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The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages (Penguin History of Britain) [Paperback]

Miri Rubin
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 13.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

23 Feb 2006 Penguin History of Britain (Book 4)
There is no more haunting, compelling period in Britain's history than the later middle ages. The extraordinary kings - Edward III and Henry V, the great warriors, Richard II and Henry VI, tragic inadequates killed by their failure to use their power, and Richard III, the demon king. The extraordinary events - the Black Death that destroyed a third of the population, the Peasants' Revolt, the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Agincourt. The extraordinary artistic achievements - the great churches, castles and tombs that still dominate the landscape, the birth of the English language in The Canterbury Tales. For the first time in a generation, a historian has had the vision and confidence to write a spell-binding account of the era immortalised by Shakespeare's history plays. The Hollow Crown brilliantly brings to life for the reader a world we have long lost - a strange, Catholic, rural country of monks, peasants, knights and merchants, almost perpetually at war - but continues to define so much of England's national myth.

Frequently Bought Together

The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages (Penguin History of Britain) + The Penguin History of Britain: The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284 + New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1603 (The Penguin History of Britain)
Price For All Three: 39.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (23 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140148256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140148251
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Miri Rubin is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London. Her previous books include Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture and Gentile Tales: Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews. She is currently writing a cultural history of the Virgin Mary for Penguin.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
If we are to appreciate the scale of devastation which the Great Famine of 1315-22 brought to the British Isles, as it did to the whole of northern Europe, we must bring to mind calamities such as the Irish Famine, and the distress and dislocation that they generate. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My kingdom for an editor 31 May 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
The book 'The Hollow Crown', by Miri Rubin, is a fascinating text. It covers the mid-to-late Plantagenet time, beginning after the pivotal time of famine in the early 1300s, continuing up to the beginning of the Tudor era - this is a time that may be best known generally thanks to Shakespeare's plays, although the plays do exhibit poetic license taken by Shakespeare to heighten both the dramatic art and the political regime of the Tudors.

This is an interesting period, with the dynastic stability of Edward I giving way over the generations to inter-family strife, better known now as the Wars of the Roses. Rubin's chapter divisions follow the reigns of the major monarchs in rough outline: Edward II, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV & V (combined into one chapter), Henry VI, and the finish (Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, and into Henry VII's reign). As this is a fairly standard way of dividing British history, it makes things accessible to the general reader as well. Within these broad divisions, however, Rubin carries various themes across the periods as needed - economic, geopolitical, cultural and other kinds movements and shifts are reflected by more than the rise and fall of particular monarchs. Rubin also takes a fairly even-handed approach, without taking sides in particular controversies (Was Henry IV's rise to power a legitimate one? Was Richard III's reign legitimate, and did he have the princes in the Tower murdered? - Rubin references such controversies without taking a partisan stance).
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
There's a minor misstep in Miri Rubin's The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages. Perhaps it's a problem with the entire Penguin History of Britain collection, I'm not sure, as I haven't read any other examples. The problem is a matter of audience: as in, I can't really tell what audience it's for. The preface states that it's intended not primarily for historians, but for those "historians" outside the universities. These would be people like curators of museums, history teachers in the public schools, those guarding historical sites, and those who publish amateur research, that sort of thing. It also seems to be intended as history for the general public, those who may have an interest in history but aren't really experts in it. This is all well and good, but the problem is that the book is way too dry for the layman and the information is probably already known to a great deal of amateur historians.
Thus, the book seems to miss its target and be the wrong thing to the wrong people. The Hollow Crown has a great deal of detailed information about life in Great Britain from 1307 to 1485. It covers everything from daily serf life to how churches greatly influenced the daily life of both commoners and the nobility. It covers economics, agriculture, politics, and everything in between. For the historian who is just starting out, there is a lot of good information about British daily life in this book, and it becomes a valuable informational tool for the beginner. It could also be greatly useful for any writer who wants to set a book in this time period, as there is a lot of background information that would make a setting seem realistic. That was actually the first thing that occurred to me as I was reading it.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written interesting read... 26 Feb 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book follows the period of history from the reign of Edward II(1307) through to the death of Richard III resulting with the victory of Henry VII(1485).
It is a very accessible book for anyone with an interest in this period of history and will be interesting for both the history fan and the occasional history reader. It's written in an easy flowing style where events and elements of each period of the era are covered in a concise way, with no needless waffle. There are lots of quotes from documents and diaries of people from the time, both clergy and secular which make for interesting reading. The quotes given are only to emphasize the point of a certain subject and broaden the topic and add information within context of the period, without feeling like it's padding out the book content. Each quote is there for a reason.
The book is set out very well and keeps the attention of the reader, with main chapters covering periods of the era....such as the reign of Edward II. Within the chapters are subchapters with headings such as "Towns", or chapters relating to women and women's work, or about the state of the parish. Take for instance "Towns", I believe throughout the book this subject is covered maybe 3 times within different periods....but it's good information on how towns had progressed, whom the people were living and working in the towns, their incomes, their expectations and one or two comparisons with previous or future eras to judge how expansion affected towns or how something like the plague affected produce and workers. In this way you can get a real sense of how lives changed and developed around the times covered, relating to a lot of factors, be it war, disease or a constant change of government in the Wars of the Roses.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hollow Crown
A very interesting book which kept me transfixed. New to this period of history. The book arrived within the stated time slot and was well packaged. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ms. Wendy West
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what it seems and thus very disappointing.
This book is a social history. Those looking for the political history of one of the most important periods in English history - covering the Hundred years War and the Wars of the... Read more
Published on 11 Feb 2012 by Graham James
2.0 out of 5 stars Overall, a disappointment
Overall, this book is a disappointment. I shall start with its good features which include a stream of interesting facts, and an easy flowing style. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2012 by TR
4.0 out of 5 stars Good account of Late Medieval England
Miri Rubin's The Hollow Crown is a good book to turn to for a research project or a informatinal read. Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2009 by Edward Rex
3.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to medieval history
This is a `proper' history book with a wide historical sweep, centred on the Britain of the early and middle medieval period. Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2009 by Eileen Shaw
1.0 out of 5 stars The Empty Crown
I like history, and the cover says this book provides a "magical introduction" to the late middle ages. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2006 by Bruce Maston
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent popular history
If you are interested in the period of history often best-known through Shakespeare's plays then this is an excellent run through the years 1300-1500. Read more
Published on 28 May 2005 by "charliebeckett2"
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