Friday, 11 September 2015

Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France by Stephen Clarke

Title: Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France
Author: Stephen Clarke
From: Netgalley
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
Release Date: 15th July 2014
Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 Reading Assignment
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Edward VII: Ultimate European diplomat and Parisian to the core. Known for his women and his cancan dancers, what is it that makes this English King such a powerful European figure even before his ascent to the throne.

I don't normally read biographies, but this one was written by Stephen Clarke, and for me that was enough to read it! I've never really given much thought to Edward VII (my interests in history are older than that in general) nor in pre-World War 1 history, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dirty Bertie. Saying that because of the non-fiction nature of the book, and the fact that I don't normally read biographies, I did find that I dipped in and out of this book and it took me a couple of weeks to read.

As with Stephen Clarke's previous books (or at least the previous ones that I've read) I found his way of presenting the facts to be amusing and there were several moments where I found myself laughing aloud at some of the turns of phrase. I think that Clarke truly has a talent for making information come alive.

The sequence of the chapters worked well for me, rather than chronologically (though there was some sense of this), the chapters focused on different things, and rather than having a lot of different asides, Clarke directs readers to relevant chapters as well as using a limited number of footnotes. These didn't overwhelm and in the kindle edition they were clickable and situated at the end of the chapter.

I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed this book, Clarke has a wonderful way of writing and I already know that I like it, and I found that I not only learnt more about Edward VII but about France and Paris as well (though already having a working knowledge of some things was helpful too!)