Before you head off to explore the tombs of England’s Kings and Queens at Westminster Abbey, wander about the notorious Tower of London or write a postcard home about your visit to Britain, you’ll want to read Robert Lacey’s Great Tales From English History.
In this easy-to-read compilation of British history you’ll learn a thing or two about Westminster Abbey’s permanent guests – Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I. You’ll catch up on the investigations into the two skeletal remains found in the Tower of London. Were they the two princes, twelve-year-old Edward V and his nine-year-old brother Richard, and was their uncle King Richard III the murderer? While you’re writing that postcard home, you’ll have better knowledge as to how the English language came to exist.
Great Tales From English History is set out chronologically in 52 short chapters beginning with “Geoffrey Chaucer and the Mother Tongue, 1387” through to “Isaac Newton and the Principles of the Universe, 1687.” The author also includes simplified family trees of the Royal Houses of York, Lancaster, Tudor and Stuart along with maps showing Britain and Europe in different eras.
It was while reading a very detailed biography of Henry VIII by a different author and becoming totally befuddled by an overwhelming cast of wives, ambassadors, clergy and politicians, that I picked up Robert Lacey’s book. After reading his seven page chapter entitled “King Henry VIII’s Great Matter,” I was able to return to my detailed book with the “now I get it” background needed to master the more difficult read.
Lacey gets to the point quickly and delivers the goods in enjoyable layman’s vocabulary with just enough detail to bring the characters and situations alive. He cuts out the fluff and delivers well researched documented history. Whether you’re bound for Britain or an armchair traveler, Robert Lacey’s Great Tales From English History makes an excellent guide through Britain’s turbulent history.