Book launches and reviews, Spring 2008

Castles of Nottinghamshire by James Wright

Following several years of research and fieldwork, James Wright's new book Castles of Nottinghamshire (Nottinghamshire County Council, £5.95) is a study of the county's lesser known castles, providing a synthesis of recent archaeological and historical research. It examines their place in the landscape, their role in both war and peace, how they have survived today and looks at the current historical, archaeological and architectural techniques in castle studies. Finally, it provides a gazetteer of all known castle sites in Nottinghamshire for anyone to visit the surviving remains for themselves. The publication is available in person from Nottinghamshire Archives, Nottingham Tourist Information Centre, Nottingham Castle, Waterstones' bookshop in Nottingham and all libraries in the county, or by post from Libraries, Archives and Information, Floor 4, County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, NG2 7QP.

Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses by Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley's new publication, Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion and Great Houses (£20; ISBN 1596913584), takes as its framework the life of William Cavendish, Earl (and later Duke) of Newcastle, famous for his building activities at Bolsover and Nottingham Castles and Welbeck Abbey. Rather than compete with Geoffrey Trease's earlier traditional biography, the author presents chronological episodes in Newcastle's life rather like theatrical scenes, eg the death of his father, Charles I's visit to Bolsover in 1634, etc. The background and context of each scene is then described in meticulous detail, dealing with subjects as diverse as building materials, clothes, jewellery, servants, horses and stables, etc., in order to build up a picture of what life was like in a great aristocratic household of the 17th century.