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Royalty

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  1. 28.4 hrs • 9/6/2016 • Unabridged

    She ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1702, at age thirty-seven, Britain’s last Stuart monarch, and five years later united two of her realms, England and Scotland, as a sovereign state, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. She had a history of personal misfortune, overcoming ill health (she suffered from crippling arthritis; by the time she became Queen she was a virtual invalid) and living through seventeen miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature births in seventeen years. By the end of her comparatively short twelve-year reign, Britain had emerged as a great power; the succession of outstanding victories won by her general, John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, had humbled France and laid the foundations for Britain’s future naval and colonial supremacy. While the Queen’s military was performing dazzling exploits on the continent, her own attention—indeed her realm—rested on a more intimate conflict: the female friendship on which her happiness had for decades depended and which became for her a source of utter torment. At the core of Anne Somerset’s riveting new biography, published to great acclaim in England (“Definitive”—London Evening Standard; “Wonderfully pacy and absorbing”—Daily Mail), is a portrait of this deeply emotional, complex bond between two very different women: Queen Anne—reserved, stolid, shrewd; and Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, wife of the Queen’s great general—beautiful, willful, outspoken, whose acerbic wit was equally matched by her fearsome temper.             Against a fraught background—the revolution that deposed Anne’s father, James II, and brought her to power . . . religious differences (she was born Protestant—her parents’ conversion to Catholicism had grave implications—and she grew up so suspicious of the Roman church that she considered its doctrines “wicked and dangerous”) . . . violently partisan politics (Whigs versus Tories) . . . a war with France that lasted for almost her entire reign . . . the constant threat of foreign invasion and civil war—the  much-admired historian, author of Elizabeth I (“Exhilarating”—The Spectator; “Ample, stylish, eloquent”—The Washington Post Book World), tells the extraordinary story of how Sarah goaded and provoked the Queen beyond endurance, and, after the withdrawal of Anne’s favor, how her replacement, Sarah’s cousin, the feline Abigail Masham, became the ubiquitous royal confidante and, so Sarah whispered to growing scandal, the object of the Queen's sexual infatuation.To write this remarkably rich and passionate biography, Somerset, winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, has made use of royal archives, parliamentary records, personal correspondence and previously unpublished material. Queen Anne is history on a large scale—a revelation of a centuries-overlooked monarch.

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    Queen Anne

    28.4 hrs • 9/6/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 17.2 hrs • 5/24/2016 • Unabridged

    A groundbreaking reconsideration of our favorite Tudor queen, Elizabeth is an intimate and surprising biography that shows her at the height of her power by the bestselling, Whitbread Award–winning author of Queen of Scots. Elizabeth was crowned at twenty-five after a tempestuous childhood as a bastard and an outcast, but it was only when she reached fifty and all hopes of a royal marriage were dashed that she began to wield real power in her own right. For twenty-five years she had struggled to assert her authority over advisers who pressed her to marry and settle the succession; now, she was determined not only to reign but also to rule. In this magisterial biography of England’s most ambitious Tudor queen, John Guy introduces us to a woman who is refreshingly unfamiliar: at once powerful and vulnerable, willful and afraid. In these essential and misunderstood forgotten years, Elizabeth confronts challenges at home and abroad: war against the Catholic powers of France and Spain, revolt in Ireland, an economic crisis that triggered riots in the streets of London, and a conspiracy to place her cousin Mary Queen of Scots on her throne. For a while she was smitten by a much younger man, but could she allow herself to act on that passion and still keep her throne? For the better part of a decade John Guy mined long-overlooked archives, scouring court documents and handwritten letters to sweep away myths and rumors. This prodigious historical detective work has made it possible to reveal for the first time the woman behind the polished veneer: wracked by insecurity, often too anxious to sleep alone, voicing her own distinctive and surprisingly resonant concerns. Guy writes like a dream, and this combination of groundbreaking research and propulsive narrative puts him in a class of his own.

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    Elizabeth

    17.2 hrs • 5/24/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 28.7 hrs • 5/3/2016 • Unabridged

    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, with a global cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries, and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy and Pushkin, to Bismarck, Lincoln, Queen Victoria, and Lenin. To rule Russia was both an imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice: six of the last twelve tsars were murdered. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death while making Russia an empire, and dominated his court with a dining club notable for compulsory drunkenness, naked dwarfs, and fancy dress. Catherine the Great overthrew her own husband (who was murdered soon afterward), enjoyed affairs with a series of young male favorites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul I was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who in turn faced Napoleon’s invasion and the burning of Moscow, then went on to take Paris. Alexander II liberated the serfs, survived five assassination attempts and wrote perhaps the most explicit love letters ever composed by a ruler. The Romanovs climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas II and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution—and the harrowing massacre of the entire family. Dazzlingly entertaining and beautifully written from start to finish, The Romanovs brings these monarchs—male and female, great and flawed, their families and courts—blazingly to life. Drawing on new archival research, Montefiore delivers an enthralling epic of triumph and tragedy, love and murder, encompassing the seminal years 1812, 1914, and 1917, that is both a universal study of power and a portrait of empire that helps define Russia today.

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    The Romanovs

    28.7 hrs • 5/3/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 15.6 hrs • 4/12/2016 • Unabridged

    A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKNow a major motion picture starring Keira Knightley and Ralph FiennesLady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774 Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, one of England’s richest and most influential aristocrats. She became the queen of fashionable society and founder of the most important political salon of her time. But Georgiana’s public success concealed an unhappy marriage, a gambling addiction, drinking, drug-taking, and rampant love affairs with the leading politicians of the day. With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.

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    The Duchess

    15.6 hrs • 4/12/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    14.1 hrs • 11/10/2015 • Unabridged

    A new biographical portrait that casts the queen as she saw herself—not as an exceptional woman, but as an exceptional ruler Queen Elizabeth I was all too happy to play on courtly conventions of gender when it suited her “weak and feeble woman’s body” to do so for political gain. But in Elizabeth, historian Lisa Hilton offers ample evidence of why those famous words should not be taken at face value. With new research out of France, Italy, Russia, and Turkey, Hilton’s fresh interpretation is of a queen who saw herself primarily as a Renaissance prince and used Machiavellian statecraft to secure that position. A decade since the last major biography, this Elizabeth breaks new ground and depicts a queen who was much less constrained by her femininity than most treatments claim. For readers of David Starkey and Alison Weir, it will provide a new, complex perspective on Elizabeth’s emotional and sexual life. It’s a fascinating journey that shows how a marginalized, newly crowned queen, whose European contemporaries considered her to be the illegitimate ruler of a pariah nation, ultimately adapted to become England’s first recognizably modern head of state.

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    Elizabeth by Lisa Hilton

    Elizabeth

    14.1 hrs • 11/10/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 18.5 hrs • 8/20/2015 • Unabridged

    Elizabeth was not just Queen, she was ruler. In an age of male supremacy she, by sheer force of character, became not only the unchallenged leader of the English but also the first leader of an empire upon which the sun never set. Erickson’s biography tells the truth about this extraordinary woman and profiles some amazing people-their personalities and culture.

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    The First Elizabeth

    18.5 hrs • 8/20/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 16.0 hrs • 6/23/2015 • Unabridged

    The riveting true story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de’ Medici and Marguerite de Valois, whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century. Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm. Catherine de’ Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous “Queen Margot,” was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control. When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family. Rich in detail and vivid prose, Goldstone’s narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, international espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus. The Rival Queens is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.

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    The Rival Queens

    16.0 hrs • 6/23/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 18.5 hrs • 3/24/2015 • Unabridged

    Edward I is familiar to millions as “Longshanks,” conqueror of Scotland and nemesis of Sir William Wallace (in Braveheart). Yet this story forms only the final chapter of the king’s action-packed life. Earlier Edward had defeated and killed the famous Simon de Montfort, traveled to the Holy Land, and conquered Wales. He raised the greatest armies of the Middle Ages and summoned the largest parliaments. Notoriously, he expelled all the Jews from his kingdom. In this book, Marc Morris examines afresh the forces that drove Edward throughout his relentless career: his character, his Christian faith, and his sense of England’s destiny—a sense shaped in particular by the tales of the legendary King Arthur. He also explores the competing reasons that led Edward’s opponents (including Robert Bruce) to resist him.

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    A Great and Terrible King

    18.5 hrs • 3/24/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 15.4 hrs • 3/17/2015 • Unabridged

    The personal lives of the British Royals were successfully kept out of the public eye by mutual agreement of the press and royal family, but this all changed in 1936 when King Edward VIII abdicated the throne and spurned his responsibility for the sake of the glamorous American socialite and divorcee Wallis Simpson. In Princes at War, Deborah Cadbury reveals evidence that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor colluded with Hitler to take back the British throne from Edward’s younger brother, King George VI, should Germany prevail in the war. Drawing on new research and recently released files, Deborah Cadbury shows that not only did George VI have to battle to lead his country but battle constantly to keep his brothers, and especially his older brother, in check.

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    Princes at War

    15.4 hrs • 3/17/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 11.1 hrs • 3/10/2015 • Unabridged

    A meticulously researched historical tour de force in the style of the bestselling In the Garden of Beasts Historian Andrew Morton’s 17 Carnations combines his considerable research background with his proven talent for addictive and readable narrative, giving us a true story steeped in intrigue, suspense, and historical drama. 17 Carnations tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, and his wife Wallis Simpson, whose affair with Joachim von Ribbentrop embroiled the duke in a German plot to use him as a puppet king during their takeover of the British Empire. Although we know that the war ended with Hitler’s defeat, Edward’s story was far from over. The duke’s collaboration with Hitler had resulted in piles of correspondence between them. This damning correspondence, now hidden in a German castle that had fallen to American soldiers, could forever tarnish the reputation of the royal family. 17 Carnations reveals, for the first time in history, the story of the cover-up of those letters, starting with a daring heist—by order of Churchill and the king themselves—to bring the letters back safely to England and out of American hands. Morton’s unique experience and training make him the perfect person to tell this story as it’s never been told before, fusing history and entertainment to create a vivid, atmospheric chronicle of the Windsors’ darkest secrets. The shadowy connection between the House of Windsor, the German aristocracy, and Hitler has hovered on the edge of public consciousness for decades, but no royal biography or historical chronicle has been able to tell the full story—until now. Drawing on FBI documents, material from the German and British Royal Archives, and the personal correspondence of Churchill, Truman, Eisenhower, and the Windsors themselves, 17 Carnations is a dazzling historical drama full of adventure, intrigue, and startling revelations by a master of the genre.

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    17 Carnations

    11.1 hrs • 3/10/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 9.7 hrs • 12/9/2014 • Unabridged

    It was one of the most famous romances of the twentieth century. Europe’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Rainier of Monaco, and America’s most beautiful movie star, the Academy Award-winning actress Grace Kelly, fell in love against the backdrop of the closest thing the modern world has to a magical kingdom, the French Riviera’s Principality of Monaco. Told with affection and humor and written with the unprecedented cooperation of Prince Rainier III and his children, Prince Albert, Princess Caroline, and Princess Stephanie, Grace of Monaco takes readers beneath the surface glitz and the glamour of Monte Carlo for a never-to-be-forgotten portrait of the House of Grimaldi.

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    Grace of Monaco

    9.7 hrs • 12/9/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 12.3 hrs • 12/9/2014 • Unabridged

    Award-winning author Jonathan Beckman tells of political machinations and enormous extravagance. In 1785 a sensational trial began in Paris that would divide the country and captivate Europe. A leading Catholic cardinal and scion of one of the most distinguished families in France stood accused of forging the queen’s signature to obtain the most expensive piece of jewelry in Europe: a 2,800-carat diamond necklace. Where were the diamonds? Was the cardinal innocent? Was, for that matter, the queen? The revelations from the trial would bedevil the French monarchy as the country descended into a bloody revolution.

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    How to Ruin a Queen

    12.3 hrs • 12/9/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 21.2 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history Born at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and a mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León. Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Muslims and Christians, forcing North African invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea. She laid the foundation for a unified Spain. She sponsored Columbus’ trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World with the help of Rodrigo Borgia, the infamous Pope Alexander VI. She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious inquisition that would darken Spain’s reputation for centuries. Whether saintly or satanic, no female leader has done more to shape our modern world, in which millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Yet due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand, the bold and philandering husband she adored, history has all but forgotten Isabella’s influence. Using new scholarship, Downey’s luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant, fervent, forgotten woman, the faith that propelled her through life, and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her command.

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    Isabella

    21.2 hrs • 10/28/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    21.1 hrs • 10/23/2014 • Unabridged

    Acclaimed historian A. N. Wilson gives a sweeping, definitive biography of one of the most recognizable yet enigmatic monarchs of all time. The longest reigning British monarch and female sovereign in history, Queen Victoria was a figure of profound paradox who has mystified historians for over a century. Now in this magisterial biography, A. N. Wilson rebukes the conventional wisdom about her life—that she was merely a “funny little woman in a bonnet” who did next to nothing—to show she was in fact intensely involved in state affairs despite a public façade of inaction. More than just the stock image of a stuffy, unsmiling widow in mourning, Wilson’s complete immersion in Victoria’s countless letters and journals reveals a carefully nuanced portrait of a monarch possessed by family immigrant insecurities, a reluctant public figure who learned to exploit public display, a mother who hated pregnancy, and above all, a political luminary who created and controlled the story of her life, true or otherwise. Victoria brings to life its subject in all her many moods and phases: her so-called miserable childhood, her early years of political inexperience as a pawn to advisers and statesmen, her passionate marriage to Prince Albert and the incessant public criticism, her famed mourning period after Albert’s early death, and finally, the captivating last decades of her rule as Empress of India. After nearly two decades as an eccentric, reclusive mourner, she emerged, self-confident and robust, as an out-and-out imperialist who harnessed royalty with British foreign policy and as the figurehead of military and economic world domination. Wilson tells a story of victory against painful odds and gives the portrait of a woman battling with demons and overcoming them, largely alone. Despite everything, she came to embody the British people’s experience of their own lives. For those hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world, Queen Victoria transcended autocracy; she became the model for all future constitutional monarchies, a beloved leader who reflected back to the people their own experiences of passing time, their own values, and their own sense of the world. With dramatic sweep and novelistic style, Victoria: A Life is an accomplished work from one of our greatest biographers.

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    Victoria by A. N. Wilson

    Victoria

    21.1 hrs • 10/23/14 • Unabridged
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    15.1 hrs • 10/14/2014 • Unabridged

    The author of the New York Times bestseller The Plantagenets chronicles the next chapter in British history—the actual historical backdrop for Game of Thrones. The fifteenth century saw the longest and bloodiest series of civil wars in British history. The crown of England changed hands five times as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. Celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors. Some of the greatest heroes and villains in history were thrown together in these turbulent times—from Joan of Arc and Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt and prudent rule marked the high point of the medieval English monarchy, to Richard III, who stole the throne and murdered his own nephews. It is also a period of headstrong and resilient women—Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, and Margaret Beaufort—who were not afraid to seize power and bend men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, The Wars of the Roses is a bold and dramatic narrative history that will delight listeners who like their history with a healthy dose of bedlam, romance, and intrigue.

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    The Wars of the Roses

    15.1 hrs • 10/14/14 • Unabridged
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  16. 13.1 hrs • 9/9/2014 • Unabridged

    The authoritative biography of Prince Harry by noted royal family biographer Penny Junor, author of Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King and The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor  Prince Harry, one of the most popular members of the British royal family, has had a colorful life. After losing his mother at twelve years old, he spent his teenage years making questionable choices under intense international media scrutiny, becoming known for his mischievous grin, shock of red hair, and the occasional not-so-royal indiscretion. As he’s grown, he has distinguished himself through military service by flying helicopters for the RAF. He served in Afghanistan and continues to devote himself to his military career. He also follows in his mother’s footsteps with charity work—he is the founder of Sentebale, a charity to help orphans in Lesotho, and works with many other charitable organizations to help young people in society and to conserve natural resources. As he reaches his thirtieth birthday, Prince Harry is proving himself a prince of the people.  With unprecedented access to the most important figures in his life, Penny Junor is able get the truth about who this mercurial and fascinating royal son really is. A modern biography of a modern prince, this audiobook offers an insider’s look at the life of the man who is fourth in line to Britain’s throne.

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    Prince Harry

    13.1 hrs • 9/9/14 • Unabridged
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