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review 2018-02-04 07:08
King Edward VII
King Edward VII - E.F. Benson

My knowledge about the more recent British kings and queens is more limited than the older ones, and for Edward VII in particular, most of it seemed to come from a book entitled 1000 Years of Annoying the French. However, this was an interesting account which I enjoyed reading, especially the part about his relationship with queen Victoria and the more general history on late 19th century/early 20th century Europe.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2017-06-16 17:15
Mile 81 ★★★★☆
Mile 81 - Stephen King,Thomas Sadoski,Edward Herrmann

This is the short story/novella version of every 1950’s Creature Feature B movie, where the teenagers witness everything and frantically try to get help, only to have all the adults dismiss them as crazy kids pulling a prank. Except in this case, it’s little kids instead of teenagers. Good entertainment, SK style.


The “bonus story” The Dune is much shorter story, with fairly classic SK story elements, but there’s no horror or gore here, just an odd little story of mysterious events, with a fun little twist at the end.


Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library. Thomas Sadoski (Mile 81) and Edward Herrmann (The Dune) bring their stories alive, perfectly capturing the characters through whom the story is told.

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text 2017-05-24 10:38
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 336 pages.
The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation - Ian Mortimer

Oh man, this is so smug, "Other writers have been so simpleminded and wrong about how this is approached, let me show you how I have been better and done proper research" I can only read so much before I want to yell at the author "Just the facts"!

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text 2017-03-09 03:33
U.S. Kindle Sale: Miscellaneous
The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-41 - William L. Shirer,Gordon A. Craig
An American Tragedy - Theodore Dreiser,Richard R. Lingeman
Edward III: The Perfect King - Ian Mortimer
2010: Odyssey Two - Arthur C. Clarke
The First World War: A Complete History - Martin Gilbert
A Passage to India - Pankaj Mishra,Oliver Stallybrass,E.M. Forster

Currently $1.99: An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser.  2010: Odyssey Two, by Arthur C. Clarke.  A Passage to India, by E.M. Forester.


Currently $2.99: The Cruelest Month, by Louise Penny.  Berlin Diary, by William L. Shirer.  Edward III: The Perfect King, by Ian Mortimer.  The First World War: A Complete History, by Martin Gilbert.

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review 2016-11-10 18:55
Edward III: the Perfect King
Edward III: The Perfect King - Ian Mortimer

Ian Mortimer believes, not that Edward III was actually a "perfect king," but that he was striving towards it - that it was one of his goals in life to live up to the great prophecies made at his birth in 1312. 


Edward III was the grandson of Edward I, "Hammer of the Scots," and the son of Edward II, a weak king, and Isabella of France, daughter of Philip IV "the Fair."  (The latter epithet relates to Philip's hair color, not his personality; he was a tough king, and sometimes a very cruel one.)  Isabella would be the only one of Philip's four children (he also had three sons) to produce male children who would live to adulthood, which would result in great tragedy for France for the next hundred years.


Few English kings can have come to the throne in a more perilous situation - he was a boy of fourteen, and the puppet of his mother and particularly of her lover, the ambitious Roger Mortimer, Earl of March.  For diplomatic reasons he was almost immediately married to the twelve-year-old Phillipa of Hainault (a principality in what is now Belgium).  He had few friends, and little time not monitored by either Isabella or Mortimer.  He was told, and spread the news far and wide, that his father, Edward II, died of grief in September of that year, while in confinement at Berkeley Castle.


At seventeen, in 1330, already a father, and aware of how precarious his situation was, he took an enormous chance, and personally overthrew Mortimer in the middle of the night, while they were staying at Nottingham Castle. He would rule alone for the rest of his life, which would be long (he died only in 1376).


However, Mortimer argues, Edward III already knew that he had been lied to in 1327, and that his father still lived.  It's a really interesting argument, and I think he has pretty good evidence.  (Mortimer has a fairly long article on his webpage laying out the general lines of his argument: http://www.ianmortimer.com/EdwardII/death.htm .)


Edward III's future prowess as a warrior king is legendary - he would lead the English to victories over the Scots, at Halidon Hill, and the French, at Crecy, Poitiers, and Sluys (the great naval battle of the Hundred Years' War).  What may be less famous is his attention to, and building up of, the English Parliament, his great building projects (he had hot and cold running water in his bathroom!), or his fascination with the new inventions and machinery, such as clocks.  (There's also an interesting bit about Edward III as a model for Arthur in medieval romances.)


It may have taken me a year to finish, but I kept getting distracted.  I blame you lot, as I keep thinking "well, that book looks interesting..."

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