Product Description
From ancient times to the present day, the story of England has been laced with drama, intrigue, courage, and passion-a rich and vibrant narrative of heroes and villains, kings and rebels, artists and highwaymen, bishops and scientists.Now, in Great Tales from English History, Robert Lacey captures some of the most pivotal moments: the stories and extraordinary characters that helped shape a nation. This first volume begins in 7150 BC with the intriguing life and d… More >>

Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More

5 Responses to “Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More”

  • MJS:

    Great Tales from English History was one of the first books I bought for my Kindle. It wasn’t what I was expecting but it is entertaining on its own terms. This is not a continuous narrative but, as the title suggests, individual tales. Each one is relatively short – most clock it at around 5 pages – making it perfect for bite-size reading. The tales themselves draw heavily on original chronicles and sources and Lacey does an admirable job of providing context for the prejudices of the sources. Most of the stories do involve the great and mighty but Lacey also includes tales of “Cheddar Man”, an early English physician and the Venerable Bede. Lacey’s tales were the perfect company for the subway portion of my commute, easily digestible in 10 minutes each. They’ve also proven to be good bedtime stories for my 12 year old niece.

    If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be this: charming. That’s not faint praise. This is not a substantial work of history but it does provide an entertaining respite for history buff and history novice alike. I particularly enjoyed the way Lacey uses the original source material while still providing a commentary on the likeliness of events happening as written. He also delves into the deeper meaning of the tales whether it’s Piers Ploughman and the bell on the cat or Alfred and the Cakes. He even works in the occasional flash of humor, as when he refers to a boisterous channel crossing as a “booze cruise.” Doing all of this in five page spurts while still entertaining is an accomplishment.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  • Lacey’s “Great Tales From English History” is a great and entertaining series, but I want to emphasize that the Kindle download edition is volume 3 of the series, not the volume 1 that the description and most of the reviews reference. It’s still a wonderful book, just know which one you’re getting.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  • I agree with what another reviewer wrote — this book is a wonderful read for those who know nothing about the subject, as well as for those who are history buffs. Incredibly accessible and wonderfully written, each little chapter is centered around a particular event or person, describing it in detail and with humor before moving on to the next. Great writer, great book.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • A few days ago I finished Great Tales From English History by Robert Lacey. When I first saw this book I knew it had potential; to me, presentation has a lot to do with my overall love for a book and this one is beautiful. After checking it out from my library when I worked there, I found Mr. Lacey’s writing to be exciting, interesting, and informative. A few weeks ago I set to reading the whole thing and I’m glad I did. The book presents short stories about moments from English history that you may or may not have heard of.

    From the introduction: “Brief though each chapter is, Great Tales seeks to create a coherant, chronological picture of our island story, while following the guiding principle that all men and women have heroism inside them – along with generous and fascinating measures of incompetence, apathy, evil and lust.” The book is also beautifully illustrated by Fred van Deelen and Mr. Lacey has included fantastic end notes and bibliographies that you can investigate if you find a particular subject interesting. If you have any interest in English history, pick this one up at your local library and you’ll probably find yourself reading the short chapters in just a few minutes each. You’ll not be dissapointed! (And if you finish this and want more, try Great Tales vol. 2 and Great Tales vol. 3).
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • The first of three volumes, this narrative presents the history of the British Isles in a way that reminds one of how folktales must have once been told. The tales begin with Cheddar Man and end with the story of Wat Tyler, spanning the years of 7150 BC to 1381.

    Lacey intersperses stories of famous royals with little known people, which makes this a truly unique book. I really like learning stories that explain various parts of the English culture.

    I highly recommend this series!
    Rating: 4 / 5

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