Monday, February 1, 2016

Kings & Queens of England, a Dark History: 1066 to Present Day


Rating: 1.5 Stars


I will keep this short and not so sweet because this book was not good. I try not to, but I sometimes can not help but take offense when I see historical figures I love so dearly and/or highly respect either much-maligned or simply presented wholly inaccurately by an author who could not bother to do five seconds of research. I like the 'Dark History' series in general, though it is nothing spectacular and you will find no new information contained in them. But what I found here was worse. This book was gossipy and sensationalized. it was poorly written and riddled with inaccuracies. There is nothing 'dark' about this history that is flat out wrong in many places. She refers to Catherine Parr as Henry VIII's "Finally, an enduring love" as one heading, which is laughable, considering she wanted to marry Seymour all along. Anne of Cleves was apparently "ugly, skinny and loud-mouthed" - news to me since I did not know you could be a loud-mouth in a country where you did not even speak the language. She is especially nasty to two Scots in particular, Mary and then her son James VI. First, Mary is described as being an, "ignorant, foolish, indiscreet airhead" who "managed to do almost everything wrong and was certainly not the queen 16th century Scotland needed." This could not be more wrong. Without a doubt, Mary made some very stupid decisions. But by all accounts in the short years she did rule, she worked to maintain a balance between her Protestant-turning country and herself. Much has been written about Mary not enjoying her studies but that does not make her an airhead and she was still well-spoken and educated. Her son James does not fair much better. The author refers to him as "creepy", with "spindly legs" a tongue "too big for his mouth...He drooled. He did not wash very often...He looked scruffy because he dressed so badly." It has been documented time and again that James looked oddly in his dress due to the many layers he wore to protect against an assassin. Yes, apparently his tongue was awkward and he was awkward but come on. All this book amounts to is a trashy gossip magazine in hardcover form. PASS!

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