Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty

Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty

by Karl Shaw
3.4 16

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Royal Babylon 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Aramink More than 1 year ago
The title of this review sums the book up, but I will elaborate since B&N has provided all this lovely space in which to do so. Actually, I should take that back. It doesn't tell ALL. It leaves out an awful lot of why things were they way they were, and it is horribly unflattering of every royal character it touches. The book covers the misbehavior of royals from a wide variety of European countries since medieval times. Each Royal is given just a few pages, at least one of which is devoted to a drooling description of how ugly he or she was and how horrible looking everyone associated with him or her was. The physical descriptions of European royalty lead the reader to assume that the entire intermarried bunch were disgusting to look at from afar and even worse up close. The author revels in these descriptions of every hideous royal person. In fact, he takes so much pleasure in describing the physical flaws in whichever king, queen, prince or princess he attacks, one would believe the person acquired those looks on purpose just to make the populace vomit whenever the royals waved from a balcony on holidays. Personally, I have always thought that making fun of how people look is tantamount to making fun of them because of their race. They cannot help it, and there's probably not much they can do to change it, if they can do anything at all. Leave them alone. At least, that's what I taught my children. Mr. Shaw's mother obviously felt differently about it, or else she is mortified at his treatment of these people. Most of the Royals have only a few pages devoted to telling his or her story. Such a short space necessarily leads to abridgement, but sometimes the story is so abridged that essential facts are left out. The tales need to be retold in a forum with more space to do them justice. As an avid reader of history, I have encountered many of these stories before, but most of them were barely recognizable. Shaw tells each tale with the breathlessness of a celebrity gossip columnist, hitting the high points but completely leaving out any mitigating facts. Anything even remotely flattering or favorable to the Royal in question was apparently discarded before Shaw even began to put this book together. Even Rasputin's death, as famous as it was and as many times as it has been retold in history, was told in such a short, breathy gasp that the reader's head spins a bit. Had the Author spent a little more time explaining the influence Rasputin had on the Tsarina, and why, and why Tsar Nicholas put up with it, the reader approaching this story for the first time might gain an understanding of why Rasputin was so hated that men would go to such lengths to kill him. (And I beg to differ with the author - Nicholas II and Alexandra were not unattractive, nor were their children. Rasputin, on the other hand, was a greasy and disgusting slimeball.) Had the author spent less time running down the looks of the Royals and more time telling the stories, the book would have been better. As it stands, it makes for good bathroom reading. About all one can stomach of it is a story at a time, and reading a story takes about as long as one serious visit to the loo. Too bad I bought the Nook edition - I'm not leaving the Nook in the bathroom.
TexasStarVA More than 1 year ago
In America, we love our celebrities, and none more so than those who are celebrities from birth, such as royalty and the children of movie stars. This book is an eye-opening reminder of why our forefathers and mothers fled Europe for a chance to live free of kings. Kings were worse than dictators, and with all the inbreeding, it's a wonder anyone would even consider marrying into the royal family to this day. After reading this book, I realized the monarchy is an institution that has as much relevance today as whale-bone corsets. Highly recommended for anyone with an open mind for the truth about the bad old days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Drivel, plain and simple.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way better than the tabloids...
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the flow to ebb a bit mid-stream, and the end seemed a bit abrupt, but overall this is a laugh-out-loud history of European royalty. Certainly not the staid version we received in high school. Readers will be entertained by the royal hijinks, and comforted by their own 'commoner' status.