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Eleanor Of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England

Eleanor Of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England [Kindle Edition]

Alison Weir
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Combining the pace and descriptive quality of a novel with the authority of a text book, Alison Weir's study of the revered and reviled Eleanor of Aquitaine should be valuable to anyone with an interest in medieval European history. Wife of Louis VII of France and subsequently of Henry II of England and mother of Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor played a prominent part in the politics of the 12th century. The author of a number of other books on the medieval period, Alison Weir brings all the colour and ever-present dangers of Eleanor's world to life, filling the text with absorbing background detail and revelatory contemporary anecdotes. She is concerned throughout to make critical analysis of the primary sources, the later myths about Eleanor and other modern biographies. This results in a fresh and thoughtful perspective on the energetic 82 years of the life of a determined and ambitious woman living with the sexism, excesses and violence of a society in which the word of a single man could condemn thousands to be put to death. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a vivacious but scholarly book with extensive notes and references appended, giving an objective and rich account of the staunch Eleanor, her feuding family and her complex and unstable world. --Karen Tiley


"Her biography reads like a medieval romance, a marvellous intermingling of fact with legend--fascinating-- splendid." - "Literary Review" "Triumphantly done." - "Sunday Times"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1945 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (28 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Alison Weir lives and works in Surrey. Her books include Britain's Royal Families, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Children of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry VIII: King and Court, Mary, Queen of Scots and Isabella: She-Wolf of France.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By the Wrath of God, Queen of England 4 Jan 2008
Some of the most fascinating characters in history hail from the murkier depths of times lacking much documentary sources. Perhaps their interest comes from this patchwork of conflicting sources, or perhaps the temporal distance lends enchantment. It also presents a problem for the biographer, in that the lack of sources makes it difficult to write authoritatively on the subject. If the subject is a mystery then the book can't be much more than conjectures joined up with speculation.

Eleanor of Aquitaine occupies an odd place in such a time. As a ruler and heiress in her own right, and as queen of France and later England, her life is much more richly documented than most of her contemporaries. Her movements, lodgings, nutrition and clothing can be conjured from the surviving accounts. Richer detail comes from monastic accounts, surviving letters and a good deal of conjecture based on related sources.

Weir has chosen a fascinating subject. She was a woman ruler at a time when women's right to rule was far from established, and in many areas banned by Salic Law. She was forthright, independent and had unorthodox views that capture the essence of the troubadour culture that flourished in her Aquitanian provinces.

Eleanor was wife of Louis VII of France, and then Henry II of England. She was mother to Richard the Lion Heart, and of King John. She herself went on crusade, appearing as the Amazonian queen Penthesilea to rally the troops. She lived as everything from Queen to prisoner, and did so over a remarkable 82 years.

As a writer of engaging `popular' history, Weir has been criticised for dumbing down the subject. In my opinion this is ridiculous.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eleanor empowered 17 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I was captivated by the title when I first came across it. Eleanor of Aquitane certainly proved to be an exceptionally well-written and captivating book, especially when compared to the mediocre efforts of many of our contemporary writers. Alison Weir succeeds in making a distant epoch come to life in a multidimensional way. She has been criticised, by some, for presenting a rather scanty picture of the queen, yet in this same sparse representation, which stems from limited resources available, lies the crux of the existence of a medieval woman. From the morsels of information available about the life of one of the most remarkable female figures of the early medieval period, we can infer that the medieval reality did not consider women as figures of much consequence. For there to have been even this little written about Eleanor she had to have been a particularly influential player in the male orientated society. Through MS Weir's very objective eyes we catch a fair glimpse of Eleanor's world, the consequences of her intelligence, strength and power. It is an effortless read, well worth the time and money.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good; thoroughly researched. 3 Feb 2000
By A Customer
A good and thoroughly researched biography. The author, however, sometimes displays unease with the period and the lack of extant and reliable written sources. Both style and approach, unfortunately, lack some of the confidence with which the author has treated subsequent periods of medieval English history.
The result is a work which can be too general and pedantic in its treatment of the socio-ecomonic conditions of 12th Century Europe and often looses sight of its central subject. However, it does offer many insights into the complicated politics of the era and the forces which motivated Eleanor, achieving a synthesis of the overly simplistic pictures of Eleanor as either 'evil witch' or 'courtly icon'. A sober account of both the life and times of an unique, immensely important and successful player on the political stage of the known world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Eleanor of Aquitaine was the queen of Louis VII of France and later Henry II of England. she was the mother of two English kings, Richard the Lionheart and John. France and England fought for many years over her vast French estates.
Eleanor was one of the most fable women of the Middle Ages and also one of the more controversial.
Beautiful, wilful, strong, intelligent, passionate and a famed lover. Much scandal was attached to her name, much of it with more than a little substance.
She seems to have had more than a few paramours while married to both kings, including Geoffrey of Anjou, father to her second husband, Henry II of England, while she was still married to Louis VI of France.
She was a great patron of troubadour poetry, inspiring some great and passionately expressed ballads.
she lived to be 82 but it was only towards the end of her life that she overcame the adversities and tragedies of her earlier years and became the de facto ruler of England.

The nuns of Fontrevault recorded in their necrology a glowing but conventional tribute to their late patroness, who had been a paragon among women and 'illuminated the world with the brilliance of her royal progeny, She graced the nobility of her birth with the honesty of her life, enriched it with her royal excellence, and adorned it with the flowers of her virtues, and her renown fr unmatched goodness she surpassed almost all the queens of the world'.
Sadly it was often the scandals associated with her youth, and not the wisdom of her stewardship of England during the reign of her sons that is remembered. Yet many ballads and stories have been attached to her name in the 800 years following her passing.
this was written in all sincerity because they knew her in her venerable old age.
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