Jim's Books

Unruly

David Mitchell

Unruly
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ISBN: 9781405953191

Description

Taking us right back to King Arthur (spoiler: he didn't exist), Unruly tells the founding story of post-Roman England up to the reign of Elizabeth I (spoiler: she dies). It's a tale of narcissists, inadequate self-control, excessive beheadings, middle-management insurrection, uncivil wars, and at least one total Cnut.

Reviewed on 29th June 2024

Just occasionally I dip into some non-fiction reading, and this time I’m glad I did.

David Mitchell covers the monarchs of England from the mists of time (years with three digits) up to Elizabeth I, with an appreciation of irony and narrative storytelling that reality lacked at the time.

His voice comes across perfectly as he walks through history in roughly chronological order, taking no prisoners as he labels kings and queens by levels of competence and luck, with various anecdotes from history mixed in with his own personal reminiscences about learning about the period.

I really enjoyed both the facts and the sense of humour that the book portrays, and felt it much more approachable a read than other attempts at comic history that I’ve read.

If there’s ever a sequel (although I’m not anticipating one) then I would read it.

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