needs to narrate all his books as once you've heard him narrate one,no one else will do.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful