A wide-angled survey of men who ruled—and not just empires or countries.
Crowning a series that began with Drimmer’s The Book of Heroines (2016) and Crispin Boyer’s The Book of Heroes (2016) and publishes simultaneously with Drimmer’s The Book of Queens, this gathering of glitterati covers not just historical heads of state from Akbar to Shaka Zulu, but also fictional ones such as T’Challa of Wakanda. Readers will also meet Martin Luther King Jr. and other “Kings of Change,” “Aristocrats of Action” (Babe Ruth, Dwayne Johnson), preeminent performers (Elvis, Lin-Manuel Miranda), and sci-tech sovereigns such as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Compiled with an eye to examples both good and bad, the roster includes an admixture of tyrants, losers, and deposed rulers, and it closes with a blanket summary of positive characteristics supposedly common to great leaders. Despite occasional flubs, such as an all-white selection of “Emperors of Exploration,” said roster also shows commendable racial and geographic diversity—and even includes queens and other notable women in frequent sidebars (in case, apparently, readers don’t want to check out or buy two books). The profiles range from two pages in length to a quick paragraph, and they focus more on quick summaries of accomplishments (or failures) than biographical details. Though the layout has a dense look, the bright colors and graphics, as well as a plethora of photos, period images, and fanciful but realistically modeled modern portraits, provide plenty of life and visual energy.
A salutary gallery of monarchs—or at least monarchial types. (index) (Collective biography. 9-12)