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Simon de Montfort (British Lives) Paperback – 20 Jun 1996

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (20 Jun. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052137636X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521376365
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'… offers a treatment of its subject which, for balance, narrative fluency and skill in marshalling interpretative detail, is likely to remain unsurpassed for a very long time … His cast emerges individualised from under their hauberks and wimples, and we catch the authentic noise of their anxieties, their scruples, their oaths and challenges.' Jonathan Keates, The Observer

' … written in clear, compelling English … Maddicott has weighed Montfort in an admirably even balance. He has brought him alive in all his contradictions and magnificence. This is a masterpiece of a biography which will never be replaced.' D. A. Carpenter, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

'… a biographer of rare perception and deep scholarship.' Michael Prestwich, The Times Literary Supplement '… this magnificent biography will be as nearly definitive as any could be. It is a work of the highest quality: persuasive, eloquent and penetrating.' History Today 'John Maddicott has produced an admirable account of this remarkable career … highly readable ...'. Paul Johnson, The Times

Book Description

A new account of one of the most famous men of the English middle ages: Simon de Montfort.

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First Sentence
'I went to England and asked my lord the king to give me my father's inheritance.' Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew William Cox on 19 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Medieval England's most famous Frenchman 25 April 2006
By Readalots - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
J.R. Maddicott brings a lively and informative narrative with "Simon De Montfort". This mid 1990s 404-page (paperback) book is popular with four reprints by 1999. Maddicott is thorough in this presentation. He searches many, if not all, documents from the era for composing the dramatic and interesting life of medieval England's most famous Frenchman.

With documented history Maddicott persuasively argues that De Montfort was a powerful pioneer for English baronial liberties. The book answers many questions about Simon's life, politics, religion, victories and defeats (in the political arenas and on battlefields). The reader also learns about Simon's family life (he married the king's widowed sister- Eleanor- without royal permission and had duplicitous sons), the life long quarrel between De Montfort and King Henry III, how the battle at Lewes brought Simon to the pinnacle of governmental power, and about his disastrous defeat and death at Evesham.

If you like medieval pageantry and romance, you will appreciate Maddicott's presentation with "Simon De Montfort". French aristocrat De Montfort arrives to England in 1230 to begin his colorful baronial career. At first Henry III warms to the young aristocrat. Soon their relationship sours and De Montfort diligently works to depose Henry and gain royal power for the remainder of his life. It is a gripping interesting story.

Although Maddicott tends toward run-on sentences and sometimes tediously examines each source (multiple footnotes appear on almost every page), this book is a good read. It opens with a helpful abbreviations list, presents an informative family tree, supplies more than 20 photos and maps, offers an exhaustive 12-page bibliography, and closes with a useable index.

This book is recommendable particularly for English history buffs, medieval scholars, military historians, and constitutional history students. The specialty reader and the general reader will find, through this text, Simon De Montfort exciting and well worth the price.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Best biography on ol'Earl 27 May 2004
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book proves to be a well-written if not very complex biography of Simon de Montfort, a revolutionary mediveal baron who dares to challenged the King of England about the limitation of the royal powers. While initially successful, he allowed that success to go to his head and he was finally defeated and killed.
The book revealed a highly complex character, its superbly researched, readable to a those who knoweledge of the period is pretty good, bit hard on those who may be entering this subject for the first time. The author managed to intergrate all elements of de Montfort's life, as a great soldier, as a politican, a man of God with a look of idealism and above all, a family man. Along with his strengths, lies his weaknesses, his ruthless ambition, self-centered on family promotion and wealth at expense of others and his overwhelming sense of pride that borderline on sheer arrogance. The book clearly show how his strength gained him his victories while his weaknesses sent him into defeat.
With great insight, perception and scholarship, I would say this biography of Mountfort is probably the best on the subject and one of the best on any mediveal personalities of the time period. (Although Michael Prestwich's biography on Edward I is also quite excellent.)
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Most important man nobody has ever heard of 15 Oct. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A very fair account of a truly remarkable individual. It presents him as a man dedicated to his ideals and as a man utterly obsessed with his well-being, even at the cost of his losing credibility for his government and the provisions he fought so hard for, making him believable as a real man. It is a shame so few people know about him. Highly recomended!
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Facinating inside view into the 12th century 25 Aug. 1998
By wwuethrich@bluewin.ch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Great but tragic story of a strong character who wanted too much and lost everything. Facinating story of an educated man in a uneducated time. Inside into the economic circumstances and its motivation in the 12th century. Highly recommendable but also higly difficult to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A comprehensive text 17 Feb. 2007
By J. Hoare - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It took me ages to wade through this but I am very pleased that I did. Its very comprehensively written and I appreciated the lengths that the author undertook in his research.

This book was a bit serious for me but I enjoyed the learning experience that it provided.
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