Wednesday 25 July 2018

Book Review: Behind the Throne by Adrian Tinniswood (Non-Fiction/History)

Title: Behind the Throne
Author: Adrian Tinniswood
Basic Books

Publication Date: 2 October 2018
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley


An upstairs/downstairs history of the British royal court, from the Middle Ages to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Monarchs: they're just like us. They entertain their friends and eat and worry about money. Henry VIII tripped over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on the alcohol bills.

In Behind the Throne, historian Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking the reader on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another and exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads: the power struggles and petty rivalries, the tension between duty and desire, the practicalities of cooking dinner for thousands and of ensuring the king always won when he played a game of tennis.

A masterful and witty social history of five centuries of royal life, Behind the Throne offers a grand tour of England's grandest households.

Behind the Throne is an enjoyable journey through history. Naturally, for any history buff, the major timeline events will already be familiar, but I love the way this book portrays them in a different light, from another point of view. With plenty of anecdotes and 'behind the scenes' action, Behind the Throne is a fascinating review of monarchy through the eyes of those who serve, rather than those who reign. All in all, it is a book sure to appeal to both scholars and general history fans--well written, well researched, and great fun to peruse.

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