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1215: The Year of Magna Carta [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Danny Danziger , John Gillingham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Jun 2003
The year 1215 saw a time of global upheaval from which the ripples can still be felt today - but it was also an age of domestic changes and the development of a way of life not entirely different to our own. From the oddest detail to the grandest political struggle, Danny Danziger and John Gillingham paint an extraordinary picture of this fascinating age, featuring a cast of some of the most enduring names in history - 'Bad' King John, Genghis Khan, St Francis of Assissi - as well as the thousands of ordinary people whose lives, just as they are today, were affected by the historical events happening around them. The power struggles are balanced with the social issues of the day - fashion, communications, education, medicine, religion, sex - as the authors explore the attitudes and habits of a nation in flux, and the ways in which they sculpted the modern world.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books (19 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840328169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840328165
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 12 x 14.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,006,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A beautiful window on past history. My book of the year' -- Simon Jenkins

'A brilliant little book, well-written, knowledgeable, insightful, accessible, a model of how popular social history should be written' -- Glasgow Herald

'An abundance of useful information and intriguing insights' -- Literary Review

'As stylish a popular social history as one could find' -- The Times

'Thoroughly enjoyable...a superb insight into life as we lived a thousand years ago' -- Independent

Acclaim for THE YEAR 1000: 'A better introduction to this early world than many of us got at school' -- Evening Standard

Book Description

Broad in scope and rich in detail, 1215: THE YEAR OF MAGNA CARTA is a vivid exploration of what may have been the most important year of our lives. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and informative history 31 Jan 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Danny Danziger, author of the popular 'In the Year 1000', looks at the way of life of the English during another pivotal year - 1215, the year of the Magna Carta. In many respects, this is a much more important year than 1000 - in the first place, many people didn't realise it was the year 1000 when it was happening. A similar lack of awareness of the importance of the contemporary events takes place in 1215.
As Danziger and co-author John Gillingham note near the end of the text, 'Denounced by the pope, rejected by the king, discarded by the rebels, by the end of 1215 Magna Carta was surely dead.' This was a document that was more important in hindsight and in precedent than in actual effect. The political situation in England was precarious for most participants in 1215, and civil strife close to civil war was not solved with the stroke of the pen or the great seal being stamped onto the parchment of the Magna Carta.
This book looks more at the world of the English in 1215 rather than the document of the Magna Carta itself. In this respect, it parallels in some ways Danziger's earlier book. The authors look at life in castles, country homes of all classes, town dwellings and church institutions. The ways in which family, school, commerce and employment were dealt with are all subjects of concern here. This was still a feudal society, with overlapping hierarchies of church, crown and aristocracy, as well as contentious foreign relations (the kings of England and France still held rival claims over each other's kingdoms).
Danziger and Gillingham develop a world in which the politics of church and state are still vastly intertwined at the highest levels, but the world of the common folk remains little influenced by the great issues of state in a direct sense.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed every page! 12 Nov 2004
On June 15, 1215, facing a rebellion of his barons, King John of England (yep, the villain of the Robin Hood movie, but that's a different subject) was forced to the conference table, and signed an historic charter - Magna Carta. Widely believed to be the very root of Anglo-Saxon, and later World, democracy, Magna Carta is venerated by many. But, what do you really know about Magna Carta?
In this fascinating book, the authors look at England in 1215, and give the reader an wonderfully in-depth understanding of what life was like at that time, what was going on in England and the rest of Europe, and finally gives the story of Magna Carta, the myths that have grown up around it and even its wording.
Every once in a while a book comes along that surprises me with its excellence - well, this is one of those books! The authors do an excellent job of giving the reader a feel for life in the thirteenth century, really bringing it to life. I enjoyed every page of this fascinating history book, and highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys reading a good book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars history made easy (and very compelling) 23 Jan 2008
By Didier TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I finished this book in a matter of days, so interesting is the subject matter and, perhaps more to the point, so easy and compelling is its style. It's crammed with interesting facts and figures about the day and age when Magna Carta was first drawn up, but it reads as easy as a good detective novel and brings this particular slice of history expertly to life. Sheer joy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Twelfth and Thirteenth Century England 15 April 2012
The title of this book may be a bit deceiving. This book does not focus on the history of the year 1215 or even really about the Magna Carta itself. Though there are references throughout, only about 30 of 300 pages of the book talk about the year 1215 and Magna Carta. If this is what you are looking for there are many books about Magna Carta. But enough of what this book isn't. The majority of the book is spent describing what life was like in England during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. For instance, English manners, dress, and a normal day in the life at a manor are discussed. The book also talks about the farming practices and how they were changing with the urbanization of the English countryside into towns and establishment of markets. The administering of estates and the transition from pre-Norman slave society to serfdom are explained. The topics covered are varied like Jews and moneylending practices, organization and curriculum of schools, tournaments, the mobile court and the patronage system of the Angevin kings, the English legal system and Common Law, trial by ordeal and its abolishment by the church, organization of the English church, the advancement of monasteries and friaries, and the world view of the shape of the earth.

The book also covers many significant events prior to 1215. There is an account of the Battle of Bouvines, events around the assassination of Thomas Beckett, the Pope's interdict and excommunication of King John, brief account of King John reign before the civil war of 1215, Angevin Empire's interactions with the Celtic nations, summary of the first three crusades. These subjects are not given much detail, but enough to establish a backdrop.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and a waste of time 22 Jun 2014
I found it extremely badly structured and so light hearted to be boring.
Very often the author goes off on irrelevant and boring tangents.
The author quotes from a few other books and does not add anything, you may as well read the original source.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars 1215 The Year of Magna Carta
A easy for read and informative book that brings to life the history and issues of the time and the foundations of our freedoms.
Published 4 months ago by Mr B Hughed
5.0 out of 5 stars 1215.
Really enjoyed this book, the authors have done some brilliant research, telling of all the types of things English people got up too during the period of the Magna Carta. Read more
Published 4 months ago by quincey
5.0 out of 5 stars Present
A Christmas present for my husband - although he has not yet started to read it, he says it looks good and seems very informative.
Published 6 months ago by jan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Well written, informative and interesting.

I am a guide at Lincoln Castle; home of 1 of the 4 remaining copies of the Magna Carta and use information from this book in... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Paul Pacey
4.0 out of 5 stars A brief gallop through 1215
I purchased this book as I wanted to know more about the background and events which led to the Magna Carta. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. TK Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read
This is a really easy to read book, with loads of information about life at the time, for the rich and the poor. A must read for anyone with an interest in this period of history.
Published 15 months ago by Psychali
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD BOOKS AT GREAT VALUE
Published 17 months ago by ROSE
4.0 out of 5 stars 1215 Brought Alive
In an easily digestible style, Danny Danziger brings to life the times around the signing of the Magna Carta. Read more
Published 17 months ago by E. F. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
this book is amazing for anyone who wants to become a freeman, know the history, learn it and then go on to become a freeman with the knowledge this book enlightens you too
Published 19 months ago by sharoane
3.0 out of 5 stars What it says on the tin
The book paints a picture of life in 1215. However would have benefited from an insight on the main political players
Published 19 months ago by stevie
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