A successful rehabilitation.



A British historian and journalist takes a fresh look at the famed Bourbon queen.

King Charles I often gets sympathy for losing his head in 1649 after losing the civil war, but his wife, who survived him, remains reviled as a Catholic French interloper and malignant influence. In her latest royal portrait, de Lisle offers an entertaining, convincing reevaluation of her subject. Henrietta Maria (1609-1669) was the youngest sister of France’s Louis XIII, and her 1625 marriage to Britain’s Prince Charles was a strictly political union that, as was often the case, did not accomplish its purpose. A devout Catholic who “spoke French, ate French food, [and] enjoyed French amusements,” she was never popular in a nation whose dislike of foreigners matched their fierce Protestantism. Contemporary America’s bitter divisions over abortion or guns will seem trivial compared to the murderous hatred between 17th-century Protestants and Catholics (and among Protestant sects), which began during the Reformation a century earlier. Urged by her parents and the papacy to return Britain to the “true religion,” she did no such thing but worked with spotty success to ease Catholic persecution. The author emphasizes that Charles felt less threatened by Catholicism than hard-line Puritans, who dominated Parliament and “distrusted the king as anti-parliamentary.” The author adds that poor political skills, an obsession with his divine right to rule, and clumsy efforts to raise money without Parliament infuriated the Puritan-dominated establishment, who combined to restrict his authority and eliminate his supporters, often by execution. The situation ultimately drove Charles to stop dithering, raise an army, and initiate the civil war in 1642. C.V. Wedgewood’s The King’s Peace and The King’s War from the 1950s remain the definitive accounts of what followed, but de Lisle does a fine job, emphasizing Henrietta Maria’s energetic partnership, during which she sold her jewels and art to buy arms abroad, organized their shipment to Britain, and exercised diplomatic skills—undoubtedly superior to her husband’s—in an ultimately futile cause.

A successful rehabilitation.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63936-280-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.


A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?