Great Tales from British History: Was Queen Victoria Ever Amused? And 39 Other Intriguing Historical Questions Answered by Robert Gambles is an enjoyable, entertaining and educational book which examines the popular myths and legends of British history – all the stories we were told in history lessons as children, and that carry on being told to each generation.
Gambles takes stories like King Alfred and the burnt cakes, Dick Whittington and his cat, Lady Godiva, Robert Bruce and the spider, Sir Isaac Newton and the falling apple, King Cnut and the tide etc. and then traces their origins to find out whether they are fictional, exaggerated truths, simple morality tales or real history. It is a nostalgic read for those of us who will recognise these stories from our childhood, and it is really interesting. I defy anyone to read this book without sharing the origins of the stories with family and friends, you just can’t help yourself. Each chapter tells a different story, so you don’t have to read it from cover to cover, you can dip into it over time. It is definitely one to have on the family bookcase.
Did King Cnut really believe that he could turn back the tide? Was Robert Bruce inspired by the perseverance of a spider? Was Queen Victoria never amused? In the 2,000 years of recorded British history, numerous stories have emerged and been passed down through the generations. Some reinforce or add colour to a historically correct perception of a particular individual or event. Others may have been deliberately contrived or fabricated to conceal or distort the truth. Either way, these popular traditional tales are part of our historical heritage. They are ingrained in our understanding of our past and form part of our national identity. In this fascinating book, Robert Gambles traces the origins and tests the truth of forty of these enduring yarns of human strengths and weaknesses, of mystery, catastrophe and agonising dilemma.
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Amberley Publishing (11 Oct 2013)
ASIN US: B00GTW4AUY (This is my affiliate link for Amazon.com and I may receive a small payment if you buy the book through this link).
Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or your usual bookstore.
Originally posted on July 3, 2014.