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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
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 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: 1987 KB
  • Print Length: 474 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0099523558
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (28 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #56,356 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
68 of 69 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
By A Customer
I am surprised by some of the criticisms of this book. True, there would appear to be very little source material to give a detailed description of the life and character of the heroine, but the book is so much more than that. Alison Weir is to be greatly complemented for her rigorous refusal to speculate or invent salacious details where no evidence exists. She shows herself, yet again, to be a careful and fair historian. Where there is doubt she openly sets out the competing versions and states her own conclusion. You may not always agree, but at least you can decide for yourself. The true value of this book is that it charts the uneasy and capricious relations between England and Royal France at a (or even "the") key period of the development of both nations as we know them today. The fascination is that Eleanor knew all the key players well, found herself in such wildly differing camps, and was present (even if in the background) at so many key events. It is fair to say that the book might be more accurately titled "England and France during the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine", but that is hardly a substantial criticism. The details of expenditure on Eleanor's personal items are of value in that they show the extent to which she was, or was not, in the King's favour at different times. I would not describe the book as dry. It is factual in parts, but it is a history book and the learning is worn lightly. One remarkable achievement is that you do not lose track of the complex familial relations of the main players. This book has encouraged me to read further about this fascinating era. It is another excellent book from Alison Weir and I would recommend it unhesitatingly to anyone interested in this period.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good as i thought it to be
Published 9 days ago by E. Tait
5.0 out of 5 stars A Queen from Aquitane
A well written and well presented book of one of the greatest European Queens in History - wife of the King of France , then later wife to Henry II of England , mother to Richard... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Jason Rue
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very well written and informative
Published 1 month ago by rosemary crofts
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great item
Published 1 month ago by H. Newman
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
A truly excellent biography of a most extraordinary woman who had, unusually for the period, great influence on events shaping the history of the period
Published 6 months ago by C.M.Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Eleanor of Aquitaine
I chose a 4 star rating because the book gives good historical information. We are reading this with the book club.
Published 6 months ago by Yvonne G. Romain
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much Henry
As usual with AW very well written but as a biography of Eleanor Henry's battles and disputes takes over at least in the first half of the book
Published 6 months ago by J. Hellens
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
A very good read, Alison Weir really brings the characters to life, whilst keeping to keeping to accurate and historical events.
Published 6 months ago by jan
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This is a well written, engaging and informative book. Covers the subject in amazing detail and really brings Eleanor to life.
Published 6 months ago by Mr Christopher Thorne
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit drawn out
Rather drawn out in places, which made me skips parts. But well-researched and clearly written. Possibly includes details that are not particularly relevant to the narrative. (e.g. Read more
Published 8 months ago by AgentMulderUK
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Popular Highlights

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On 1 April 1204,34 Eleanor ‘passed from the world as a candle in the sconce goeth out when the wind striketh it’. She was eighty-two &quote;
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users
What was no less than a cultural revolution led to the establishment of famous schools in Paris and other European cities, notably Oxford, which gradually established itself as a university after English students were recalled from Paris in 1167 as a result of Henry II’s quarrel with Archbishop Becket. There were also other well-respected English schools at Exeter, Northampton and Lincoln; the university of Cambridge was not founded until the thirteenth century. &quote;
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users
William X owned a number of other keeps and palaces that would have been visited by Eleanor, including those at Limoges, Niort, Saint-Jean d’Angély, Blaye, Melle and Bayonne. &quote;
Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

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