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Great Tales from English History: Vol. 2    by Robert Lacey order for
Great Tales from English History
by Robert Lacey
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

This is the second volume in the Great Tales from English History series by historian Robert Lacey. The first volume left readers at the Peasants' Revolt; this one begins soon afterwards with Chaucer and Richard II.

As the title states, historical events are presented as tales - short, chatty accounts of well-known historical figures and happenings. Chaucer, various characters from the Wars of the Roses, Guy Fawkes, Drake, and Raleigh, are all present. The stories march along in more or less chronological order. Each account presents a brief overview of the event, with some mythological and legendary features as well. Lacey treats the more sensational aspects with a touch of skepticism and humor, and gives easily understandable reasons for questioning their veracity. In fact, each story is very easy to understand, with just the right amount of detail to give a good sense of what happened and its place in history.

I'm a history buff, but really haven't put the time into reading as much about these events as I should. Therefore, I know a little about a lot of things, but not a lot about any. This type of book is just right for casual history fans such as myself. And, if more information is wanted, Lacey includes an excellent list of sources in the back for more in-depth research. The tone and style of the book is informal and breezy, informative and entertaining at the same time. This 2nd volume of Great Tales from English History is a good, light summer read for anyone who enjoys history.

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