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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book - A great king? you decide
A fantastic book. I bought it mainly to increase my understanding of the Scottish wars of independence, but I found myself getting caught-up in the history of the Whole British Isles. Edward's reign was a turning point in British history and Marc Morris clearly describes how Edward first stamped his authority on an England that was running out of control and then turned...
Published on 29 Dec 2009 by acrossthesea

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21 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A strong king, yes, but not great...
I did enjoy this book, but I did find it verging on hagiography. I'll admit, Edward I is not my favourite king, far from it. And I'll admit that you can't judge a medieval monarch by today's standards, but even so I found Morris' constant excusing of Edward's actions tiring. If the true standard by which a king should be judged is that of his contemporaries, then let's...
Published on 19 Mar 2009 by C. Ball


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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book - A great king? you decide, 29 Dec 2009
This review is from: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Paperback)
A fantastic book. I bought it mainly to increase my understanding of the Scottish wars of independence, but I found myself getting caught-up in the history of the Whole British Isles. Edward's reign was a turning point in British history and Marc Morris clearly describes how Edward first stamped his authority on an England that was running out of control and then turned his attention to neighbouring countries, culminating in the wars with Scotland. I particularly liked the sections on his subjugation of Wales, and his description of the break-down on cordial relations between Scotland and England. The book is informative as well as being very well written, and I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the complex relationship between the different countries of the UK.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, 6 Feb 2012
This review is from: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Paperback)
This must be one of the best history books that I have ever read. It is a real page-turner and a definite "one more chapter before lights out". I can open the book at any page and become engrossed in the story that is being told. It is written in a clear manner and one learns some very interesting facts. The preface explains the reasoning behind why the man is called Edward I and the confusion over who he was and this gets one into the mood for entering the main text. The first paragraph (in the preface) actually reads a bit like a Winnie-the-Pooh book, which I found amusing but then once you are settled down with a cup of tea and begin the story it is fairly hard to stop reading. And when you have finally finished the book you will want to turn to the first page and start it all over again. Superb.
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138 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building Castles..., 18 Nov 2008
By 
J. Wells (Staffordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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As a lover and student of late medieval and renaissance history, I was hoping that this book would give me a solid knowledge of the events and issues that were to become the foundation of 'Britain'.... and that's exactly what I found!

This is a great book for anyone that is interested in the history of Britain. I have read many 'history' books that assume the reader has an in-depth knowledge of the subject before they begin, but happily this is not the case. All of the events are explained in a full, interesting and (on the whole) entertaining way. As the book is written in a very personal style you really get the feeling of riding alongside Edward for all of his 68 years, however this is no way undermines the tremendous amount of work that has obviously gone into writing it.

Most of us know of Robert Bruce, William Wallace, Simon de Montfort and have heard about the 'confiscation' of the Stone of Scone, and the origins of the Prince of Wales title, but this book explains the 'whys', 'hows' and 'whens' that makes history real.

If I had one complaint, (and it's so small that the book still gets Five stars), it's that you get the feeling that Marc Morris is sometimes over-justifying Edwards decisions. Yes, the things he did were not always 'PC' but, and as Mr Morris does quantify at the end of the book, he was a bigotted king in a bigotted time.

That aside, this is a great book for the serious student, the history lover and anyone else that enjoys expanding their knowledge of such an important time in history.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing., 25 Mar 2013
By 
Marc Genesi - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Paperback)
If you're only knowledge of Edward I is based on Mel Gibson's bowel movement known as Braveheart, then Marc Morris's book will truly open your eyes to a man and period in history that has truly shaped the country we live in today. Far from Gibson's pantomime character, the real Longshanks was battle proven by his early twenties and would become known as a great negotiator and intermediary between European leaders. Morris's exploration of the Welsh campaigns and how these came about were of particular interest to me, being Welsh myself, so discovering the in-fighting between Llewellyn Ap Gryfedd and his brother Dafydd and the lasting impact that this has had on Welsh history was brilliant. Not only this but the polictical and social views of the time relating to all nations of Britain and how they viewed each other is put accross amazingly well. This is one of those books you really can't put down, which i don't say often, but Edward's legacy is still felt today and also visibly seen in the Welsh landscape. You don't need fiction when you've got this kind of material !! And lets hope Gibson stops making films soon.......
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Surprise, 9 Jun 2012
By 
Chris J. Newman "lao-ke" (China) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Paperback)
.

I bought this book 'on spec' hoping to rediscover a period of history that I learned about at school but had long-since forgotten. I expected King Edward's story to be rather prosaic after the political machinations and intrigues described in Alison Weir's Lancaster And York: The Wars of the Roses and Thomas Penn's Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England, but I was delighted to discover otherwise. Edward's life was an astonishingly eventful one, both before and after he became king, and involved political intrigues at least as complex as those of later reigns.

Marc Morris tells the story in a compelling style that draws one through the book without respite. However the story is about a lot more than King Edward: it also tells much about the histories and cultures of Wales and Scotland and their interactions with the English. Indeed, Edward's reign was pivotal in intensifying the strained relationships that still exist between England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, though this was by no means entirely due to Edward's belligerence or intent.

Amongst of the book's more memorable pages are the ones that tell the story behind the legend of King Arthur and which incorporate a hypothesis that gives them political significance in relation to the Welsh rebellions during Edward's reign.

It seems petty to criticize such a magnificent book, but were to do so I would say only that I found myself losing track of time. In his introduction, Morris makes the point that he deliberately set out to tell the story in chronological order, being a break with past histories of Edward's reign. This he succeeds in doing with only occasional need for minor flashbacks and "flash-forwards". My problem was simply that time passed without my realizing it, such as when a 40 year-old Edward suddenly became 60. No doubt this was largely my fault in that I consumed the book in such great bites that I didn't digest it properly, but perhaps the author might have added a few more date markers and/or drawn more attention to the passage of time.

As with all good history books, I'm left with a thirst for more knowledge, particularly about Scottish history and also about the castles that Edward built. Their names are familiar enough to me, but I had not realized that they include the greatest castles ever constructed. Clearly I shall have to read Marc Morris's book on that very subject (Castle: A History of the Buildings that Shaped Medieval Britain)!

I congratulate Marc Morris on a magnificent book that does full justice to its magnificent subject.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely readable and thoroughly interesting, 25 Nov 2009
By 
M. J. White - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Paperback)
Marc Morris has that rare ability of being able to portray detailed historical facts whilst maintaining a gripping narrative storyline. This book is therefore a good read irrespective of the readers interest in history.

I agree with the reviewer who said that this book contains several stories in one, with each era of Edwards life offering enough material to be a fantastic book in its own right. The hardest part of creating this book must have been in deciding what to include and what to leave out as every page leads you excitedly onto the next.

I can understand why a great many people would resent the word "great" being used in context with this English king. His insatiable appetite for land and unjust treatment of the Scots, the Welsh, the Irish and the Jews prevent Edward from winning a popular monarch contest but he was a man of his age and cannot be fairly compared to tyrants of the modern era. Indeed, he successfully fought off a far greater xenophobe in the form of Simon De Montford.

This book represents a truley facinating part of British history that anyone with an interest in the development of English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh history must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 8 April 2013
An utterly gripping read that brilliantly conveys the political and military tensions of the period, and evokes a sense of personality of the key players.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 2 April 2014
By 
Glokta (Manchester) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Paperback)
A hugely informative and entertaining read on one of the more controversial English kings, I can't recommend this enough. As someone who normally opts for historical fiction I was a bit wary that this might be a dry, historical account but that fear was thankfully dispelled after the first page. The book is very accessible and provides excellent background to the atmosphere of England (and Europe) that Edward walked into after inheriting the throne. I've always had an interest in great historical figures and this book drives home how much one person's ambitions can shape and change countries futures that has implications into the present day. A fantastic read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable biography, 11 Mar 2014
This review is from: A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain (Paperback)
It’s all too easy for biographers to overlook some kings in favour of others who are likely to sell more – Henry VIII or Elizabeth I are examples that jump to mind. That certainly seems to be the case for Edward I as this is the first traditional biography of him for a generation. However, Marc Morris proves that Edward’s story is just as interesting and engrossing – wars against the Welsh, Scots, on the continent and civil war within in his own country; the expulsion of the Jews; the sweeping reform of administration within the country. Morris’ biography is extremely readable and doesn’t get bogged down in the minutiae of small details. It keeps the pace constant, always with an analytical eye on Edward and the success of his reign. A great and terrible king? That sums him up quite well, in my opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and accessible, 9 Feb 2014
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This is the second of Marc Morris' books I have read and enjoyed, he has a style which brings the history to life. He gives great detail but manages to keep it interesting.
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