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May 30, 2012

Book Review - The Royal Stuarts by Allan Massie

Over the last few years, my love of History has transformed and broadened. I used to be mainly a military history nut, and I still am (and I'm still a nut, too, but that's unrelated). But I have also moved on to things like Medieval History, especially European History that encompasses almost anything from the end of the Roman Empire all the way up to more recent times.

One area I have not covered much is the history of Scotland. That's not really by choice; it's just that I haven't found a good book on the subject crossing my path. There should be one soon, I would think, as some little-studied (by me, anyway) areas of history keep popping up in books by authors I like.

The Royal Stuarts, by Allan Massie, sort of wets that whistle, though not entirely. The book is a biography of the entire Stuart line of kings and queens of England, from Robert II back in 1371 (Scotland only) all the way to James III (VIII in Scotland), a king without a country as he was in exile his entire life. Each chapter is about a monarch, so earlier chapters are shorter as there is less documentation on them than there is on later royal members.

My review of the book is up on Curled Up With a Good Book.

From my review:
"The history of Great Britain is well-mined territory for many casual history readers with any interest in Europe through the ages. Two areas that I have missed in all of my reading, however, are Scotland and the English kings (and queen) after Elizabeth. Many (like me) stop with Elizabeth and don't delve any further. However, the Stuarts are an interesting family in themselves, especially James I (best known for the King James version of the Bible) who immediately succeeded Elizabeth. With The Royal Stuarts, Allan Massie takes a look not only at James and his post-Elizabeth version of Great Britain, but also the entire Stuart family from beginning to end. A welcome side effect is that the reader gets a nice (if somewhat superficial) history of Scotland as well."
I greatly enjoyed this book, and I will have to make do on my promise to myself to find a book on Scottish history soon.

In the meantime, The Royal Stuarts will do me well. It's nice to see that the Stuarts were such a randy bunch of guys, especially the early ones.


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