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The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain [Hardcover]

Derek Wilson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011

Plantagenet is the name given to the English royal house descended from the union of Queen Matilda of England and her second husband Geoffrey of Anjou. The name derived from Geoffrey's nickname, which came from the sprig of broom (planta genet) which he wore in his hat. The Plantagenets ruled England for more than three hundred years, from the accession of reign of the dynasty's founder, Matilda and Geoffrey's son, Henry II, in 1154, to the death of the last Plantagenet, Richard III, at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain is a compelling, year-by-year chronology of a tumultuous and critical period in the development of the English nation. Each year is covered by a concise, informative and accessible narrative, amplified by extensive quotation from contemporary sources and accompanied by generously captioned and stunning images of the period - including illuminations, portraits, maps, royal seals, tapestries and other artefacts.

Authoritative, informative and sumptuous, and compiled by a scholar who is steeped in knowledge of the period, The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain brings a critical era of English history dramatically and vividly to life. It is the perfect gift book for anyone with a love of, or fascination for, medieval English history.

Henry II (1154-89); Richard I and John (1189-1216); Henry III (1216-72); Edward I (1272-1307); Edward II (1307-27); Edward III (1327-77); Richard II (1377-99); Henry IV (1399-1413); Henry V (1413-1422); Wars of the Roses (1422-71); Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III (1471-85); Genealogical tables; Maps.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857380044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857380043
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 28.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

The Plantagenets tells the fascinating story of a forgotten dynasty. Ascending the throne just after the decline of the Normans in 1154 and retaining their grip on power until the rise of the Tudors in 1485, the Plantagenets oversaw a remarkable array of political, social and economic changes: parliament, trial by jury, civil rights, the modern English language and even the perception of a distinct British national identity all emerged under their reign. The Plantagenet dynasty arose from the union of Queen Matilda of England and her second husband Geoffrey of Anjou. The name derived from Geoffrey's nickname, which came from the sprig of broom (planta genet) that he wore in his hat. Many of its key figures rank amongst the most evocative names in British history: the crusading Richard the Lionheart, his treacherous brother John, the hapless Richard II, the heroic warrior king Henry V, and the much maligned Richard III whose defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 put an end to the dynasty. The Plantagenets is a compelling, year-by-year account of a tumultuous and critical period in the development of the English nation. Each year is covered by a concise, informative and accessible narrative, amplified by extensive quotation from contemporary sources and accompanied by stunning images of the period - including illuminations, portraits, maps, royal seals, tapestries and unique artefacts. Authoritative, informative and sumptuous, and compiled by a scholar who is steeped in knowledge of the period, The Plantagenets brings a critical era of English history vividly and dramatically to life. It is the perfect book for anyone with a love of, or fascination for, medieval English history.

About the Author

Derek Wilson is an award-winning historian and author of the high acclaimed biographies of Hans Holbein and Sir Francis Walsingham, and The Uncrowned Kings of England. He runs the annual Cambridge History festival and lives in Devon. His website is: www.derekwilson.com.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plantagenets 4 Oct 2011
By JANEITE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having previously read two of Derek Wilson's books: In the Lion's Court & The Uncrowned Kings of England, I was expecting a well-written book about the Plantagenets. What I received is a well-written, sumptuously illustrated, coffee table size book about the Plantagenets.

The text is in the nature of a primer on the dynasty, making it ideal as an introduction to them. Wilson leading the reader on a straightforward, factual journey from 1154 to 1485 and a little way beyond. The more knowledgeable reader, and all points in between, will want this book because of the wonderful illustrations on every page. Extracts from (mainly) contemporary illuminated books, coins, seals, treaties, portraits and maps bring the period to life, encouraging further reading into the history of this turbulent often brilliant family.

For further reading, may I suggest:
A Great and Terrible King (Mark Morris)
The Norman Conquest (Mark Morris)
Becket (John Guy)
The Empress Matilda (Marjorie Chibnall)
Eleanor: April Queen of Acquitaine
Agincourt (Juliet Barker)
Conquest: The English Kingdom of France (Juliet Barker)
King Stephen (Edmund King)
Towton: The Battle of Palm Sunday Field (John Sadler)

For absolute beginners: A Great and Glorious Adventure (G. Corrigan)

Watch out for 1381:The Year of the Peasants Revolt (J. Barker) this year (2014), and
King John (M. Morris) next year
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Derek Wilson has produced a wonderful history of the Plantagenet monarchy, from Henry II to Richard III.

To the Plantagenet novice like myself and to children the book offers a nice introduction. I read it immediately after reading Susan Doran's 'The Tudor Chronicles 1485 to 1603' and immediately noticed Wilson's far superior writing to Doran's. Wilson's flowed very nicely from event to event while Doran's was rather clunky at times, in my opinion.

For those well-read in Plantagenet history, what is offered is nothing new, however. Being rather well-read in Yorkist history I did find the final part of the book from the Wars of the Roses to the death of Richard III a little rushed.

Furthermore, the book is filled with beautiful and clear illustrations; an inviting coffee table book if ever there was one.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just received as a birthday present! 26 Sep 2011
By Christopher Hunter VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I have had a few books on this period in the past which have been excellent in their own way. Where this particular book differs, is in the accessibility of the information, the clarity of the timeline and sequence of events and openess of the writing.

What also adds to the attraction of this book are the sheer number and richness of the illustrations incorporated (many from works of art/portraits of the time)which help put faces to names and an 'atmosphere' to the whole historical period. It's a great coffee table book in its own right but also an excellent exploration of the importance of these monarchs in bridging the period from the Norman Conquest to the Tudors. Very well worth acquiring.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous but Sketchy 20 April 2013
Format:Hardcover
This is a very lovely, top-quality book; well produced and with wonderful illustrations. It is certainly a thing of great beauty that represents good value for money as an object in itself but the historical content is a sketchy precis of events. For instance, I was disappointed to read of Richard III's 'callous' usurpation and the comment that he could not have seized the throne if Edward V had been alive. Edward's proven illegitimacy was not examined and the usual Tudor myths are not refuted but, if anything, reinforced by that one damning word alone. If you want a lovely book to display on your coffee table, this is certainly for you. If you want a well argued and thoroughly researched history book, forget it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Coffee table book, beautiful, stunning. For history, I suppose it's better to read Dan Jones's version of The Plantagenets, but this book contains also the Lancastrians and Yorkists, and covers the Cousins' Wars. The 'amount' of history and the presentation makes this a book that I believe would capture everyone's attention, and I found that in collecting this, Wilson has put great effort to try and collect interesting details (Eleanor Cobham's poem for example) and also includes snippets and portraits etc of the personnel related to certain kings. The book also quotes letters (or pictures them here and there) and chronicles to keep it interesting - this approach might mean that this book falls short on certain more well known historical facts, or doesn't detail much e.g. Richard III's ascension (referring to the other review) but Derek Wilson tried to create a book that serves its purpose - to keep on your coffee table for your visitors to get lost in (while you busy yourself in the kitchen with their dinner) or simply to showcase your interest.
It's not the book you read like you would read novels, forget that - or again, here is Dan Jones' excellently researched and written book: The Plantagenets and for Lancaster/York, I would recommend this: The Road to Bosworth Field: A New History of the Wars of the Roses: The Struggle Between Lancaster and York 1400-1487 and this:
... Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
good aide memoire
Published 12 days ago by JK-Saltdean
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really easy to read historical book.
Published 1 month ago by H. Shea
4.0 out of 5 stars As an introduction to this remarkable dynasty, this book ...
As an introduction to this remarkable dynasty, this book is just the thing. It covers the main events of their 300 year rule and give a clear overview of the people and events... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars I knew I would love this book
Wow, I knew I would love this book, love the read and how the book is set out. I needed the Hard Back as the print is easy to read.
very well presented book.
Published 1 month ago by E Hopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
easy reading
Published 1 month ago by Thurne 33
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book!
I'm really enjoying this book. Very well written for the layman.It is about a very interesting period of history and laid out in a straightforward way so that it is easy to read
Published 2 months ago by Barbara
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going!
Informative but a hard slog ... taking into account the complicated business of royal lineage etc., and the fact that the writer would have to concertina many of the facts, I still... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tys
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood, guts and executions
A very intertesting overview of the Plantagents; immensely absorbing. A good start to the period of blood, guts and executions.
Published 2 months ago by Susan Gidman
2.0 out of 5 stars A very brief history of the Plantagenates
I was quite disappointed as the other reviews were positive. I know that the author cannot change history, but the whole theme of most reigns is: Greedy king , troublesome... Read more
Published 4 months ago by olly
5.0 out of 5 stars A good overall summary of the Plantagenet dynasty a mainly factual...
Each Plantagenet King and the period of his reign is chronicalised in the book. This is good as a starting point for wider reading of this period in History.
Published 4 months ago by kim Wright
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