Book News December 2020




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Hermine: an Empress in Exile: The untold story of the Kaiser’s second wife

Paperback – 1 January 2021 (US) & 11 December 2020 (UK)

Hermine Reuss of Greiz is perhaps better known as the second wife of the Kaiser (Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany) whom she married shortly after the death of his first wife Auguste Viktoria and while he was in exile in the Netherlands. She was by then a widow herself with young children. She was known to be ambitious about wanting to return to power, and her husband insisted on her being called ‘Empress’. To achieve her goal, she turned to the most powerful man in Germany at the time, Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, her dream was not realised as Hitler refused to restore the monarchy and with the death of Wilhelm in 1941, Hermine was forced to return to her first husband’s lands. She was arrested shortly after the end of the Second World War and would die under mysterious circumstances while under house arrest by the Red Army.

Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia: Brother and Sister of History’s Most Vilified Family 

Hardcover – 30 September 2020 (UK) & 31 December 2020 (US)

Myths and rumour have shrouded the Borgia family for centuries – tales of incest, intrigue and murder have been told of them since they themselves walked the hallways of the Apostolic Palace. In particular, vicious rumour and slanderous tales have stuck to the names of two members of the infamous Borgia family – Cesare and Lucrezia, brother and sister of history’s most notorious family. But how much of it is true, and how much of it is simply rumour aimed to blacken the name of the Borgia family? In the first ever biography solely on the Borgia siblings, Samantha Morris tells the true story of these two fascinating individuals from their early lives, through their years living amongst the halls of the Vatican in Rome until their ultimate untimely deaths. Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia begins in the bustling metropolis of Rome with the siblings ultimately being used in the dynastic plans of their father, a man who would become Pope, and takes the reader through the separate, yet fascinatingly intertwined, lives of the notorious siblings. One tale, that of Cesare, ends on the battlefield of Navarre, whilst the other ends in the ducal court of Ferrara. Both Cesare and Lucrezia led lives full of intrigue and danger, lives which would attract the worst sort of rumour begun by their enemies. Drawing on both primary and secondary sources Morris brings the true story of the Borgia siblings, so often made out to be evil incarnate in other forms of media, to audiences both new to the history of the Italian Renaissance and old.

Katherine Parr: Opportunist, Queen, Reformer: A Theological Perspective 

Hardcover –15 March 2021 (US) & 15 December 2020 (UK)

Unlike other biographies, which have focused on the court politics of the Tudor era, the romantic desires of Henry VIII that drove his serial marriages, and the military and economic challenges to England at the time, this biography remembers the central influence of religious belief on the king and queen, and explains how Katherine’s devotion to the self-questioning protestant ethos had a directing influence on her actions. In particular, the author identifies her seminal work, “The Lamentation of a Sinner,” as the key to unlocking Katherine’s personality. These were more religious times than secular readers today might at first appreciate, but this book shows it is crucial to our understanding of why the last years of Henry VIII’s reign played out as they did, and how his last queen survived when her predecessors suffered divorce and execution.

The Palace Letters: The Queen, the governor-general, and the plot to dismiss Gough Whitlam

Paperback – 10 December 2020 (UK) & 4 May 2021 (US)

What role did the queen play in the governor-general Sir John Kerr’s plans to dismiss prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1975, which unleashed one of the most divisive episodes in Australia’s political history? And why weren’t we told?

The Borgias: Power and Fortune 

Paperback – 8 December 2020 (US & UK)

The glorious and infamous history of the Borgia family—a world of saints, corrupt popes, and depraved princes and poisoners—set against the golden age of the Italian Renaissance.

The Borgia family have become a byword for evil. Corruption, incest, ruthless megalomania, avarice and vicious cruelty—all have been associated with their name. And yet, paradoxically, this family lived when the Renaissance was coming into its full flowering in Italy. Examples of infamy flourished alongside some of the finest art produced in western history.

Sabina Augusta: An Imperial Journey

Paperback – 1 November 2020 (US) & 3 December 2020 (UK)

Sabina Augusta (ca. 85-ca. 137), wife of the emperor Hadrian (reigned 117-38), accumulated more public honors in Rome and the provinces than any imperial woman had enjoyed since the first empress, Augustus’ wife Livia. Indeed, Sabina is the first woman whose image features on a regular and continuous series of coins minted at Rome. She was the most travelled and visible empress to date. Hadrian also deified his wife upon her death.

Royal Seals: Images of Power and Majesty (Images of The National Archives)

Hardcover – 30 December 2020 (US) & 2 November 2020 (UK)

Royal Seals is an introduction to the seals of the kings and queens of England, Scotland and latterly the United Kingdom, as well as the Church and nobility.

Ranging from Medieval times to modern day, it uses images of impressive wax seals held at The National Archives to show the historical importance of these beautiful works of art.

Included are features on the great seals of famous monarchs like Richard III, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and twentieth-century monarchs, as well as insights on the role of seals in treaties and foreign policy.

With ecclesiastical seals and those of the nobility and lower orders included, this is a comprehensive and lavishly illustrated guide.

French Royal Women during the Restoration and July Monarchy

Hardcover – 29 December 2020 (US)

This book examines public discussions around France’s four most prominent royal women during the first and second Restoration and July Monarchy: the duchesse d’Angoulême, the duchesse de Berry, Queen of the French Marie-Amélie, and Adélaïde d’Orléans. These were the most powerful women of the last decades of the French monarchy, but the new roles women were assigned in post-revolutionary France did not permit them to openly exercise political influence. This book explores continuities and variations in narratives of royal legitimacy, and how historians, authors, and politicians used national history – particularly medieval and early modern history – to either legitimize or undermine the French monarchy, and to define women’s social and political roles.






About Moniek 1821 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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