History’s Most Memorable Dying Remarks, Deathbed Declarations and Final Farewells
In his own Introduction, the author Terry Breverton describes this book as a “History of the World” seen through some of history’s most memorable final utterances. In one sense therefore this work is a work of reference: many lives, representing a wide cross section of humanity, are summed up each in a single page, headed by and placing in context a quotation either of the spoken word, the written reference such as a final letter or poem, the epitaph or tribute from a friend or supporter. In another sense, this is a source of entertainment and enjoyment as the reader appreciates the remark which may be quite appropriate to the circumstances, or conversely the quip which portrays heavy irony or appears to be at the very least “tongue in cheek”.
The rise and fall of Nazism and the events of the Second World War and its aftermath still fascinate us today, even though the majority have no first hand experience of the horrors of the time. As a theme it remains extremely popular for school and university students. The period is already extensively and extremely well documented for the English reader, either by such exhaustive studies as those by William L Shirer, Alan Bullock, Hugh Trevor Roper or, more recently, Michael Burleigh. The works of these authors and others are included in the “Further Reading” section at the end of the work. There is also exhaustive film footage, now available on DVD. The reader is therefore entitled to ask what “Hitler An Illustrated Life” has to distinguish itself from all of the other material that is available?
The fifteenth century witnessed many of the bloodiest battles fought on British soil as conflicts raged between warring factions for the English crown. Names from the later part of the century, such as Towton, Tewkesbury and Bosworth Field will be well known to many. The battle of Shrewsbury may be much less familiar but it was a decisive turning point in the earlier years of the reign of Henry IV. The story of the early years of Henry’s reign is both dramatic and compelling. John Barratt’s gripping narrative is an eloquent testimony to the events of the time and deserves a very wide readership.