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The Plantagenets [Paperback]

Dan Jones
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

4 July 2013

This brilliant new book explores the lives of eight generations of the greatest kings and queens that this country has ever seen, and the worst. The Plantagenets – their story is the story of Britain.

England’s greatest royal dynasty, the Plantagenets, ruled over England through eight generations of kings. Their remarkable reign saw England emerge from the Dark Ages to become a highly organised kingdom that spanned a vast expanse of Europe. Plantagenet rule saw the establishment of laws and creation of artworks, monuments and tombs which survive to this day, and continue to speak of their sophistication, brutality and secrets.

Dan Jones brings you a new vision of this battle-scarred history. From the Crusades, to King John’s humbling over Magna Carta and the tragic reign of the last Plantagenet, Richard III – this is a blow-by-blow account of England’s most thrilling age.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007213948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007213948
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Jones took a first in History from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 2002. He is an award-winning journalist and a pioneer of the resurgence of interest in medieval history. His first book on the Peasants' Revolt received widespread critical acclaim. The Plantagenets is his second book. He lives in London.

Product Description


‘Stonking narrative history told with pace, wit and scholarship about the bloody dynasty that produced some of England’s most brilliant, brutal kings’ Observer

‘Colourful and engaging … Jones has produced an absorbing narrative that will help ensure that the Plantagenet story remains stamped on the English imagination’ Sunday Times

‘Unapologetically about powerful people, their foibles, their passions and their weaknesses … vivid descriptions of battles and tournaments, ladies in fine velvet and knights in shining armour crowd the pages of this highly engaging narrative’ Evening Standard

‘Action-packed … Filled with fighting, personality clashes, betrayal and bouts of the famous Plantagenet rage’ Daily Telegraph

‘Dan Jones expertly weaves an enormous medieval tapestry, ranging from the Middles East of Richard the Lionheart's Third Crusade to the battlefields of the Hundred Years War’ Sunday Telegraph

‘This is an unashamedly royal history and even the most insatiable appetite for chivalric deeds and aristocratic violence will be sated by its conclusion’ Sunday Times

About the Author

Dan Jones took a first in History from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 2002. He is an award-winning journalist and a pioneer of the resurgence of interest in medieval history. His first book on the Peasants’ Revolt received widespread critical acclaim. This is his second book. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable is what it is 29 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dan Jones makes it clear to the reader in his intro that this history of the Plantagenets is a long read, but he isn't apologetic and neither should he be because this is a thrilling, informative, enthralling experience. If we have preferences in reading then I would say I am a reader of literary fiction and poetry who likes to read narrative history as a change. I have tried Alison Weir, David Starkey, Leanda de Lisle and scholarly historians such as Eric Ives and Eamon Duffy etc but I enjoyed this more than any of the others. Dan Jones tells a brilliant story of the kings with verve, energy and intelligence. He manages to pull of the trick of conveying the canvas of historical events with exhilarating insights into character, political power and the often absurd fatefulness of events. I suppose I'm trying to say that in trying to engage the reader with the drama of history he doesn't sacrifice the more challenging aspects of historical research. He actually made me feel really clever and well-informed.I'd really recommend this exciting, fresh, compelling piece of work. If you can imagine most historical narratives as a pot-boiler of a series made for ITV, then this is the one made for HBO by the creative team behind The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, The Wire etc. Does that make any sense ? Forget it, read this book !.
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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Game Of Thrones 2 May 2012
I told myself that this year I would address my shameful lack of English history. So: Simon Schama DVDs, This Sceptered Isle on Radio 4 Extra and some books, including this one. Jones's splendidly written epic gripped me from start to finish, and filled my head with fascinating stories of kings, queens, wars, schemes, uprisings, invasions, escapes and conquerings. From the opening tale of a future king of England perishing in a Channel shipwreck, I was never once bored as I was taken through almost 300 years of conflict and chaos in England's palaces and parliaments, and on battlefields and battlements both home and abroad (especially France. Poor old France). And yet it's not all men with swords and grudges: Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of several memorable figures Jones brings to life, seems like Cleopatra and Boudicca rolled into one. Highly recommended.
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97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
By TobyW
Dan Jones is a clever guy. I first came across his work when my wife bought me his previous book, Summer of Blood, a rip-roaring chronicle of the events leading up to the Peasants Revolt. What struck me was his deftness of touch, combining sharp historical insight with a freshness and brevity that's all too lacking in many history books, not least those that deal with the Middle Ages.

I picked up The Plantagenets on this basis, though I confess to knowing little of the Plantagenet dynasty beforehand. What he's done here is nothing short of remarkable. While Summer of Blood was highly focused in time and place, this one manages to get its teeth around hundreds of years and eight generations of kings, with a motley cast of the brilliant and the stupid, the heroic and ruthlessly cruel. And yet despite the size of his undertaking, with Jones you still get this lively and compelling jaunt through events, with a judicious probe at the events that matter and some analytical smarts that put events into intelligent context without detracting from the ride. It's a bit like watching a medieval DVD with the director's commentary on (and I mean that in a good way).

To make a book about European medieval history as gripping and compelling as this is no mean feat. Jones gets plaudits from the likes of Starkey and Sebag-Montefiore and you can see why: they know this exciting young historian knocking on the door is the real deal. He's done his research, he knows his stuff, and his prose style is as sharp as his insight. But when he's not writing history books he's clearly enjoying The Sopranos or The Wire.

What's not to like? A total breath of fresh air.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and entertaining 21 Jun 2012
By charlie
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
With florid contextualisation - notably the atmospheric conditions pertaining on the day of a battle - Dan Jones here serves history up as a soufflé rather than a heavy, indigestible, casserole. Ivory-tower academics should not, though, be sniffy at this; the facts are there by the cart-load, while the author's accessible writing style keeps the narrative flowing at a cracking pace. If I note that this was an excellent bedtime read, I mean that as a compliment. The Plantagenets is a magnificent and informative book; Dan Jones should be on television!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History at is most entertaining 13 Oct 2012
The author has done an excellent job here, its a huge challenge to cover such an expansive era and subject matter with any kind of intimate detail but do Dan's credit he has achieved this.
The Plantagenets have got wrongly ignored and overshadowed by the supposedly sexier tudor monarchs but each of their reigns is intriguing in one way or another and their ambitions, abilities and personalities truly have shaped England and Britain's destiny.

Given the story is probably a two thousand pager to compress it to 600 pages (dont be put off by the size of the tome, it never drags). Dan jones has the engaging and sympathetic journalistic writing style of Stephen O'Shea but like him combines it with scholarly dedicated research and thoroughness to incorporate the probably limited surviving source material in to a coherent story of the events of the period. It is an epic story at that with all the ingredients of blood, war, intense piety, alliance and betrayal, love, loss, triumph and disaster in epic proportions which defined the reality of the leaders of the feudal age.

Everyone is going to have a king they love and one they hate, for me I admire King Stephen (not technically a Planatagenet but still covered in this story) for his decency, dignity and determination to rule be the best king he could under horrendous circumstances he had to confront when he claimed the crown, even if it probably want too joyful to be an englishman during his reign.
The villan has to be King John, exactly the kind of individual you'd least want in a position of power who managed to undo so much of the good work of his predecessors in his fairly dispicable reign.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
Thoroughly enjoyed and gives a great insight into the Plantagenet world. Well worth the purchase for anyone fascinated by this subject
Published 2 hours ago by Benjamin King
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really clear accessible read.
Published 1 day ago by R J H
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book.
Having a great interest in the Plantagenets and having read many different books on the various characters I thought I would try this book to get an overall picture. Read more
Published 5 days ago by davidsage
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
What a fantastic book, i couldn't put it down! This is perfect as a way into the Plantagenets for the man on the street, it goes into enough detail to give you a decent working... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Big_O
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent - readable and informative
Published 9 days ago by Mrs Sheila R Cromie
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book and easy to read
This was fabulous. I never understood early medieval history properly before reading this. Well researched , well understood and well written
Published 15 days ago by rex gaisford
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Very interesting, well written and comprehensive history of the period. I first borrowed this from the library, but decided to buy my own copy as it was so good.
Published 17 days ago by Alan Denton
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
A fast-paced, factual story of the time of England under the Plantagenet monarchs. A thoroughly enjoyable read that takes you through the good and the bad of England's greatest... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sharon Connolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent !
Well done Dan Jones great introduction for the start of what we have today well researched,and with great overview of a bloody time.
Published 1 month ago by jim hopkins
5.0 out of 5 stars great book...history brought to life.
Dan Jones has taken a fascinating period of history and brought it alive into an exciting and fast moving account. Read more
Published 1 month ago by PR
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