Not Your Normal History Book

So one thing about me is that I love history. It just fascinates me how much we have evolved physically, mentally & socially since the beginning of time. History was one of my favorite subjects in school, and fortunately I had some pretty good teachers who made it fun to learn. But now that I’m out of school, I don’t have those same teachers making me read the textbook (or learn), so I have to find authors who make history fun so that I will read their book (and hopefully learn something!).

Michael Farquhar is one of those authors.

I’ve read four out of his seven published books, so yea, I’m nerd crushing pretty hard here.

The four I’ve read, in the order that I’ve read them, are:

Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain

behind the palace doorsGoodreads Summary: Beleaguered by scandal, betrayed by faithless spouses, bedeviled by ambitious children, the kings and queens of Great Britain have been many things, but they have never been dull. Some sacrificed everything for love, while others met a cruel fate at the edge of an axman’s blade. From the truth behind the supposed madness of King George to Queen Victoria’s surprisingly daring taste in sculpture, Behind the Palace Doors ventures beyond the rumors to tell the unvarnished history of Britain’s monarchs, highlighting the unique mix of tragedy, comedy, romance, heroism, and incompetence that has made the British throne a seat of such unparalleled fascination.

Secret Lives of the Tsars: Three Centuries of Autocracy, Debauchery, Betrayal, Murder, and Madness from Romanov Russia

secret lives of the tsarsGoodreads Summary:  Scandal! Intrigue! Cossacks! Here the world’s most engaging royal historian chronicles the world’s most fascinating imperial dynasty: the Romanovs, whose three-hundred-year reign was remarkable for its shocking violence, spectacular excess, and unimaginable venality. In this incredibly entertaining history, Michael Farquhar collects the best, most captivating true tales of Romanov iniquity. We meet Catherine the Great, with her endless parade of virile young lovers (none of them of the equine variety); her unhinged son, Paul I, who ordered the bones of one of his mother’s paramours dug out of its grave and tossed into a gorge; and Grigori Rasputin, the “Mad Monk,” whose mesmeric domination of the last of the Romanov tsars helped lead to the monarchy’s undoing. From Peter the Great’s penchant for personally beheading his recalcitrant subjects (he kept the severed head of one of his mistresses pickled in alcohol) to Nicholas and Alexandra’s brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, Secret Lives of the Tsars captures all the splendor and infamy that was Imperial Russia.

A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans: Pirates, Skinflints, Patriots, and Other Colorful Characters Stuck in the Footnotes of History

treasury of foolishly forgotten americansGoodreads Summary: “History,” wrote Thomas Carlyle, “is the essence of innumerable biographies.” Yet countless fascinating characters are relegated to a historical limbo. In A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans, Michael Farquhar has scoured the annals and rescued thirty of the most intriguing, unusual, and yes, memorable Americans from obscurity. From the mother of Mother’s Day to Paul Revere’s rival rider, the Mayflower murderer to “America’s Sherlock Holmes,” these figures are more than historical runners-up-they’re the spies, explorers, patriots, and martyrs without whom history as we know it would be very different indeed.

A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes, and Frauds

treasury of deceptionGoodreads Summary: We may say that honesty is the best policy, but history—to say nothing of business, politics, and the media—suggests otherwise. In this infinitely citable book, the author of two bestselling treasuries of scandal recounts some of the greatest deceptions of all time. With what forged document did the Vatican lay claim to much of Europe? Who wrote Hitler’s diaries? Why do millions still believe the vague doggerel that Nostradamus passed off as prophecy? Organizing his material by theme (con artists, the press, military trickery, scientific fraud, imposters, great escapes, and more), Michael Farquhar takes in everything from the hoodwinking of Hitler to Vincent “the Chin” Gigante’s thirty-year crazy act.A Treasury of Deception is a zestful, gossipy exposé—and celebration—of mendacity.

I of course don’t have any of Farquhar’s books in front me (they were library books) to prove to you how funny and witty he is with cool quotes and quips, so you’ll just have to take my word for it (or other reviewers) and read for yourself! I just wanted to share with you one of my favorite non-fiction authors.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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