An intriguing look at ten knock-down, drag-out feuds that helped shape world history:
- Queen Elizabeth I versus Mary, Queen of Scots - English parliament versus King Charles I - Aaron Burr versus Alexander Hamilton - The Hatfields versus the McCoys - Joseph Stalin versus Leon Trotsky - Roald Amundsen versus Robert Scott - The Duchess of Windsor versus the Queen Mother - Bernard Law Montgomery versus George Patton - Lyndon B. Johnson versus Robert F. Kennedy - J. Edgar Hoover versus Martin Luther King Jr.
Evans captures all the drama and controversy in these streamlined accounts brimming with invigorated, well-paced prose. History and human nature collide as revenge is taken to the extreme between strangers and within families. Amundsen and Scott race to the South Pole. Patton and Montgomery, "two armor-plated egos," battle the Germans while vying with each other for the title of supreme Allied general in WW II. The Hatfields and the McCoys, the modern-day synonyms for feuding parties, meet in a succession of bloody showdowns, while Burr and Hamilton's legacy is determined by one fatal duel. Not surprisingly, royalty is well-represented, including the bitter verbal fireworks between Queen Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. Politicians are also major players with larger-than-life personalities like Stalin, Trotsky and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Even though the outcomes of the notorious feuds Evans explores are common knowledge, he skillfully maintains suspense by teasing readers with some of the little-known facts and mysteries that surround them. What stands out in each fascinating case is how hate clouds common sense, how losers sometimes win and winners often lose and, as Evans observes, "history isn't always written by the winners."