July 26, 2012 · 2:48 pm
Title: Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII
Author: David Starkey
Fun Fact: The fates of Henry VIII’s wives were the following: divorced, beheaded, died in child birth, divorced, beheaded, and out-lived him (but probably would otherwise have been beheaded).
Review Summary: Clear, well written, engaging without being overly dramatic, obviously well researched, and a lot of fun to read.
This book was really everything I look for in a non-fiction book about history. It was so engagingly written that it could have been non-fiction, but sources were all cited and deviations from accepted wisdom among Henry VIII scholars were mentioned. The story was presented chronologically, with a few, well integrated digressions to give us the history of each of Henry’s wives. Chapters were short and the introduction of new characters was kept to a minimum, creating a very lucid narrative. New characters were always given context, both in the writing and by some great family trees, and we were often reminded who recurring characters were. This made the massive amounts of information in this 880 page book fairly manageable. Continue reading →
May 3, 2012 · 8:08 pm
This week I jumped into historical non-fiction for the first time and as some of you may have gathered from this post
, I found the experience a little intimidating! Fortunately, with lots of help from the internet, I made it through – something which turned out to be a surprisingly satisfying experience. So today I’m going to share with you what I learned, in hopes you won’t need to start a book feeling as lost as I did 🙂
1 – Orient Yourself in Time
My biggest problem when I started reading was that I really wanted to learn something from this book, but I had no prior knowledge of what was happening in the late 1500’s. I also didn’t know much about when other important events took place in relation the the 1500’s. Fortunately, I’m not as totally hopeless about history as I may sound, so I was pretty sure I just needed to find a website that gave me a timeline of events to help give me some context. While searching, I came across this wonderful website which lets you view important world events broken down by era and geographical region. For instance, I learned that living the late 1500’s Tycho and Kepler were living after the war of the roses, the Spanish Armada, the gun powder plot, and Joan of Arc. It was really helpful and I highly recommend this as a place to start if you’re feeling lost in time!
Continue reading →