Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart

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This Whitbread Award–winning biography and basis for the film Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie “reads like Shakespearean drama” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
 
“A triumph . . . A masterpiece full of fire and tragedy.” —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana
 
In the first full-scale biography of Mary Stuart in more than thirty years, John Guy creates an intimate and absorbing portrait of one of history’s greatest women, depicting her world and her place in the sweep of history with stunning immediacy. Bringing together all surviving documents and uncovering a trove of new sources for the first time, Guy dispels the popular image of Mary Queen of Scots as a romantic leading lady—achieving her ends through feminine wiles—and establishes her as the intellectual and political equal of Elizabeth I.
 
Through Guy’s pioneering research and superbly readable prose, we come to see Mary as a skillful diplomat, maneuvering ingeniously among a dizzying array of factions that sought to control or dethrone her. Queen of Scots is an enthralling, myth-shattering look at a complex woman and ruler and her time.
 
“The definitive biography . . . Gripping . . . A pure pleasure to read.” —The Washington Post Book World
 
“Reads like Shakespearean drama, with all the delicious plotting and fresh writing to go with it.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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About the author

Formerly provost and history professor at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Renaissance historian John Guy is now a fellow in history at Clare College, University of Cambridge. He has written several books and hosted several BBC documentaries. Queen of Scots was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Jun 17, 2014
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9780547526966
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Royalty
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Europe / Great Britain / Tudor & Elizabethan Era (1485-1603)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The true story for fans of the PBS Masterpiece series Victoria, this page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen—a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
THE NEW YORK TIMES • ESQUIRE • THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY

“Victoria the Queen, Julia Baird’s exquisitely wrought and meticulously researched biography, brushes the dusty myth off this extraordinary monarch.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe’s monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public’s expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.

Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother’s meddling and an adviser’s bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security—queen of a quarter of the world’s population at the height of the British Empire’s reach.

Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria’s relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.
Thomas Gresham was arguably the first true wizard of global finance. He rose through the mercantile worlds of London and Antwerp to become the hidden power behind three out of the five Tudor monarchs. Today his name is remembered in economic doctrines, in the institutions he founded (the Royal Exchange, Gresham College) and in the City of London's position at the economic centre of the earth.

Without Gresham, England truly might have become a vassal state. His manoeuvring released Elizabeth from a crushing burden of debt and allowed for vital military preparations during the wars of religion that set Europe ablaze. Yet his deepest loyalties have remained enigmatic, until now.

Drawing on vast new research and several startling discoveries, the great Tudor historian John Guy recreates Gresham's life and singular personality with astonishing intimacy. He reveals a survivor, flexible enough to do business with merchants and potentates no matter their religious or ideological convictions. His mind was a calculating engine. Yet his personal relationships were disturbingly transactional. Smuggler and arms dealer, extortioner backed by royal authority, he was a figure of cold unsentimentality even to members of his own family.

Elizabeth, England's steely young queen, found herself at odds with Gresham's ambitions. In their collisions and wary accommodations, we see our own conflicts between national sovereignty and global capital foreshadowed. A story of adventure and jeopardy, greed and cunning, loyalties divided, mistaken or betrayed, this is a biography fit for a merchant prince. Five hundred years after Gresham's birth, now is the time to reckon up his legacy.
COSTA AWARD FINALIST 
ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR 
FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

 Film rights acquired by Gold Circle Films, the team behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding

“A fresh, thrilling portrait… Guy’s Elizabeth is deliciously human.”
–Stacy Schiff, The New York Times Book Review

A groundbreaking reconsideration of our favorite Tudor queen, Elizabeth is an intimate and surprising biography that shows her at the height of her power.

Elizabeth was crowned queen at twenty-five, but it was only when she reached fifty and all hopes of a royal marriage were behind her that she began to wield 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 to rule. In this magisterial biography, John Guy introduces us to a woman who is refreshingly unfamiliar: at once powerful and vulnerable, willful and afraid. We see her confronting challenges at home and abroad: war against France and Spain, revolt in Ireland, an economic crisis that triggers riots in the streets of London, and a conspiracy to place her cousin Mary Queen of Scots on her throne. For a while she is smitten by a much younger man, but can 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 handwritten letters and court documents to sweep away myths and rumors. This prodigious historical detective work has enabled him to reveal, for the first time, the woman behind the polished veneer: determined, prone to fits of jealous rage, wracked by insecurity, often too anxious to sleep alone. At last we hear her in her own voice expressing 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.

"Significant, forensic and myth-busting, John Guy inspires total confidence in a narrative which is at once pacey and rich in detail." 
-- Anna Whitelock, TLS
 
“Most historians focus on the early decades, with Elizabeth’s last years acting as a postscript to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Guy argues that this period is crucial to understanding a more human side of the smart redhead.” – The Economist, Book of the Year
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