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Unruly : The Number One Bestseller ‘Horrible Histories for grownups’ The Times

David Mitchell
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (Michael Joseph Ltd)
Published: September 28, 2023
ISBN: 9781405953177
448 pages
Country of publication: United Kingdom

£25.00

Think you know your kings and queens? Think again.

In UNRULY, David Mitchell explores how England’s monarchs, while acting as feared rulers firmly guiding their subjects’ destinies, were in reality a bunch of lucky sods who were mostly as silly and weird in real life as they appear today in their portraits.

Taking us right back to King Arthur (spoiler: he didn’t exist), David tells the founding story of post-Roman England right up to the reign of Elizabeth I (spoiler: she dies). It’s a tale of narcissists, inadequate self-control, excessive beheadings, middle-management insurrection, uncivil wars, and at least one total Cnut, as the population evolved from having their crops nicked by the thug with the largest armed gang to bowing and paying taxes to a divinely anointed king.

How this happened, who it happened to and why it matters in modern Britain are all questions David answers with brilliance, wit and the full erudition of a man who once studied history – and won’t let it off the hook for the mess it’s made.

A funny book about a serious subject, UNRULY is for anyone who has ever wondered how we got here – and who is to blame.

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