The Troublesome Tudors and Sleazy Stuarts by Catrin Stevens


The Troublesome Tudors and Sleazy Stuarts by Catrin Stevens

The history of the Tudors and Stuarts interpreted and illustrated in an exciting way for children. Includes humorous illustrations on every page, and the book is a trove of information presented in a clear and appealing way. In the main, the more gory and extreme customs of the period are described.


It is a pleasure to welcome a Welsh version of the phenomenally successful light-hearted history series for children. This volume, covering the Tudors and Stuarts, is the first to appear, although it was published in Welsh in 2006. It gives non-Welsh speaking young people an attractive way to learn about their early history. This is a readership which is often poorly served and which is generally taught the least about its origins and heritage. Catrin Stevens has been most successful in adopting the familiar format with its love of alliteration and jokes and its sceptical approach to its subject. It seems to me that, with its mix of contrasting opinion and documents, it is much closer to the way History is now taught than the fact-laden approach mocked by 1066 and All That of previous generations. Although overtly tongue in cheek, it underlines the fact that we are as reliant for our understanding of the past on biased accounts and personal documents quite as much as on any formal records. This book covers a wonderfully gory and complex period with gusto, breaking up the text into boxes of varied typeface, with quizzes, posters, poems and above all, Graham Howellss marvelouslly witty and lively drawings, which I found very effective. There are also lots of good visual jokes. Rhys ap Tomos showed political astuteness in double-crossing Richard III; having promised only to allow the invader to pass over his body, he hid under a bridge on which the name Pontarsais has been amended to Pontargymro. (Unfortunately, this requires a footnote for a non-Welsh speaker which has not been provided.) As you would expect, there are also lots of fantastic facts, such as some of the esteemed Bishop William Morgans less saintly qualities. He apparently used to slap his mother-in-law, defending himself on the grounds that it was beneficial for her health; he also hid two large guns under his surplice when conducting church services, (for what purpose is not revealed). Its fun to try a quiz where some of the offered answers are clearly ridiculous (Henry VIII closed the monasteries because he didnt support the monks football teams) but looking up the answers is a painless way of discovering a little about the dissolution. I look forward to the next volume: Hideous Hanoverians, perhaps? Wendy Crockett -- Welsh Books Council

About the Author

Born in Llan-non, Ceredigion, Catrin Stevens was educated at Ardwyn Grammar School and Bangor University. Having worked as a Welsh and History teacher, Catrin was also head of the History and Welsh History department at Trinity College, Carmarthen. Her books about Welsh courting customs derive from Catrin s research into old Welsh customs at St Fagan s National History Museum. Catrin now works as a freelance writer and her main interest is interpreting history for readers of all ages. Amongst her books for children is Catrin s original Welsh series, Hanes Atgas, which she has also adapted into English the Wicked Wales. These books tell the story of the people of Wales in a fun and appealing way and are extremely popular with younger readers. Catrin is also the author of three of the titles in the A Wyddoch Chi? series

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Book Info


144 pages


Catrin Stevens
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Publication date

27th August 2010



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