No monarch has generated more conflicting opinions, or demanded more effort from the historian attempting to disentangle myth from reality. John Gillingham contends that the popular views of Richard are false, that they are based upon legend and not upon evidence. Strip away the legend and look at the evidence, study Richard on his home ground in the turbulent Duchy of Aquitaine, and a new picture of Richard emerges. He is still the crusading knight and patron of troubadours, but he is also a capable ruler with a clear eye for political realities. Indeed, in the sheer breadth of his vision, in the ability not only to conceive great enterprises but also to carry them out, he (though no Englishman) was one of the ablest kings ever to sit upon the throne of England. -- Midwest Book Review
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