I have a little bit of a thing about books, historical books in particular. I ended up picking these three up after work today (and spending enough on them too! Normally I tend to trawl through Amazon marketplace to pick up my books but I popped into Waterstones this evening and spent a small fortune on well…not very many books!). The three books above all relate to areas that are off particular interest to me for instance the two on the English Civil War – I did my BA dissertation on battlefield archaeology of the Civil War and have always been drawn to the period. I just love it, I love the battles, I love the politics, I love the way the soldiers dressed, the weapons they used, their religious beliefs and more so I love Charles I. That man was, to me at least, so very brave to risk everything by fighting against Parliament, believing in the Divine Right of Kings and in the end, losing his head for it. The Borgia period is only a recent interest, but I have been reading extensively on the period and have to say, I’m hooked! Below is a quick summary of all three:
A King Condemned: The Trial and Execution of Charles I – C.V Wedgewood
The reign of Charles I, defined by religious conflict and a titanic power struggle with Parliament – culminating in the English Civil Wars, the execution of the King and the brief abolition of the monarchy – was one of the most turbulent in English History. Six years after the First Civil War began, and following Charles’s support for the failed Royalist uprising of the Second Civil War, an Act of Parliament was passed which produced something unprecedented in the history of England: the trial of an English king on a capital charge. There followed ten extraordinary weeks which finally drew to a dark end on 30th January 1649, when Charles was beheaded in Whitehall.
Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy – Sarah Bradford
The name Lucrezia Borgia conjures up all that was sinister and corrupt about the Renaissance – incest, political assassination, papal sexual abuse, poisonous intrigue. Yet, as Sarah Bradford reveals in this new portrait, the truth is more fascinating than the myth. Neither a vicious monster nor a seductive pawn, Lucrezia Borgia was a shrewd, determined woman who used her beauty and intelligence to secure a key role in the struggles of her day. Drawing from historical documents and first hand accounts, Bradford brings to life the art, pageantry and dangerous politics of the Renaissance world Lucrezia Borgia helped to create.
The English Civil War At First Hand – Tristram Hunt
This is the story of the bloodiest conflict in British history, told through the accounts of those who witnessed it. The English Civil War killed almost a quarter of a million people, divided families and laid waste to the land. It saw a king executed, a military dictatorship established in England, a brutal clan warfare in Scotland and sectarianism in Ireland. Yet it also transformed English Society, gave birth to new ideas about political liberty and religious freedom, and created a rich culture of letters, satire, oratory and propaganda.
Definitely looking forward to getting stuck into these. It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and done any reading on the English Civil War for pleasure. I got rather burnt out after sitting down and doing my dissertation although my love for the period has always been there. But first alas, I have way too many other books to get through!