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Magna Carta: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Magna Carta: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

Nicholas Vincent
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The Magna Carta has long been considered the foundation stone of the British Constitution, yet few people today understand either its contents or its context. This Very Short Introduction introduces the document to a modern audience, explaining its origins in the troubled reign of King John, and tracing the significance of the role that it played thereafter as a totemic symbol of the subject's right to protection against the raw and absolute authority of the sovereign.

Drawing upon the great advances that have been made in the past two decades in our understanding of thirteenth-century English history, Nicholas Vincent demonstrates why the Magna Carta continues to be of enormous popular interest.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

About the Author

Nicholas Vincent is Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 635 KB
  • Print Length: 153 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199582874
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (28 Jun 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199582874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199582877
  • ASIN: B008J174WO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #74,699 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive. 26 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a university student reading History (BA) at university, I highly recommend this book.

Having to write a piece of coursework on Magna Carta but with very limited knowledge, this book was perfect as an introduction. Vincent thoroughly covers its background, pros and cons, and legacy. The last few pages include the text of the 1215 Charter in which its chapters are well analysed in the book.

Some criticise that too much of the book covers the background to 1215. I'm afraid this is a necessity; the context is not straightforward but Vincent's summarization of Angevin England is well written.

Quick and easy to read, no prior knowledge required, and a hefty bibliography for further reading. 5 stars!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding contribution 17 Nov 2013
By Moomin
Professor Nicholas Vincent of the University of East Anglia is the outstanding scholar of the period and the acknowledged expert on the Magna Carta. This 'Very Short introduction' is comprehensive, and I've so far bought more than a score of this book to give to people becoming interested in knowing more about Magna Carta and involved in the 800th anniversary commemoration of its importance to the world over the centuries and in the 21st century. It is 'England's greatest export', the foundation of our liberties, the forerunner of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law and of our human rights, the first recorded successful challenge to the divine right of kings, I cannot recommend it too highly.

Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL, Chairman, Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nicholas Vincent's 'rather short introduction' to the Magna Carta is the most comprehensive review of the events leading up to and agreement by King John of the demands of the Barons in 1215 of the Magna Carta which resonates today in over 100 countries throughout the world, affecting the lives of over a billion people. With the 800th anniversary commemoration coming up in 2015, it is timely, authoritative, and well written, and should be in the library of every responsible citizen in countries who are governed by the rule of law. In its way, it is a blueprint for the transfer of sovereignty from dictators, however benevolent, to the people in totalitarian societies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All the general reader needs 9 Jan 2014
By Antony
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this in advance of a viewing of an original copy of Magna Carta and it enabled me to ask intelligent questions! A very helpful summary, not only of the production of the Magna Carta itself but also the political context of its multiple editions.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did She Die in Vain? 16 Oct 2012
1. In September of this year David Cameron was asked a couple of questions, on David Letterman's US chat show, about one of the seminal documents of English constitutional practice - the Magna Carta. He knew the date and venue where it was signed (1215 at Runnymede), but he said he did not know what it meant in English. The answer is listed in the first paragraph of the first page of this pocket-sized addition to Oxford's successful Very Short Introductions series (`Great Charter').

In a 1959 episode of comedic series Hancock's Half Hour - 'Twelve Angry Men' - Tony Hancock berates jurors with a couple of misguided questions, "Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?" Disappointingly, this sober-minded introduction to this charter of liberty and political rights doesn't provide a reference to these oft-quoted humourous lines.

2. So what does it offer beyond the very basics of the subject?

Firstly, the author considers the origins of Magna Carta in the troubled reign of King John. Looking at his subject in its historical context, at great length, involves "tunnelling backwards from 1215 towards the origins of English law in Anglo-Saxon, Roman, and ultimately in even more ancient traditions." Unsurprisingly the author seems in his element here - he is, after all, a Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia. Unfortunately, I have to say I found chapters on King Edward and Angevin kingship something of a dry read - but I guess that might well be related to my complete ignorance and disinterest in the intricacies of 13th century English politics.
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