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Henry IV: The Righteous King [Kindle Edition]

Ian Mortimer
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 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: #15,879 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
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 19 days 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 20 days ago by Linda from Mill River
2.0 out of 5 stars Smug author
At almost every chapter, the author has to explain to us why his interpretation is superior. I had just finished Dan Jones The Plantagenets and it was far better in story telling... Read more
Published 21 days ago by J. Manvell
4.0 out of 5 stars Good History Lesson
I didn't know a lot about Henry before reading the book and feel I have a much better understanding of his reign now. Author presented both the monarch's good and bad points.
Published 3 months ago by JBG
5.0 out of 5 stars An important figure in world history who is often hidden from view by...
To say any king or indeed any person is more or less significant than any other sounds arrogant and begs the response that this is surely just a matter of perspective. Read more
Published 5 months ago by W Greenhalf
5.0 out of 5 stars Usurper, I think not!
Very interesting, informative and enlightening read of an oft much maligned English king. Although somewhat partial, one may find many unknown and obscure facts regarding both the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robert S. Field
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece by Mortimer
Another excellent biography by Ian Mortimer. I first read The Perfect King and then followed with this book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by K. Hacker
5.0 out of 5 stars MARKED USPER
Ian Mortimer tells the tale of a tragic prince who lead an incredible life but has been unappreciated throughout history. Read more
Published on February 18, 2012 by Jeremy A. Perron
4.0 out of 5 stars Henry IV, out of the shadows
If you are a fan of The Tudors but failing to understand the undercurrents of the political intrigue at court, then this book is for you. Read more
Published on January 29, 2012 by Demeter
5.0 out of 5 stars Will the real Henry IV please stand up?
Ian Mortimer has done it again.
Taken what is usually a very dry topic, about an ignored historical figure and set the record straight. Read more
Published on November 30, 2011 by Teresa Pietersen
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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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