[book review] Thomas Cogswell, James I: The Phoenix King

cover cogswellThomas Cogswell, James I: The Phoenix King (Penguin Monarchs), (London:  Allen Lane, 2017)

Thomas Cogswell’s biography is recognisably one of the Penguin Monarchs series.  That means it’s concise (just 109 pages) and informative; a good general introduction to the king who succeeded Elizabeth. For those studying Shakespeare or the Early Modern period, the information about James’ early life is useful and potentially revealing.

It’s also often neglected.

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[book review] AD Swanston: Incendium

cover incendium

AD Swanston, Incendium, (London:  Bantam Press, 2017)

This is the first in a new series, and much as I love this period (and am increasingly interested in historical fiction) I’m not convinced I’ll follow Christopher Radcliff’s adventures. Not, at least, at full price.

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[book review] Michael Bogdanov – Shakespeare: The Director’s Cut

cover bogdanovMichael BogdanovShakespeare : The Director’s Cut (Capercaillie Books:  Edinburgh, 2005)

As soon as I read the Introduction to Bogdanov’s book, I blogged excitedly about it – I sensed a kindred spirit: someone I would have enjoyed a boisterous, passionate debate with over a few drinks.

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The Boar’s Head Bookshelf update

bookshelf hand removing book

“A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.”  Alan Bennett

This year my book buying AND reading have grown exponentially.

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[book review] Laura Ashe, Richard II: A Brittle Glory

cover asheLaura Ashe,  Richard II:  A Brittle Glory (Penguin Monarchs), (London:  Penguin, 2017)

With a particular connection to Shakespeare’s play about Richard, and a few Penguin Monarchs already under my belt, I’d really hoped for something special from this book.

I was disappointed.

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[book review] Helen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity

cover castorHelen Castor, Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity (Penguin Monarchs Series), (London:  Penguin, 2018)

Helen Castor is – perhaps despite the title – sensibly objective in this short (117 pages) but useful biography of Elizabeth. Early on, she admits that the queen was almost unknowable to her subjects and rivals, let alone to us from a distance of over 300 years.
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[book review] Rory Clements: Revenger

cover clements revengerRory Clements, Revenger, (London:  John Murray, 2010)

(subtitled: ‘do you know who I’m related to?’)

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