Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe
Patrick Radden Keefe is best known (at the moment anyway) for his Empire of Pain, about the opioid epidemic in the US, but this brings together some of his best investigative essays for the New Yorker – covering gangsters, drug barons, terrorism and more including his essay on the late Anthony Bourdain. I sped through some of them (Bourdain, fake wine, Mark Burnett) but found others harder going but that was probably more about my interests and state of mind at the time than anything else. Worth a look if you want some narrative non fiction but not an entire book on the same subject.
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones
I listened to this on audiobook and although it’s long it’s a really well written and understandable look at the Plantagenets – their rise, influence and power. This is an era of English history that doesn’t really get taught at school (there’s often not a lot taught between the Norman conquest and the Tudors) but the Plantagenet dynasty also held extensive lands in France for long periods so even if you do know the basics of the English end of things there is plenty on that here too. I enjoyed it so much I went straight on to Jones’s book on the Wars of the Roses, which picks up where this leaves off.
The Mountbattens by Andrew Lownie
So I read this because as you may remember I read and really enjoyed reading Lownie’s Traitor King a couple of years ago – and it has the same readable writing style, but this is ultimately a less satisfying read. The characters are fascinating – and you’re probably not going to like them much for quite a lot of the time – and their relationship unconventional to say the least. But although this sets out all the controversies and the debates around Mountbatten’s public life and actions – although it drops one major revelation in *very* late – it doesn’t really come to any conclusions, which makes it ultimately more than a bit frustrating. But it is in Kindle Unlimited at the moment – so if you’re interested it’s much more affordable than books like this often are.
Happy Wednesday everyone