Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nonfiction Roundup

I've been reading (when I can) Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter by Susan Nagel. It's a fascinating, well written look at a child who at a young age went through horrors that would have overwhelmed many adults, much less a young girl. I've still a ways to go in it, but I heartily recommend it.

Also on the groaning to-be-read pile is the anniversary present I received yesterday: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain by Marc Morris. It looks well done too (though I wish there were something about the Despensers in it--at least Hugh the elder).

Someone on the Richard III Society American Branch's Yahoo group noted that a new book about Richard III is coming out in June. It's called Richard the Third: The Maligned King by Annette Carson. According to the Amazon UK description, this book promises to "investigate areas where historians fear to tread," including whether Edward IV was poisoned and whether Elizabeth Woodville practiced witchcraft. I've my doubts about this book, because Carson co-wrote an article for The Ricardian on the execution of the Earl of Desmond, which she lays squarely at the feet of Elizabeth Woodville. I thought that in their determination to find Elizabeth responsible for the earl's execution at the hands of Edward IV's lieutenant John Tiptoft, the authors skimmed over contemporary events in Ireland that might have furnished an explanation (if not necessarily a justification) for the earl's execution. Nor did they explain satisfactorily why no source until the sixteenth century links Elizabeth to the execution or how the Earl of Desmond's survivors in Ireland knew of a conversation between Elizabeth and Edward IV and of Elizabeth's supposedly filching her husband's privy seal when no one in England seems to have overheard this conversation or witnessed Elizabeth's actions. So I'm expecting the usual Good Richard, Bad Woodvilles with this book, though I'll probably get a copy anyway.

Rather more to my enthusiasm, I see that there's a new book entitled Lancaster Against York: The Wars of the Roses and the Foundation of Modern Britain by Trevor Royle due out this July. Another one for the pile!

4 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, that sounds like Mrs Carson would be better off writing fiction.

elena maria vidal said...

I enjoyed the book about Marie-Antoinette's daughter very much.

Alianore said...

I'm really looking forward to reading the Edward I bio, and the Marie-Therese novel sounds great. But the Richard III one? Think I'll give that a miss.

Word verif: tvgoob. The last bit sounds like the noise I made when I read about the Elizabeth Woodville article.

Carla said...

A Great and Terrible King - that sounds like an apt description of Edward I. Nigel Tranter, not exactly a pro-English novelist (!) describes him as "a great man gone wrong" in one of his forewords. I shall look out for the book; Edward I is a figure I would like to know much more about.