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Life of King Henry III
on 1 August 2013
You don't often find much written specifically about King Henry III of England. David Carpenter's great work on Henry, The Reign of Henry III is a scholarly and thematic treatment, and Powicke's scholarly works are rather old and possibly harder to source nowadays for an interested general reader. King Henry III seems to drift along in biographical terms somewhere peripheral to his father King John, his son King Edward I, and his greatest protagonist, his brother-in-law Simon de Montfort. The period of his life and reign continue to afford much interest, and given that he lived a long life (1207-1272), for much of which he was King after the death of his father in 1216, he surely deserves to be considered in his own right. So it was good to see this newly released `popular' biography of this important, yet often overlooked man.
The author has taken pains to offer Henry's life (65 years) and reign (56 years) in a chronological approach, which makes this work very accessible to someone who may not have much knowledge of the period. The writing is straightforward and engaging, and Henry's life and rule are certainly interesting enough to capture the reader's interest. There is a good bibliography offering many current works for anyone who would like to pursue topics further. This is a really good popular history book and should make welcome reading to anyone interested in Henry III's life and times.
This book pairs well with the new biography of Eleanor de Montfort by Louise Wilkinsons, as well.