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Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings Who Invented England Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
They arranged marriages, changed and made laws, administered justice mainly to suite themselves.
This book gives you not only many personal insights into the lives of the monarch and his court but also the peasants who were continually being caught up in wars not of their making. They paid taxes, battled hunger,and high infant mortality they got slaughtered on the battlefield and at home if they were on the wrong side. When the Black Death reduced the number of skilled tradesmen to a few and they raised their rates the king legislated them down to pre plague rates.
The sheer savagery with which the Plantagenets dealt with any opposition, noble, peasant, or on occasion another wayward Plantagenet is horrifying.
One quibble, the author has Henry de Bohun challenge Bruce to single combat before Bannockburn, all other books I have read from Prebble to Caroline Bingham aggree that Bohun charged the King without warning, the King riding a palfrey was somewhat outmatched, however, he managed to cleave the Knights head in two and win the following battle.
Dan Jones has written an informative, entertaining, fast moving book you will not want to put down.
Military tactics evolved from sieges led by mounted knights to pitched battles won by archers and dismounted men-at-arms. The two centuries saw not only the Magna Carta (and the Charter of the Forest) but a number of other, important charters (and the Magna Carta itself needed constant renewal against kings chafing under its yoke). We see English power erode in France and grown in Wales and Scotland.
Covering two centuries of history in a single volume is a tall order. Jones succeeds, but the task requires certain sacrifices nonetheless. The Plantagenets is a history of England, but it is one told through the eyes of its kings. The focus is on England's great battles and the struggle for power between the king and the barons. Jones does a particularly great job at tracking the progress of the great charters the barons forced out of successive kings.Read more ›
This is very much a kings, war and diplomacy book. It does not tell much about everyday life in medieval England. Instead it tells the hard facts of the Plantagenet dynasty from its beginning to end. The most surprising thing about the story is how few good kings England actually had. Really only Henry II an Edward III could be described as great kings and both of them left disastrous sons as heirs. Henry III was a religious flake who managed to get so cross ways with his barons he ended up being effectively disposed by Simon DeMonfort. Edward I, for all of his fame as conqueror of Wales and Hammer of the Scots, left the country bankrupt upon his death. And those two were not even particularly disastrous kings.
Then of course there were the truly bad kings. First and foremost was of course John. The book is very instructive in debunking myths about kings. John for all of his fearsome reputation, was no worse a tyrant than his father and older brother and actually did his best to run a fair judicial system (so much for the Robin Hood myth). But what John didn't do, that is brother and father did, was protect the realm. John suffered devastating military defeats at the hands of King Phillip losing Normandy. The loss of Normandy explains many of the problems later kings would have with their barons. Before John lost Normandy, the barons were a cross channel aristocracy who had every reason to support the Kings wars in France.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this for it's billing as a historical fiction. It reads nothing like that. It's a typical dry, dull history: "this happened and then this happened and then... Read morePublished 6 days ago by c_hristy
I haven't quite finished the whole book, but I really like it so far.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
A tremendous history book. Geared towards a popular audience, Jones seeks to present the chronological history of the Plantagenet dynasty of England and on that note succeeds... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Mark
A lot to digest but so well wort it. Fills in the gaps of what you think you know about the lineagePublished 19 days ago by book lover
Beautifully written. Never had so much fun reading a non-fiction, historical "drama". The author, as advertised, has taken the historical into a conversational tone,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hesper
The entire book was an excellent narrative of the Plantagnet family. A bit detailed in parts for casual readers, but thoroughly enjoyable.Published 1 month ago by Lisa Dunnington
For anyone interested in English history, this is a great book. Throughout my education, I was fed snippets of Plantagenets. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Beverly Nichols