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Henry IV: The Righteous King [Kindle Edition]

Ian Mortimer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99
 
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Book Description

The talented, confident, and intelligent son of John of Gaunt, Henry IV started his reign as a popular and charismatic king after he dethroned the tyrannical and wildly unpopular Richard II. But six years into his reign, Henry had survived eight assassination and overthrow attempts. Having broken God’s law of primogeniture by overthrowing the man many people saw as the chosen king, Henry IV left himself vulnerable to challenges from powerful enemies about the validity of his reign. Even so, Henry managed to establish the new Lancastrian dynasty and a new rule of law—in highly turbulent times.


In this book, noted historian Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan London, explores the political and social forces that transformed Henry IV from his nation’s savior to its scourge.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Ian Mortimer is a British historian and historical fiction author. He holds a PhD from the University of Exeter and a Master’s degree from the University of London, and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of the Sunday Times best-selling book A Time Traveler’s Guide to Elizabethan London, as well as detailed biographies of Roger Mortimer, First Earl of March, Edward III, Henry IV, and Henry V. He is well known for developing and promoting the theory that Edward II did not meet his end in Berkeley Castle in 1327, as is held by conventional theory. His historical fiction novel, the first book in the Clarenceux Trilogy, was published under the alias of James Forrester.


Product Details

  • File Size: 3203 KB
  • Print Length: 599 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (February 22, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IOWMXQA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich portrait of an obscure king April 4, 2009
Format:Paperback
Henry IV is known primarily for grabbing the throne and holding on to it long enough to pass it on to his more famous son. Nevertheless, he is a pivotal figure in English history, and I can think of no better introduction to him than this vivid biography. When I started it, I had just finished a biography of Richard II, the king he replaced. It was fuill of typically academic hedging like "some sources say he was in York at this time, others that he was in Calais." Mr. Mortimer quotes the conflicting sources in a case like this, then tells you that his credit card receipts (or the medieval equivalent) place him in Calais. The breadth of his sources, and his willingness to select from them to create a coherent narrative and compelling psychological portraits of his characters make this one of the best biographies I have ever read. Whether you are reading for pleasure or information, you can't go wrong here.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Henry IV: saviour or usurper? December 28, 2007
Format:Hardcover
For many of us, Henry IV is the king who deposed Richard II, fathered Henry V and features in three of Shakespeare's historical plays. He reigned as King of England from 1399 to 1413 and while the significant events of his reign are documented in history, the man himself largely remains in the shadows.

In this book, Ian Mortimer sets out to bring Henry IV out of the shadows by providing both context and perspective for his actions. Mortimer's research and energetic writing do shed light, but it is not quite enough to infuse Henry IV with personality and life. The people around Henry IV largely remain in the shadows and it is their perspectives that would enable us to get a clearer picture of the man who was the king.

Ian Mortimer has provided comprehensive notes and a wealth of information in his select bibliography. This book is a wonderful starting point for those who want to know more about the life and times of Henry IV. I hope that at some stage someone will write a book that will be able to shed more life on the man himself.

Was Henry IV a usurper or a saviour? Ian Mortimer has a view, and while I largely agree with him I'm not entirely convinced. Yet.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work May 25, 2009
Format:Paperback
Ian Mortimer creates a readable and thoroughly researched biography of Henry IV, the first English monarch since the Norman conquest to overthrow the sitting monarch and successfully assume kingship in his place. Mortimer attempts to explain Henry the man as well as Henry the king, resulting in a nuanced and fascinating look at a king often overshadowed by his more glamorous son. The narrative is enjoyable and well-paced, with occasional stops to explain an obscure or often-misunderstood point. Mortimer also explains his conclusions clearly; specific textual evidence is always cited and explained. Not exactly a light read, but a treat for anyone with an interest in medieval history.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong narrative of a king trying to survive June 5, 2011
Format:Paperback
On the back cover of Mortimer's Henry IV, the author is described as a "narrative historian" by the BBC History Magazine. Mortimer uses this style of writing in both this book and his book on Edward III. It ties events together into a story format and tries to get inside the thought processes of the participants much more than many history books. As such there is always the danger of making fact what the king "might" have been thinking. On the other hand, it makes for smooth and engaging reading. I enjoyed this book a great deal, more than his earlier work on Edward, because I found the narrative less biased in favor of the subject and the claims about Henry's "fears" were, to me, well-documented. The book is an excellent read that delves into the complexities of this man and his time. It is objective about the main character while at the same time generating sympathy for the man - a tough combination to pull off. Henry overcame more than a half dozen attempts to overthrow him after he started out being called a "savior" by the people. I especially enjoyed Mortimer's description of Henry's complex relationship with Richard II, Henry's close friendship with Archbishop Arundel and the father-son conflicts and resolution with the future Henry V. Mortimer does an impressive job of bringing these to life. The book would make an excellent introduction to someone interested in the joys and fears, the triumphs and failures, of a medieval king.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Educational October 26, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading Edith Pargeter's excellent work of HF "A Bloody Field By Shrewsbury" featuring Henry IV, I thought to learn more about this most interesting medieval English king. I found this site to be an excellent resource in looking for a "straight" biography. Likewise, the many positive reader reviews here encouraged me to read this one and I was rewarded for doing so. Mortimer offers an excellent blend of scholarly history (as evidenced by his numerous, detailed appendices) and psychological insight. Too often I find biographies of medieval persons to be either bogged down in arcane research notes or gossipy and based on the writer's biases and suppositions. Mortimer finds a balance between these less satisfactory approaches with a resulting depiction of Henry of Lancaster which is both reasonably personal and historically reliable. Mortimer's clear interest in his subject translates well to his reader and I came away with respect, appreciation and even fondness for Bolingbroke, not as usurper, but as breaker of long tradition who succeeded in removing a tyrant from the throne and establishing a new dynasty of his own family with permanent impact on the course of English history. Works such as this make learning history enjoyable and rewarding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good history, interesting person
Thorough, and added a great deal to my knowledge of this period. Ian Mortimer does a good job of making Henry a real person, who loves music, has close relationships with his... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Kate Stout
5.0 out of 5 stars I love history. bar
Enjoyable and elucidating. Held my interest all the way through.
Then again, I love history.
bar
Published 2 days ago by Barrie Lax
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great read, lot of History
Published 2 days ago by earl w crossland
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I was surprised at the politics and the behind the scenes maneuvering.
Published 2 days ago by knitting granny
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thourough depiction of Henry IX
Jan Mortimer writes an erudite history of King Henry IX of England. He gives good explanations of medieval customs and helps us understand why Henry did what he did. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Margie Moranville
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend
Very well written and thoroughly researched. A lot of information about a King that is not often written about. He was more than just the father of Henry V. Read more
Published 19 days ago by GBASH
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-done.
This was a very good read written by a very competent scholar who successfully argues his interpretations of Henry IV's life, ascension to the throne and then his troubled reign. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Thomas R. Johnson
2.0 out of 5 stars Very confusing kindle addition
I might give this a better review, but the kindle addition is a mess. Large sections are skipped and suddenly the footnotes, which are very extended, appear instead. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Jonesy
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked King
With this well-written, extensively researched biography, Ian Mortimer has filled an historical void that has long needed filling. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Addicted Bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read
a worthy biography, with a strong bias towards humanizing and justifying the semimythological Henry. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Linda from Mill River
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More About the Author

Ian Mortimer has BA, PhD and DLitt degrees in history from Exeter University and an MA in archive studies from University College London. From 1991 to 2003 he worked for Devon Record Office, Reading University, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, and Exeter University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1998, and was awarded the Alexander Prize (2004) by the Royal Historical Society. He lives with his wife and three children on the edge of Dartmoor, in the southwest of England. For more information see: www.ianmortimer.com.

Using his middle names, 'James Forrester', he also writes fiction. 'Sacred Treason', the first volume of a trilogy set in England in the 1560s, was published by Sourcebooks in October 2012. See www.jamesforrester.org.uk.

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