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Henry II (Yale English Monarchs Series) Paperback – 19 Sep 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 730 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (19 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300084749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300084740
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 5.7 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Robert Fripp on 16 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
"From the devil they came. To the devil they shall return." Abbé Bernard of Clairvaux (later Saint Bernard) pronounced that uncharitable verdict on the Angevin line. Legend has Bernard voicing his opinion after taking one look at the infant Henry of Anjou, child of Geoffrey, Count of Anjou and his consort, the Empress Matilda.

Nothing deterred, the infant Henry grew to inherit Anjou, as its count (1151). Then came his conquests by might or marriage: Normandy, Aquitaine and Poitou, before claiming England as King Henry II (1154-1189). After 1154, Henry II and his consort, Eleanor of Aquitaine, ruled a swathe of land stretching from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees, the Angevin Empire.

Perhaps Abbé Bernard was guided in his prognostication by the legend that the House of Anjou descended from the fairy Melusine, a malevolent sprite. There is no question that male members of the family, including Henry, were subject to incendiary fits of rage, one of which sent Eleanor into exile until Henry's death. People attached to the courts of alpha-male Angevins, especially Henry, could expect a turbulent life.

Henry II's place in history is burdened by bad headlines and his sometimes flawed judgment. Appointing his friend Chancellor Thomas Becket to be archbishop of Canterbury was an error from the start. ("Was it because you held him in too much liking, or in too slight respect?" Eleanor asks, elsewhere.) Becket's murder might have proved fatal to Henry's reputation had Henry not been blessed with twin powers of recovery: amazing decisiveness and speed of action. Then there were the extraordinary rebellions against their father by Henry's sons, conflagrations fanned, perhaps, by Eleanor, and again, perhaps on account of Henry's ceaseless whoring.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 4 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
The English Monarchs series has brought the highest standards of historical scholarship to the wide audience. Leading historians scrutinize the lives of the kings and queens of England and explore the cumulative impact of the longest permanent governing institution in Europe.

This outstanding biography is a revealing portrait of a complex and fascinating figure, the book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the politics and culture of the English middle ages. Much learning, skillfully deployed as here, evokes pleasure as well as admiration.

A book to be recommended
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Goulbourn on 14 Oct 2006
Format: Paperback
A great piece of narrative history, well written, easy to follow and very informative. An invaluable source for students of the period and although a little dated, (first published 1973) still a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Romilly on 21 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback
Warren provides the definitive biography of Henry II, one of the most important of England's medieval monarchs. Not only is the book brimming with information but it also a pleasure to read. The author has style, something that used to be an essential attribute of an historian, and for some still is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jeanie on 9 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful - just as advertised and exactly what I was looking for to bring Henry and this period in history to life. Arrived in record time too.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
W.L. Warren, who has also written about King John and Richard, writes with a lively style that often makes one forget that Henry II is a scholarly book of History. Anexcellent resourse for those interested in the formation of the Plantagenet dominions (commonly called the Angevin Empire).
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