• The First Bourbon
    Founder of the Bourbon dynasty, Henry IV is the most romantic and adventurous of all French kings. He survived the Massacre of St Bartholomew and the murderous intrigues of the Valois court, fought in over 200 battles or skirmishes, and possessed more than 60 recorded mistresses.
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  • The Monks of War : The Military Religious Orders
    The military orders emerged during the Crusades as Christendom’s storm troopers in the conflict with Islam. Some of them still exist today, devoted to charitable works.
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  • Prince of the Renaissance: Francois I
    The reign of Francois (1515-47) was a continuous pageant in which two brilliant cultures came together – Gothic France and the Italian Renaissance. A supreme patron of the arts, his court painters included Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Sarto.
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  • The Bourbon Kings of France
    Licentious or bigoted, noble or ignoble”, wrote Nancy Mitford, “there has seldom been a dull Bourbon.” The story of the Bourbon kings encompasses the two most glorious and turbulent centuries in French history, yet surprisingly, this is still the only narrative account of the dynasty for the general reader.
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  • Eleanor of Aquitaine
    Dominating her own, twelfth, century, famous for her beauty and generosity Eleanor of Aquitaine was queen to Louis VII of France and then Henry II of England. Worshipped by troubadors, she had an uneasy relationship with her husbands, scheming against King Henry, who then kept her in prison for fifteen years.
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  • The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453
    For over a hundred years England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. France was a large, unwieldy kingdom, England small and poor, but for the most part she dominated the war, sacking towns and castles, winning battles, including such glorious victories as Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt.
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  • Monks and Wine
    A study of an important area of wine history that is generally neglected. For well over a thousand years all the biggest and best vineyards were cultivated by monks, who saved viticulture when barbarian invasions destroyed the Roman Empire.
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  • Marie Antoinette
    Marie Antoinette came to France as a child-bride from Austria, France’s traditional enemy, but the hatred she aroused seems out of proportion to her faults as an inexperienced girl presiding over the most splendid court in Europe.
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  • Richard III
    Although Richard reigned for only just over two years, he is one of England’s best known kings. There is even a ‘Richard III Society’. A passionate debate rages perenially as to whether he really was the arch-villain of Sir Thomas More and Shakespeare or in fact the victim of Tudor slander…
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  • Naples: A Travellers’ Companion
    Desmond Seward’s travellers’ companion is a topographical anthology which recreates for todays tourist the drama, the history and the life of the city in buildings and locations that can be visited.
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  • Napoleon’s Family
    In Napoleon’s Family, Desmond Seward recounts the saga of these arriviste émigrés. The back-biting and bickering for honours among the Emperor’s siblings was often vicious, always entertaining, and an embarrassment to their brother.
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  • Italy’s Knights of St George
    Although the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George is little known outside Italy, where it enjoys official recognition from the Vatican and the Italian Republic, it has a fascinating history and a notably prestigious membership.
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  • Henry V
    Idolized in his lifetime and immortalized by Shakespeare, Henry V is the military genius whose armies crushed the French at Agincourt against huge odds, and who went on to conquer north-western France, marrying the king’s daughter and becoming heir and regent.
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  • Napoleon and Hitler
    Napoleon and Hitler are two of history’s most terrible dictators. In this ground-breaking book Seward reveals strikingly close parallels between them.
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  • Brook’s: A Social History (joint editor)
    Founded in 1764, with the oldest purpose-built club-house in the world (1778) Brooks’s has ever since been at the heart of London’s political and social life. Although a Whig club, members have always included a number of Tories, and a strong literary and artistic element.
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  • Metternich: The First European
    For a third of a century, from 1814 until 1848, the Austrian Empire was the strongest state in Europe: not only the Habsburg territories but German and Italy were ruled from Vienna.
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  • The Dancing Sun: Journeys to the Miracle Shrines
    Seeking reassurance for his waning belief, Seward resolved to visit the seven European shrines where the Virgin had materialised during the twentieth century, beginning with Medjugorje.
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  • Sussex (with a foreword by Christopher Hibbert)
    Here is pagan Sussex to Bloomsbury Sussex and beyond. Critical of the encroachments of the modern world, Desmond Seward takes us behind suburbia and motorways and explores the old, secret Sussex, still there for those who want to find it.
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  • Brief History of the Wars of the Roses
    This immensely readable book examines the impact of the Wars of the Roses, that ‘amazing fifteenth-century bloodbath, on the lives of five men and women during the years from 1455 to 1487.
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  • Caravaggio: a Passionate Life
    A religious artist who used prostitutes for models, a mystic with a police record, the Pope’s portrait painter and a murderer, having hidden in the Roman hills as an outlaw on the run, Caravaggio joined the Knights of Malta.
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  • Eugenie: the Empress and her Empire
    From 1853 to 1870 Eugénie de Montijo was Empress of the French, sharing the Second Empire with her husband Napoleon III.
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  • The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope
    In the 1490s Girolamo Savonarola, a visionary friar, dominated Renaissance Florence, terrifying the city with his uncannily accurate prophecies.
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  • Jerusalem’s Traitor: The Travellers’ Prospect
    When the Jews revolted against Rome in AD 66 Josephus, an aristocrat from Jerusalem, was made a general in his nation’s army, despite having been a favourite of Nero’s wife Poppaea.
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  • Wings over the Desert: In action with an RFC pilot in Palestine 1916-18
    Little has been written about the Royal Flying Corps in Palestine during the campaigns of 1916-18 that ended with the destruction of three Turkish armies – the Great War’s most complete victory.
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  • The Last White Rose
    The Wars of the Roses did not end, as many had hoped, at the Battle of Bosworth. The struggle between the Tudors and the Yorkists of the White Rose went on, with pretenders and plots, until well into the next century.
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  • The Demon’s Brood
    This is a gallery of the Plantagenet family, from Black Fulk to Bosworth Field, whose kings reigned longer over us than those of any other dynasty. Four were murdered, two came close to deposition and the last was killed in battle by rebels.
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  • Renishaw HallRenishaw Hall: The Story of the Sitwells
    This is the story of a beautiful old house and of the family who have lived there for centuries.Home to Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell, its owners have always been colourful, including a Cavalier and a Regency Buck who hunted a tiger with his hounds.
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  • Books with Susan Mountgarret


  • Byzantium: A Journey and a Guide
    From Constantinople the Byzantine Empire ruled Greece, Asia Minor, the Balkans and Italy. Giving themselves 50 days, Desmond Seward and Susan Mountgarret set out to find its art and architecture.
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  • Old Puglia: A Portrait of South Eastern Italy (with Susan Mountgarret)
    Apulia (or Puglia), the heel stretching down from the spur of the Italian boot, has lovely landscapes, wonderful cities with Romanesque cathedrals, Gothic castles and a wealth of Baroque architecture.
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