Update!!

Full steam ahead, I had posted this challenge a while back but just haven’t gotten to it. But I will be starting reading books for my Biography challenge. I was at the library the other day and I found this treasure above. “Heirs of the honored name” Tells the story of the later members of the Adams family. The start of the book starts with the death of John Quincy Adams. And impact on modern history. It sounds like it touches on the civil war as well. Which is getting me excited.

I’m getting back into American history big time. With books like this no wonder. I have been working on other books as well. The Myth of the loss cause by Edward H. BoneKemper, which was recommended to me. I’m also intend to do some reviews of historical fiction as well. I have some ideas in mind for that, but I will update that later. As always if you want follow with me on the Bio challenge- feel free. Love to hear your thought’s

Book Review: The Romanovs the final chapter by Robert Massie

The Romanovs: The final chapter

By Robert Massie

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 320

My Thoughts

Rating: Four stars

The Romanovs: The final chapter is the continuation of Robert Massie first book on the Romanovs. This book was written 20 years after Massie first book Nicholas & Alexandra. I haven’t read this book,  but I have every intention of doing so. I have been wanting to dip my toes into more Russian history.

I have decided to start with the Romanovs,  I know a little more about them from other areas of history that I have studied. I’m a big fan of English history. So anything, Tudors, Stuarts, Victorians, Windsors,  etc. I also did read Peter Kurth’s book on Anna Anderson, though I don’t know how reliable it is, considering that Kurth fully believed that Anna Anderson was Anastasia.  Kurth is later on mentioned in this book.

This book was split off into three sections. The first part, starts off with the night that Romanovs were killed. One orders from Lenin,  Yako Yurovsky, and his men lead the Romanov family down into the cellar and shot them to death. Massie gives a minute by minute account of this. This was for me was hard to read. It feels like your in the room, witnessing the murders yourself.

The rest of this section talks about the Bolsheviks disposing of the bodies,  interesting fact, fearing that the white army would find the remains of the family. They came back and reburied them somewhere. Had they not done that I don’t think that the Romanovs would have been discovered.

They also talk about the discovery of the bones, which for me was interesting. The bones were actually discovered years earlier ,  but was kept hidden due to fear of repercussions from who was in power at the time. Boris Yeltsin was in power when they actually felt safe to reveal it, though like many things the reveal was wrapped up in its own controversy. 

 I think that the testing of the bones and all the DNA stuff could have been its own separate book honestly.  Massi spent a lot time on this subject. Even in the third section of this book, which delved into the Romanov impostors,  a lot of this section by Anna Anderson, imparticularly the drama over the testing to see who she really is.

All of it was fascinating,  but at the same time it was kind of annoying. Everyone seemed to have their agendas, and it was not necessarily in the best interest in finding the truth.

The last section of this book just tells what happens to the remaining Romanovs, and takes a look at the current family members that are still alive. The Very last chapter starts at the beginning.  Gives an account, through diary entries of Alexandra, of the days/months before their death. I thought that it was very interesting that Massie would leave this part for last. 

I thought Massie covered a lot of ground and went into great detail, which is always a winner for for me.   Clearly he took his time in writing this. Though if I had one criticism. He seemed to be switching from first to third person a lot,  which was driving me nuts. Sometimes he would be going in third person an almost an entire chapter and then suddenly switch to first person and it would be right in the middle of a paragraph. I’m not usually a grammar Nazi but that was particularly irritant for me. Overall, I thought that this was a good book. I would definitely recommend this book if your wanting to read about the last days of the Romanovs.




Book Review: The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman

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I would first like to thank  Clare and Netgalley  for letting me apart of the ” The Royal Art of Poison”  blog tour.  The title of this book in just a few words sets the tone perfectly about what this book is going to about.  Not only do we get a good dose of history about Royals,  but we also get deadly medical practices,  murderous intrigues, and deadly poisons as well.

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Palace of Versailles

I think this book more than anything gave me a major wake up call.  After reading this I was grateful  that I lived in this time period and not back in the past.  One of the things I found interesting about this book,  was when Herman was talking about Castles. Unlike today,  most of the palaces back then didn’t have proper sewage running through them. So most of the time courtiers would find a secluded spot and urinate and defecate in different parts of the castle (i.e. palace staircase).  It was just not people,  but animal feces could be seen around the castle and grounds as well. It had gotten so bad in the court of Henry VIII that he had to crack down and put up a sign banning people from urinating and defecating in the Palace and on Palace grounds.

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Queen Elizabeth I

 

Another intriguing topic that was discussed in this book was cosmetics.  Women were literally killing themselves all in the name of beauty.  Well known historical figures like,  Queen Elizabeth I is well known for the cosmetics she wore. After suffering a bout of smallpox,  she started to apply deadly toxins to her skin in order to cover the pox marks.  Some of these toxins consisted of mercury and human fat that they got from prisoner that they just executed. It was said that Elizabeth suffered from depressions and dark moods towards the end of her life.  Could these toxins have contributed to her mood swings and her ultimate death?  Another interesting fact is that Elizabeth I didn’t want to be embalmed,  due to how the embalmers treated the body.  She wanted her body to be washed,  dressed, and covered with sweet smelling spices.  Elizabeth  really enjoyed this book. These orders were ignored because they were late in burying because they were waiting on James I.

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I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very well written. I thought this book was very informative, and it made me want to study more on certain historical figures. Eleanor Herman has a way of making history fun.  I was not bored at all with this story.  I would highly recommend this book who is interested in royalty, history,  poisons,  and murder/mystery sort of thing. Please pick this book at your library or bookstores today !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Suzanne’s Children: A daring rescue In Nazi Paris by Anne Nelson

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My enemies can kill me. But they cannot harm me ~ Socrates

“Where the children are, the mothers should be , so they can watch over them”

     “I regret Nothing”

My thought’s

 I heard about Suzanne’s Children on  Steve Donoghue’s channel on book tube.  I highly recommend his YouTube channel,  he has all sorts of good recommendations on their for nonfiction and fiction.

I quickly added this to my TBR because I found the summary interesting,  Plus anything involving WWII,  Holocaust,  and Third Reich attracts me like a magnet.  I just find this period of history very fascinating and want to learn more on it.  You’ll probably see more books like this pop up here for review.

 

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Suzanne’s Children centers around Suzanne Spaak, who was born into a wealthy Belgian family.  She married Claude Spaak despite her family disapproval.

Both Suzanne and Claude ended up having two children. Their marriage eventually grew sour and they started to lead separate lives from each other.  Claude busy with his career, and was living openly with his mistress, who happened to be Suzanne’s best friend Ruth.

Suzanne who was angered with the Nazi occupation in France joined the resistance.   At first she did menial jobs,  but then she joined the Red Orchestra, and started rescuing children and hiding them from the Nazis.

Overall,  I really enjoyed this book.  I thought that it was pretty easy read. Though,  I was having a rough time  pronouncing and reading some of the French that was littered throughout the story  (French is not my first language).  There was some parts where she would put translations in parenthesis ,  which I was very grateful for.

I also enjoyed how this book highlighted unsung heroes as well.  Even though this book was about Suzanne Spaak, who herself was an unsung heroe ,  Anne Nelson highlighted other people who were in the resistance and the Red Orchestra. She highlights the people who took Jewish children at the risk of themselves and their families.

The criticism I have read on this book is that people felt that the title was misleading.  which I can understand because its not until almost the end of the book she starts talking about how Suzanne Spaak started rescuing Jewish children.  I was kind of thinking this as well,  but once I read the book in its entirety I changed my mind.

Anne Nelson  just doesn’t give you one piece of the puzzle,  she gives you the entire picture.  I love how detailed that this book was. I think that in order to understand how Suzanne was able to go far as she did in rescuing Jewish children you would have to look in her past and the current situation that she is living in.  All of which Anne Nelson covers in this book.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Nazi occupation in France.  I think that this a great starter book.  This book has made me want to read more on that subject as a whole.

I would love to hear any recommendations that you might have.  So if you have any suggestions please comment below.  Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review : Edward VII: The Prince of Wales and the Women He Loved By Catherine Arnold

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My thoughts

 

I want to start off by thanking St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for sending an arch of this to my Kindle.  It is much appreciated.  I just loved this book. I

I have not done and in depth study of the Reign of King Edward, I know more about his mother’s reign than I do his.

I think that this book would be a good place to start in trying to learn about him. The book centers around  the women in King Edward VII ( Bertie) life. Like Lillie Langtry,  Daisy Warwick,  and Alice Keppel. She also touches on Queen Alix and other women who Bertie had affairs with briefly ( i.e Prostitutes).

Catherine Arnold is a master story teller. I love her writing style she kept me entranced throughout this book.  I got it done very quickly.

I couldn’t put it down.

I like how she started the book by talking about Prince Albert’s death. Victoria consumed in her grief shunned and blamed Bertie for his death. I think that this greatly affected Bertie, and his subsequent relationships.  I kind of wish that Catherine Arnold had explored this avenue a little bit more.  She then goes on and talks about brief affairs that Bertie had ( i.e.  prostitutes). She the moves onto more serious relationships. She spent the most time on  Lillie Langtry,  Alice Keppel and Daisy Warrick. Given detailed accounts about their early life and their relationship with the Prince of wales.  She does dedicate some chapters to Jennie Churchill, who was the mother of Winston Churchill. Jennie was rumored to be Bertie’s mistress but it was never proven.

I have to say these were my favorite chapters.  I heard of Winston Churchill,  but I didn’t realize how interesting his family was.  I intend remedy this by learning more about them.  Overall,  I really enjoyed this book.  I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading about Edward VII.

Book Review: The Road To Camelot by Thomas Oliphant & Curtis Wilkie

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The Road to Camelot  gives an in-depth account of JFK’s  five year campaign. I first found out about this book through Amazon. I was looking at the new releases and upcoming releases and then I spied.

I was super excited because this is not the first book I have read on Kennedy’s campaign. The last book that I read was the “Irish Brotherhood by Helen O’Donnell, which I enjoyed a lot.

I think that I was being unfair to this books because I was having expectations for it that it couldn’t possibly meet.  I wanted this book to be more like the  Irish Brotherhood.  But after thinking about it I am glad that it’s not.

The Road to Camelot  was well written and very detailed, which I liked. I have to admit that it took me longer to get through this and absorb the information. I do recommend that if you get this book plan on trying to re-read it again.

The book gives a fair account of JFK.   I get the sense that they admired him and his accomplishments but they were not afraid to point out some of his faults either.  Like his  extramarital affairs that could  and sometimes did put his campaign at risk.

The writers wanted to debunk the myth that the only reason JFK ran for President was due to his father. The writers state that the only reason that JFK was for him, and from the sounds of it he would listen to his father but if he disagreed he go and do his own thing regardless of what his father said.

This book covers the five year Kennedy campaign.

The main thing I liked about this book was that we got more detailed account on certain events.

Like the events that took place during the 1956 Democratic convention.  Which Kennedy was setting his sites on the VP position,  but things fell through with that and it was during this time that Kennedy decided that he was going to run for President himself.

I can’t help but wonder how things would be different had Kennedy had gotten the VP Position with Adlai Stevenson.

I also liked how they covered Johnson in this as well.  We see him from the perspective of the Kennedy Camp and then we see the Kennedy camp from Johnson and his  supporters viewpoints.  Which I loved,  because it gives a broader view. Plus it don’t make it seem like the writers are bias to one side.

I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in reading about the Kennedy campaign.  I also recommend the Irish Brotherhood by Helen O’Donnell as well.

Book Review: So High A Blood by Morgan Ring

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Margaret was her own person: she fell in love at the direction of her own heart; quarreled  rashly but fearlessly with nobles and  monarchs; stayed a staunch Catholic in a country  that was slowly embracing its new identity as a Protestant Kingdom. Often forced  to be reactive, she became a skilled reactor; she established a place for herself in a new country at a new court; moved faster then anybody else in the aftermath of Francis II’s  sudden death;  admitted,  when she read the forged Bothwell confession,  that she had been wrong  about Mary and  hastened to reconcile with her.   Above all else , she had a vision of her family and of  what  they were meant to do- claim the crowns of England and Scotland, and restore the old faith.   ~  (272-273,  So high a blood)

 

Review

I was very excited  when I heard that another book on the Tudor era was coming out.  Though I have several interest in different era’s of history ,  this particular era has always had a special place in my heart.

So High a blood Tells the story of  Margaret Douglas,  Countess of Lennox.  She was the daughter of  Margaret Tudor,  who was the sister of  Henry VIII and mother to James V,  and  Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus.

This is the first book I have read of Morgan Ring.  I have to say that I was disappointed that this was the only book written by her.  I am very much looking forward to more books from her. I still say that  Lara by Anna Pasternak is still my favorite book of the year,  this book right now is coming in at a close second.

I thought this was a very well written and detailed account of Margaret Douglas life.  I would go as far as to say that anyone who is wanting to learn more about Margaret should begin with this book.  And for those who are familiar with Margaret’s story,  I think that this book brings a refreshing insight on her and those around her.

The premise of this book was that Margaret was her own person, and she was also a survivor who was able to adapt to the  changing world around her.    Morgan Ring does an excellent job in making her case.

One example of this is that Margaret Douglas was a devout Catholic. She was able to forge a good relationship with Elizabeth and other Protestants for a time when being Catholic dangerous.

One of things I liked about this book was that we get  a clear and balance view of Margaret.   We see both her successes and her failures.  Like her determination to get her son and Mary Stuart married,  but she was the blind to the faults in her own son which led to the demise of his marriage to Mary and ultimately his death.

Another thing that I liked about this book is that we get detailed picture of the politics that was going on  in  both England and Scotland.  I am defiantly going to be reading more on Scottish history.

Again, I can’t say enough good things about this.  If your interested in learning the latter half of Tudor history,  I highly recommend this book .

 


Book Description

Title :  So High A Blood

Arthur:  Morgan Ring

Genre:  Nonfiction/Biography

Pages:  341

Format: Hardcover

Verdict: Buy it!!!!