Unruly

by David Mitchell

£25.00

History

Hardback

9781405953177

Published by Penguin Books Ltd

Published September 2023

Books > History

Discover who we are and how we got here in comedian and student of history David Mitchell’s Unruly: A History of England’s Kings and Queens – a thoughtful, funny exploration of the founding fathers and mothers of England, and subsequently Britain.

Think you know the Kings and Queens of England? Think again.

In Unruly, David Mitchell explores how early 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 to us 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 (as the monarchy began to lose its power). It’s a tale of narcissists, inadequate self-control, excessive beheadings, middle-management insurrection, uncivil wars, and at least one total Cnut, as the English evolved from having their crops nicked with menaces 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 the hell it matters in twenty-first-century Britain are all questions David answers with brilliance, wit and the full erudition of a man who once studied history – and is damned if he’ll let it off the hook for the mess it’s made of everything.

A serious book by a very funny man, Unruly is for anyone who has ever wondered how we got here – and who is to blame.

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