Sunday, September 19, 2010

New in My Nonfiction Library

I am in the very pleasant position of having too much to read, for over the past few days, I've added several new nonfiction books to my collection. So, taking a cue from Kathryn's post, I thought I would mention some of them.

First and foremost is Michael Hicks' The Wars of the Roses. I was reading this last night, and from what I've seen so far, it's excellent--a balanced, well-researched account of the wars and the men and women involved in the conflict. Hicks has his share of detractors, mainly those unhappy about his unfavorable portrayal of Richard III, but I would recommend this book even to those readers, as no one, including Henry VII, is whitewashed here from what I've seen from reading selected portions of it.

Next, I got a copy of Elizabeth Norton's new book, Margaret Beaufort: Mother of the Tudor Dynasty. On a skim, I've seen some glitches (such as Norton's having Margaret of Anjou present at the Battle of Wakefield), but on the whole this seems to be a decent, if not ground-breaking, introduction to Margaret Beaufort's life. I like the fact that Norton included an appendix of Margaret's letters.

I also received a copy of Desmond Seward's The Last White Rose, about the rebellions that dogged Henry VII and Henry VIII, but I haven't had a chance to give it even a skim.

Moving away from England to France for the moment, I've received a review copy of Tracy Adams' The Life and Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria, which explores the myths that have grown up around Isabeau of Bavaria, wife to Charles VI of France. I'm particularly interested in reading this book because of the parallels between Isabeau and Margaret of Anjou, who married Isabeau's grandson Henry VI: both were married to kings who went mad, thrusting their queens into roles of power, and both have been treated badly by history.

I can't forget my Kindle! I've downloaded Kate Williams' Becoming Queen Victoria, which is about not only the young Victoria but about Princess Charlotte, whose tragic death paved the way for Victoria to become queen. I also have 1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII by Suzannah Lipscomb on my Kindle.

Finally, I'm anticipating receiving John Goodall's God's House at Ewelme, about the almshouse that was established in 1437 by William de la Pole and his wife Alice Chaucer, then the Earl and Countess of Suffolk, and that still exists today, administered by the Ewelme Trust. The book, which I checked out from the library a while back but, alas, had to return, has a great deal of information about the history of the foundation, so I'm looking forward to re-reading it and discussing it on this blog.

Despite all of these books, I went to Borders yesterday and felt unfulfilled when I walked out without buying any new ones. It's a disease--what else can I say?

9 comments:

Anerje said...

We seem to have both been inspired by Kathryn! Both of us are keen on Hicks. Have to say, your book 'The Stolen Crown' re-sparked my interest in the Yorkists. I did send you an e-mail at the old site, not sure if you got it. As for Norton - some of her books are a bit bland - like her 'Anne Boleyn' bio - she just seems to give a straight bio of facts.

LadyDoc said...

Isn't it a weird feeling? I go to a book store, but if I can get it on my Kindle, I have lost some of the "need" to buy physical books. I look at them and think of the bulging, double deep and double high stacked bookshelves at home and put them back on the store shelf!

I also have found myself, just this morning even, looking at books on those crammed shelves and thinking "I should take that to school for the kids to read- I can always get it again on Kindle".

I have put Becoming Queen Victoria on my wishlist for Kindle for next payday. I went a little crazy on Georgette Heyer over Labor Day weekend and blew my book budget for the month! Well worth it- I had a most enjoyable weekend in beautiful weather sitting on the porch and visiting Regency England.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Anerje, thanks! I fear I did get your e-mail but neglected to reply to it. I'm trying to get back on top of my e-mail, but it's an uphill battle! The Norton book on Margaret Beaufort isn't on a par with the Jones/Underwood biography, I'd say, but at least it might help to bring the historical Margaret, as opposed to her portrayal in The Red Queen, to a larger audience.

LadyDoc, I have noticed myself becoming a little less compelled to buy physical books now that I have my Kindle. Though I suspect I'll probably also end up buying books I might not have bought otherwise. Ah, well--it's good for the economy.

Ragged Staff said...

I've found a cure for the disease, Susan, but am working on a cure for the cure! My book wishlist just keeps growing and now I've got a electronic device wishlist that includes a kindle!

Kathryn said...

Some great books here, and I'm glad I inspired both you and Anerje to write blog posts. :-) I'd really like to read the book about Isabeau - she has such an awful reputation and I'd love to know the truth behind it.

Melisende said...

Looking forward to Hicks' "Wars" and about to order Anne O'Brien's "Virgin Widow". Though picked up an interesting read from the library: The Man who Believed He Was The King Of France by Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri.

trish wilson said...

Glad you enjoyed MAH's WOTR. What did you think of his pic of MOA? More impressive and regal-looking than that MS one.

Glad to note Isabeau of Bavaria has a new fan too. I came in by way of Christine de Pisan also worth a look. Why is it that these poor Izzies of history get such a raw deal?

Susan Higginbotham said...

Ragged Staff, I think you'll like a Kindle!

Kathyrn, the book about Isabeau looks excellent--I'm going on a long plane trip next month, and I hope to get to it then if not earlier.

Melisende, I'll be interested in hearing what you think of the O'Brien! And the library book sounds interesting as well.

Trish, quite agreed about Isabeau! But I think you and I are reading different books by Hicks (he has a couple entitled The Wars of the Roses). This is the 2010 edition published by Yale University Press--the only illustration of Margaret is a black-and-white reproduction of the Shrewsbury MS dedication page.

trish wilson said...

I fear you may be right Sue. I do, however, have a copy of that picture on my E-stick.