Monarchy and Aristocracy
Cleopatra: A Life
Cleopatra
A Life
Paperback      ISBN: 0316001945
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and -- after his murder -- three more with his prot g . Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.
The Romanovs: 1613-1918
The Romanovs
1613-1918
Paperback      ISBN: 0307280519

"Epic history on the grandest scale. . . . Game of Thrones seems like the proverbial vicar's tea party in comparison."--Financial Times

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?

This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Simon Sebag Montefiore's gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence, and wild extravagance.

Drawing on new archival research, Montefiore delivers an enthralling epic of triumph and tragedy, love and murder, that is both a universal study of power and a portrait of empire that helps define Russia today.
Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
Victoria: The Queen
An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
Paperback      ISBN: 0812982282
The true story for fans of the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, this page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen--a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
THE NEW YORK TIMES - ESQUIRE - THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY

"Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird's exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch."--The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)

When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe's monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public's expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.

Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security--queen of a quarter of the world's population at the height of the British Empire's reach.

Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria's relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.
The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas
The Lost Tudor Princess
The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas
Paperback      ISBN: 0345521404
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE INDEPENDENT - From bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir comes the first biography of Margaret Douglas, the beautiful, cunning niece of Henry VIII of England who used her sharp intelligence and covert power to influence the succession after the death of Elizabeth I.

Royal Tudor blood ran in her veins. Her mother was a queen, her father an earl, and she herself was the granddaughter, niece, cousin, and grandmother of monarchs. Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, was an important figure in Tudor England, yet today, while her contemporaries--Anne Boleyn, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I--have achieved celebrity status, she is largely forgotten.

Margaret's life was steeped in intrigue, drama, and tragedy--from her auspicious birth in 1530 to her parents' bitter divorce, from her ill-fated love affairs to her appointment as lady-in-waiting for four of Henry's six wives. In an age when women were expected to stay out of the political arena, alluring and tempestuous Margaret helped orchestrate one of the most notorious marriages of the sixteenth century: that of her son Lord Darnley to Mary, Queen of Scots. Margaret defiantly warred with two queens--Mary, and Elizabeth of England--and was instrumental in securing the Stuart ascension to the throne of England for her grandson, James VI.

The life of Margaret Douglas spans five reigns and provides many missing links between the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. Drawing on decades of research and myriad original sources--including many of Margaret's surviving letters--Alison Weir brings this captivating character out of the shadows and presents a strong, capable woman who operated effectively and fearlessly at the very highest levels of power.

Praise for The Lost Tudor Princess

"This is a substantial, detailed biography of a fascinating woman who lived her extraordinary life to the full, taking desperate chances for love and for ambition. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the powerful women of the Tudor period."--Philippa Gregory, The Washington Post

"Tackling the family from an unexpected angle, Weir offers a blow-by-blow account of six decades of palace intrigue. . . . Weir balances historical data with emotional speculation to illuminate the ferocious dynastic ambitions and will to power that earned her subject a place in the spotlight."--The New York Times Book Review
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Catherine the Great
Portrait of a Woman
Paperback      ISBN: 0345408772
" A] tale of power, perseverance and passion . . . a great story in the hands of a master storyteller."--The Wall Street Journal

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution. Catherine's family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies--all are here, vividly brought to life. History offers few stories richer than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, an eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.

" A] compelling portrait not just of a Russian titan, but also of a flesh-and-blood woman."--Newsweek

"An absorbing, satisfying biography."--Los Angeles Times

"Juicy and suspenseful."--The New York Times Book Review

"A great life, indeed, and irresistibly told."--Salon

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times - The Washington Post - USA Today - The Boston Globe - San Francisco Chronicle - Chicago Tribune - Newsweek/The Daily Beast - Salon - Vogue - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - The Providence Journal - Washington Examiner - South Florida Sun-Sentinel - BookPage - Bookreporter - Publishers Weekly
Secret Lives of the Tsars: Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia
Secret Lives of the Tsars
Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia
Paperback      ISBN: 0812979052
"Michael Farquhar doesn't write about history the way, say, Doris Kearns Goodwin does. He writes about history the way Doris Kearns Goodwin's smart-ass, reprobate kid brother might. I, for one, prefer it."--Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Washington Post columnist

Scandal Intrigue Cossacks Here the world's most engaging royal historian chronicles the world's most fascinating imperial dynasty: the Romanovs, whose three-hundred-year reign was remarkable for its shocking violence, spectacular excess, and unimaginable venality. In this incredibly entertaining history, Michael Farquhar collects the best, most captivating true tales of Romanov iniquity. We meet Catherine the Great, with her endless parade of virile young lovers (none of them of the equine variety); her unhinged son, Paul I, who ordered the bones of one of his mother's paramours dug out of its grave and tossed into a gorge; and Grigori Rasputin, the "Mad Monk," whose mesmeric domination of the last of the Romanov tsars helped lead to the monarchy's undoing. From Peter the Great's penchant for personally beheading his recalcitrant subjects (he kept the severed head of one of his mistresses pickled in alcohol) to Nicholas and Alexandra's brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Secret Lives of the Tsars captures all the splendor and infamy that was Imperial Russia.

Praise for Secret Lives of the Tsars

"An accessible, exciting narrative . . . Highly recommended for generalists interested in Russian history and those who enjoy the seamier side of past lives."--Library Journal (starred review)

"An excellent condensed version of Russian history . . . a fine tale of history and scandal . . . sure to please general readers and monarchy buffs alike."--Publishers Weekly

"Tales from the nasty lives of global royalty . . . an easy-reading, lightweight history lesson."--Kirkus Reviews

"Readers of this book may get a sense of why Russians are so tolerant of tyrants like Stalin and Putin. Given their history, it probably seems normal."--The Washington Post
Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great
Paperback      ISBN: 1590176235

The Prussian king Frederick II is today best remembered for successfully defending his tiny country against the three great European powers of France, Austria, and Russia during the Seven Years' War. But in his youth, tormented by a spectacularly cruel and dyspeptic father, the future military genius was drawn to the flute and French poetry, and throughout his long life counted nothing more important than the company of good friends and great wits. This was especially evident in his longstanding, loving, and vexing relationship with Voltaire. An absolute ruler who was allergic to pomp, a non-hunter who wore no spurs, a reformer of great zeal who maintained complete freedom of the press and religion and cleaned up his country's courts, a fiscal conservative and patron of the arts, the builder of the rococo palace Sans Souci and improver of the farmers' lot, maddening to his rivals but beloved by nearly everyone he met, Frederick was--notwithstanding a penchant for merciless teasing--arguably the most humane of enlightened despots.

In Frederick the Great, a richly entertaining biography of one of the eighteenth century's most fascinating figures, the trademark wit of the author of Love in a Cold Climate finds its ideal subject.
Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens
Elizabeth and Mary
Cousins, Rivals, Queens
Hardcover      ISBN: 0375408983

The first dual biography of two of the world s most remarkable women Elizabeth I of England and Mary Queen of Scots by one of Britain s best biographers ("The Sunday Times").
In a rich and riveting narrative, Jane Dunn reveals the extraordinary rivalry between the regal cousins. It is the story of two queens ruling on one island, each with a claim to the throne of England, each embodying dramatically opposing qualities of character, ideals of womanliness (and views of sexuality) and divinely ordained kingship.
As regnant queens in an overwhelmingly masculine world, they were deplored for their femaleness, compared unfavorably with each other and courted by the same men. By placing their dynamic and ever-changing relationship at the center of the book, Dunn illuminates their differences. Elizabeth, inheriting a weak, divided country coveted by all the Catholic monarchs of Europe, is revolutionary in her insistence on ruling alone and inspired in her use of celibacy as a political tool yet also possessed of a deeply feeling nature. Mary is not the romantic victim of history but a courageous adventurer with a reckless heart and a magnetic influence over men and women alike. Vengeful against her enemies and the more ruthless of the two queens, she is untroubled by plotting Elizabeth s murder. Elizabeth, however, is driven to anguish at finally having to sanction Mary s death for treason. Working almost exclusively from contemporary letters and writings, Dunn explores their symbiotic, though never face-to-face, relationship and the power struggle that raged between them.
A story of sex, power and politics, of a rivalry unparalleled in the pages of English history, of two charismatic women told in a masterful double biography."

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
Princesses Behaving Badly
Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
Paperback      ISBN: 1683690257
This paperback edition offers true tales of these take-charge princesses plus dozens more in a fascinating read that's perfect for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.

You think you know her story. You've read the Brothers Grimm, you've watched the Disney cartoons, and you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But real princesses didn't always get happy endings. Sure, plenty were graceful and benevolent leaders, but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their majestic closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev slaughtered her way to sainthood. And Princess Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield with her toddler strapped to her back.
Cleopatra: A Life
Cleopatra
A Life
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0316001929
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.

Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and -- after his murder -- three more with his prot g . Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.