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Medieval Britain: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

John Gillingham , Ralph A. Griffiths
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

First published as part of the best-selling The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, John Gillingham and Ralph A. Griffiths' Very Short Introduction to Medieval Britain covers the establishment of the Anglo-Norman monarchy in the early Middle Ages, through to England's failure to dominate the British Isles and France in the later Middle Ages. Out of the turbulence came stronger senses of identity in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Yet this was an age, too, of
growing definition of Englishness and of a distinctive English cultural tradition.

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

John Gillingham taught history at the London School of Economics, University of London, from 1965 to 1998. His previous publications include The Angevin Empire (Edward Arnold, 1981); Richard Coeur de Lion (Noesis, Paris, 1996), awarded the Prix Guillaume le Conquérant for 1997; Richard I (Yale University Press, 1999); The English in the Twelfth Century (Boydell Press, 2000); The Angevin Empire (revised edition of 1981 edition) is forthcoming. Ralph A. Griffiths has been Professor of Medieval History, University of Wales, Swansea, since 1982. His previous publications include The Principality of Wales in the later Middle Ages, Vol. I, South Wales, 1277-1536 (University of Wales Press, 1972); The Reign of King Henry VI (Benn and California University Press, 1981; 2nd edn Sutton 1998); The Making of the Tudor Dynasty, with R. S. Thomas (Sutton and Humanities Press, 1985; revised edn 1993); The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy, with J. Cann

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1567 KB
  • Print Length: 193 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 019285402X
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (10 Aug. 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006HCU4VK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #107,826 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting introduction to Medieval Britain 29 April 2004
By A Customer
As someone with little background knowledge of the Medieval period inBritain I found this book to be a very interesting introduction to thepolitics and social changes of this era. Whilst providing sufficientinformation to give a very general overview of the changes occuring duringthis period the book was easy to read and accessible to thenon-historian. Despite the fact that this book is intended to be a briefintroduction to Medieval Britain I was not left with the feeling that theauthors had skimped on details.
To support the text there is also a chronology of the period and agenealogy of Royal descent, which I thought provided a helpful visual aidto understanding the information presented. The suggestions for furtherreading also covered a fairly broad spread of related topics.
Overall, this was an informative and interesting read, which without beingtoo academic and inaccessible to someone with little knowledge of the eraprovides a good basic grounding for further reading about this period inBritain's history.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable and surprisingly detailed 30 April 2007
I am a big fan of the Very Short Introduction series, and "Medieval Britain" by John Gillingham and Ralph A. Griffiths is one of its very best examples. For a book that is just 150 pages long, the authors have managed to fit in a surprising amount of information, covering the entire period from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to Henry VII's accession in 1485. At the same time, however, it is very readable and is broken down into easily digestible chunks.

The book follows a roughly chronological pattern. The first two chapters describe the main political events in the reigns of the Norman kings (1066-1154) and the Plantagenet kings (1154-1272). The authors then move on into a more thematic discussion of matters such as religion, royal administration, law and the economy. From then on political and social topics are interspersed together. By providing the broad overview of events first of all, then fleshing that out with all the aspects which give the reader a real flavour of medieval society, this structure proves very effective. In this way all of the key ideas are tied together nicely. The final chapter discusses the development of Englishness and the concept of England as a distinctive nation - much of which feels very relevant to our modern age.

The text is supplemented by no less than 5 maps and 14 illustrations, as well as a useful chronology of the years 1066-1485, and a royal genealogy, all of which provide some context. The bibliography is extensive, running to some 91 titles which cover virtually every angle discussed in the book. This offers tremendous scope for following up various topics and makes this Very Short Introduction an excellent springboard for studying the medieval period. Finally, the book has a thorough index, always a handy aid to navigation.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide 15 Dec. 2009
This book is an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to study Medieval England, from A Level to Degree and beyond. It outlines the basic facts and trends for the period in a clear and concise way, providing a useful starting point for more in-depth research and study.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Short, Very Clever, Very Good 25 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The Very Short Introduction series needs no introduction. They are concise, informative, well-researched, sensibly priced and a pleasure to read. Medieval Britain by John Gillingham and Ralph Griffiths is no exception, if anything it is even more exceptional than others in the series. Starting with 1066 and all that, they reveal that when William the Conqueror (mere Duke William of Normandy in those days) was crowned King of England on Christmas Day the shouts of acclamation alarmed the Norman guards who panicked and set fire to the neighbouring houses which led to chaos inside and outside Westminster Abbey. The king himself was trembling but remained in the Abbey.

William was born and died in Normandy where his Viking ancestors had settled. Despite defeating Harold and forcing the surrender of Winchester and London his position was tenuous and there were risings against Norman rule every year from 1067 to 1070. William was illiterate and failed to master the English language. French thus became the lingua franca of the new ruling class. In addition to this cultural alienation, by 1086 there were only four surviving English lords of any account and more than 4200 English thegns had been replaced by 200 Norman barons. In 1070 William deposed some English bishops and refused to appoint any other English prelates in their place. As the ruler of England and Normandy William spent time in both places with his focus centred on the continent. He died in in Normandy in 1087 and was buried in Caen.

In his final years William was in conflict with his eldest son Robert who succeeded him as Duke of Normandy. England was bequeathed to his younger son William Rufus.
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