160. Great Tales of English History Part 1 (Robert Lacey)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
My local library lends eBooks! Honestly, I’ve known this for a while but I finally bit the bullet, downloaded the software (a bit of a process…) and borrowed my first eBook from them. Being able to borrow electronic books from my local library was an important part of
my decision to buy a KOBO instead of the Kindle (my library doesn’t support the Kindle). As a big library supporter, it was a make it or break it feature for me! Anyways, onto the book.
 
The first eBook I borrowed was Great Tales from English History (Part 1) by Robert Lacey. His name sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it at first. Turns out, I’d read one of his books before (The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millenium). This seemed like a good choice since I love history, especially English history. Here’s the synopsis from his website:
 
From ancient times to the present day, the story of England has been laced with drama, intrigue, courage and passion – a rich and vibrant narrative of heroes and villains, kings and rebels, artists and highwaymen, bishops and scientists. Now, in Great Tales from English History, Robert Lacey captures some of the most pivotal moments: the stories and extraordinary characters that helped shape a nation. This first volume begins in 7150 BC with the intriguing life and death of Cheddar Man and ends in 1381 with Wat Tyler and the Peasants’ Revolt. We meet the Greek navigator Pytheas, whose description of the woad-painting Celts yielded pretanniké (‘the land of the painted people’), which became the Latin word Britannia. We witness the Roman victory celebrations of AD 43, where a squadron of elephants was paraded through Colchester. And we visit the New Forest in 1100, and the mysterious shooting of King William Rufus. Packed with insight, humour and fascinating detail, Robert Lacey brings the stories that made England brilliantly to life. From Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to Piers the Ploughman, this is, quite simply, history as history should be told.
 
As I began reading, I was worried that it was actually aimed towards a much younger audience and I would find myself reading a book designed for kids. Fortunately it wasn’t but truth be told, I don’t think I learned anything new. It provides a general overview on a wide range of characters and would be perfect for someone who doesn’t know a lot about English history and wants to learn a bit more without buying individual volumes on each of the individuals discussed. Plus the chapters are the perfect length for bathroom reading! (TMI?). I will probably check out the other two volumes in the series but won’t be putting the ahead of other options in my “must read” list.

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