Book News January 2021

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The Lives of Saint Constantina: Introduction, Translations, and Commentaries (Oxford Early Christian Texts)

Hardcover – 4 November 2020 (UK) & 4 January 2021 (US)

Constantina, daughter of the fourth-century emperor Constantine who so famously converted to Christianity, deserves a place of her own in the history of Christianity. As both poet and church-builder, she was an early patron of the Roman cult of the virgin martyr Agnes and was buried ad sanctam in a sumptuously mosaicked mausoleum that still stands. What has been very nearly forgotten is that the twice-married Constantina also came to be viewed as a virgin saint in her own right, said to have been converted and healed of leprosy by Saint Agnes. This volume publishes for the first time critical editions and English translations of three Latin hagiographies dedicated to the empress, offering an introduction and commentaries to contextualize these virtually unknown works.

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.

The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication 

Hardcover – 19 January 2021 (US & UK)

Alexander Larman’s The Crown in Crisis will treat readers to a new, thrilling view of this legendary story. Informed by revelatory archival material never-before-seen, as well as by interviews with many of Edward’s and Wallis’s close friends, Larman creates an hour-by-hour, day-by-day suspenseful narrative that brings readers up to the point where the microphone is turned on and the king speaks to his subjects. As well as focusing on King Edward and Mrs. Simpson, Larman looks closely at the roles played by those that stood against him: Prime minister Stanley Baldwin, his private secretary Alec Hardinge, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang. Larman also takes the full measure of those who supported him: the great politician Winston Churchill, Machiavellian newspaper owner Lord Beaverbrook, and the brilliant lawyer Walter Monckton.

The Last Queen: Elizabeth II’s Seventy Year Battle to Save the House of Windsor 

Hardcover – 5 January 2021 (US & UK)

 Clive Irving’s stunning new narrative biography The Last Queen probes the question of the British monarchy’s longevity.  In 2021, the Queen Elizabeth II finally appears to be at ease in the modern world, helped by the new generation of Windsors. But through Irving’s unique insight there emerges a more fragile institution, whose extraordinarily dutiful matriarch has managed to persevere with dignity, yet in doing so made a Faustian pact with the media.

Women at the Early Modern Swedish Court: Power, Risk, and Opportunity (Gendering the Late Medieval and Early Modern World)

Hardcover – 27 January 2021 (US & UK)

What was it possible for a woman to achieve at an early modern court? By analysing the experiences of a wide range of women at the court of Sweden, this book demonstrates the opportunities open to women who served at, and interacted with, the court; the complexities of women’s agency in a court society; and, ultimately, the precariousness of power. In doing so, it provides an institutional context to women’s lives at court, charting the full extent of the rewards that they might obtain, alongside the social and institutional constrictions that they faced. Its longue durée approach, moreover, clarifies how certain periods, such as that of the queens regnant, brought new possibilities. Based on an extensive array of Swedish and international primary sources, including correspondence, financial records and diplomatic reports, it also takes into account the materialities used to create hierarchies and ceremonies, such as physical structures and spaces within the court. Comprehensive in its scope, the book is divided into three parts, which focus respectively on outsiders at court, insiders, and members of the royal family.

Diaries of an Egyptian Princess 

Hardcover – 1 January 2021 (UK) & 14 April 2020 (US)

Princess Nevine Halim is a direct descendant of the royal family that ruled Egypt from 1805 until the abdication of King Farouk in the wake of the Free Officers coup in 1952. The eldest of three children, she was born in Alexandria on 30 June 1930, the great-great-granddaughter of Muhammad Ali Pasha on her father’s side and the great-granddaughter of Khedive Ismail on her mother’s side.
Drawing on her own diary, as well as those of her mother and grandmother, she takes us on a journey from the First to the Second World War, from Egypt to Europe and the United States, from a world of glamour, wealth, and privilege to the fugitive existence of the exile and social outcast after 1952. We also meet her father, Abbas Halim, the charming rebel prince who clashed with King Fuad for championing the rights of workers, as well as many other members of the Egyptian royal family and a glittering host of international royals, politicians, and film stars.
Packed with royal gossip and political intrigue, with tales of young love and fashionable society, and of princes and princesses dancing perilously close to the edge of a way of life that would one day fall apart and then vanish, Diaries of an Egyptian Princess is an event-filled account of an endlessly fascinating epoch in modern Egyptian history.

Chaucer’s Queens: Royal Women, Intercession, and Patronage in England, 1328–1394 (Queenship and Power) 

Hardcover – 30 January 2021 (UK & US)

This book investigates the agency and influence of medieval queens in late fourteenth-century England, focusing on the patronage and intercessory activities of the queens Philippa of Hainault and Anne of Bohemia, as well as the princess Joan of Kent. It examines the ways in which royal women were able to participate in traditional queenly customs such as intercession, and whether it was motherhood that gave power to a queen. This study focuses particularly on types of patronage, and also considers the importance of coronation, especially for Joan of Kent, who was neither a queen consort nor a dowager, yet still fulfilled some queenly duties. Crucially, the author highlights the transactional nature of the queen’s role at court, as she accumulated wealth from land, rights and traditions, which in turn funded patronage activities.

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Sister-Queens in the High Hellenistic Period: Kleopatra Thea and Kleopatra III (Routledge Studies in Ancient History)

Hardcover – 1 January 2021 (UK)

About Moniek Bloks 2763 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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