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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plantagenets
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...
Published on 4 Oct 2011 by JANEITE

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous but Sketchy
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 It is certainly a thing of great beauty that represents good value for money as an object in itself but the historical content is a sketchy precis of events.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...
Published 19 months ago by Natalie Brooks


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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plantagenets, 4 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain (Hardcover)
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 King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the road to Magna Carta (M. Morris) next year
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully illustrated history of the Plantagenets, 1 Jan 2012
By 
K. J. Greenland "kevinthegerbil" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain (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 "cjhunter2001uk" (Farnham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain (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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully organised and presented overview of the Plantagenets to keep on the coffee table, 10 May 2013
This review is from: The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain (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: Blood Sisters: The Hidden Lives of the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses These cover the wars and what lead to them from the usurpation in 1399 and detail things as, how Richard III ascended (or in the last one, how he wanted or didn't want to marry Elizabeth of York, even.) Derek Wilson's is a 'statement book'. Even for the fanatics, this is a book to keep going back to simply because it's beautiful, flawlessly printed colorful high quality.

The only negative point would be Richard III on the cover when it could've been any of the more successful, important or loved Plantagenet kings. I would've picked Edward III, or even better, maybe the painting of the Black Prince standing over King John's corpse at Crecy, since the gain/loss/gain/loss of French territories and the arguments and wars with France defined the Plantagenets much more than the Cousins War (regardless of the latter ending their reign.)
This favoritism of Richard III is obviously due to the recent finding of his remains but since he reigned for around 2 years the most during which his brilliance in government did not manifest, it's an inaccurate choice.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous but Sketchy, 20 April 2013
This review is from: The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going!, 27 Jun 2014
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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 had to keep referring back to who's who, why and wherefore. A good topic but definitely one for the enthusiasts!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plantagenets, 28 April 2012
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This review is from: The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain (Hardcover)
This is a very informative book about the Plantagenet kings that ruled England from 1154 - 1485. What makes it unique is the way, year by year, you are given the details about what actually happened through manuscripts, seals, paintings etc. It really does help you to remember the sequence of kings in the medieval period.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 July 2014
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H. Shea (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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Really easy to read historical book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars As an introduction to this remarkable dynasty, this book ..., 4 July 2014
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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 which have shaped the constitutional and political development of England.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I knew I would love this book, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain (Hardcover)
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.
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The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain
The Plantagenets: The Kings That Made Britain by Derek Wilson (Hardcover - 1 Sep 2011)
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