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Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty Paperback – May 29 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; New edition edition (May 29 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767907558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767907552
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13.8 x 20.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Karl Shaw is a wonderful compiler {he must be aided by a good research team}. I can recommend all of his books - I have two others besides this one - to one and all of adult age. Hilarious most of the time, perhaps sickening at others. I'm glad that Shaw latched on to the fact that Edward VIII of England was in fact a Nazi sympathiser {and went as far as being a spy}.
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Format: Paperback
I rated this book two stars because sometimes it got extremely boring. Shaw seems to only depict English royalty and it got boring reading stories about the Hanovers. I would recommend A Treasury of Royal Scandals instead it was written much better.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book. I never tried to take it seriously and I think that's why it was so fun. It was the kind of book you can read, put down, and go back to over time. It was something you had to committ to but it was fun and I learned quite a bit about those wonderful royals.
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Format: Paperback
With the descent of the modern media onto the current royal family, and the loss of the aura of untouchability that led to frank examinations of the lives Prince Charles and Andrew, the re-examination of royal institutions has led to the publication of a number of books similar to Shaw's Royal Babylon. The stories range from amusing to tragic to downright silly, but the underlying theme is to portray how ridiculous the institution of monarchy is, and how ridiculous its various officeholders have been throughout a number of nation's histories. The stories, some popular and others not so well known are protrayed in vivid fashion with vigor by Shaw. Anyone looking for evidence of ample royal insanity, or those who revel in reading about the less-than-graceful moments of a number of historical figures will enjoy this book, and it does make for good light amusing reading. However, the book does have a number of problems. First, the author appears to fall victim to wild exaggeration that reduces the validity of the stories. In one story about Prussion emperor Frederick Williams fascination with collecting tall men for his army, he claims that "the tallest were almost nine feet tall", a very unlikely claim. His overexaggeration of the grotesqueness, insanity, and unpopularity of a number of monarchs not only disgusts the reader after a time, but makes his claims dubious. A number of his claims about the popularity of various monarchs flies in the face of most accepted perceptions of them. In addition, his chronicle jumps wildly from time to time and country to country. There is absolutely no continuity of the tales, and a bit of organization of thoughts would have helped the reader follow a particular line.Read more ›
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By SusieQ on April 16 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has a lot of little factual errors, that should have been caught by a good editor or fact checker. The writing is only fair-to-poor. Nothing new or interesting here, despite the "babylon" promised in the title.
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By A Customer on March 19 2003
Format: Paperback
I am always searching for new books on Russian and English royalty from 1875 to 1940. I enjoy reading about their inner families, habits, fights etc but I want it to be true and done in a serious manner.I want to know that the author is above board and knows his facts. I didn't enjoy Royal Babylon for two reasons. One, most of the characters he wrote of I am not interested in. He went clear back into the 1600's. Two, everything was done in a flippant way, which made me doubt his accuracy. Very little on English or Russian royalty of my time period of interest.
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Format: Paperback
This is a popular history of the Royal families of Europe that is censored from most histories. It has a bibliography, but no index. From the Hanoverians of 1714 until 1871 the British royal family was never popular. They were attacked in the press for profligacy, indolence, stupidity, or squalor. Page 3 tells how "spin doctors" and the British press turned public opinion in favor of the royal family. Yet they compared favorable to the royal houses on the continent. Their escapades in the 1990s are a return to past traditions.
Spain's rapid economic decline coincided with the reigns of mad rulers. The Habsburgs, Braganzas, Savoys, Hohenzollerns, and Wittelsbachs were inbred, insane, or both. While academic history books deal with trade or battles, they censor the personalities behind those events. The rulers called "Great" were not given that name for any good works. Until the 19th century royals were very often illiterate (like their subjects). History is as much about the madness of men as about social events. The more powerful a ruler, the greater the danger of his folly. So read about the last three centuries of European dynasties. Let's hope that it can't happen here, with an Imperial Presidency and Corporate Aristocracy!
This book appears to be a spicy confection. but there is whole wheat beneath the pink icing. This book teaches without preaching; the facts speak for themselves.
Page 95 gives the origin of "God Save the King". The personality of Kaiser Bill is described on pages 144-8. The history of the Romanovs is on pages 151-188. Did you wonder what the world lost in that dynasty? The frequent absences from England by George I was the reason for the creation of a Prime Minister (p.193).
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