Great Bastards of History: True and Riveting Accounts of the Most Famous Illegitimate Children Who Went on to Achieve Greatness

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Fair Winds Press, Jan 1, 2010 - History - 272 pages
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For much of history and across most of the world, being born out of wedlock—a love child, a bastard—was a serious impediment to success. Illegitimate offspring were subject to neglect, abandonment, disinheritance, and social exclusion, and often found the usual routes to education, wealth, and status blocked. Surmounting these obstacles required tremendous fortitude and persistence.

 

Great Bastards of History brings together the captivating and stirring stories of fifteen remarkable and influential people who overcame the disadvantages of illegitimate birth to rise to positions of power. As well as providing insights into the personalities of many world-changing figures, it highlights the extraordinary courage, drive, and resolve that ordinary individuals can summon when faced with extreme adversity. Among its subjects are powerful political players including Alexander Hamilton, the abandoned son who became a founding father of the United States, and cultural figureheads such as Leonardo da Vinci, who, despite being denied entrance to trade guilds and universities, was proclaimed one of the greatest men of his day in courts throughout Europe. Equally affecting are some of the less well-known but no less fascinating figures, such as James Smithson, the disinherited son of an English duke, whose bequest to a country he never visited founded the largest museum in the world, the Smithsonian Institution.

 

Deftly blending biography and history, political intrigue, melodrama, and psychological analysis, this is a collection that will uplift, entertain, and inform, while yielding fresh perspectives on some of the most significant events from our past.

 

 

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Contents

Introduction
6
A Lucky Bastard 1028?1087
8
Bastard of the Renaissance 14521519
26
A Brutal Bastard 14751541
42
From Bastard Daughter to Virgin Queen 15331603
60
The Bastard Who Would Be king 16491685
80
An Illegitimate Son Becomes a Founding Father of a New Nation 17571804
102
A Mysterious Bastard Becomes Benefactor of Americas Most Prestigious Museum 17651829
118
The Illegitimate Welshman Who Found Livingstone 18411904
160
Rebellious Mother Rebellious Son 18761916
178
Legendary but not Legitimate 18881935
194
How a Parentless and PovertyStricken Child Became a Jazz Legend 19151959
212
A Struggling Actress Remakes Herself into a Cultural Icon 19191952
228
An Illegitimate Child Sparks a Revolutionand Reinvents a Nation 1926
242
Bibliography
258
Acknowledgments
264

How the Viceroys Illegitimate Son Became a National Hero 17781842
130
An Illegitimate Son Inherits His Fathers Talentsand Vices 18241895
146

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About the author (2010)

Juré Fiorillo is the author of True Stories of Law & Order and True Stories of Law & Order: SVU. She is also a contributing author of History’s Greatest Lies and Before They Changed the World.

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