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on 3 July 2014
This was the first biography of William Marshal I have read, though I recently became more interested in him, due perhaps in part to Thomas Asbridge's Documentary. I can't make comparison with others, though I really should make an effort to read David Crouch's William Marshal: Knighthood War and Chivalry in the near future.

I would describe this book as more of a military biography, with extensive attention given to battles, campaigns, strategy and logistics. There is some danger of getting `bogged down' in the detail (and there is a lot of detail) but it's a book worth persevering with- though I confess it took me nearly two months to finish it, which is not usual considering the electronic edition is only 250 pages. Not that the book is bad (and I can plead mitigating circumstances), on the contrary it's a fascinating, crammed full of detail, asides and interesting tidbits (I never knew Archbishop Stephen Langton was the man who divided the Bible into chapters) but those expecting a quick, light and easy read may be disappointed.

However, anyone seeking a well-researched overview of the life, times and historical legacy of `The Marshall', to give them a good `sense' of the period should be pleased. I wouldn't agree with all of the author's conclusion's or comparisons (he does seem to judge by modern standards every so often), the structure could have been better, and perhaps he has fallen in love with his subject. Yet for all his failings, which any failings he did have, it would be hard not to admire William . How many septuagenarians, even today could lead a charge in battle or a regency government?

It would be no crime to finish this book with the belief that William Marshal is one of the great (if not the Greatest) largely unsung heroes of English history, who has been unfairly forgotten and side-lined. the sites of his great victories and triumphs seem to be hardly recognized today. How many has heard of the Battle of Lincoln, or the naval debacle at Sandwich?
Like King Alfred having been unjustly reduced in the popular memory to little more than the King who burned the cakes, William Marshall deserves more credit and popular recognition.

Altogether, recommended reading. I received a ebook version of this title from Netgalley in exchange for review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.
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on 30 September 2014
Good military history but slightly under-referenced - the author refers to some relevant but perhaps rather out-of-date archaeological work but I was unable to check because the reports are not included in the bibliography. I was not convinced by the author's decision to anglicise the 'de' in Anglo-Norman names but that's just personal preference.
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on 8 January 2015
It's good, it's readable but it's title is deliberately specific and it is not perfect. It reads, at times, as though the author has shared his research with us rather than written up his research into a coherent piece, and it is best on Marshall's role as Regent with particular reference to the 1217 invasion - as, tbf, indicated in the title. There are some glaring errors of understanding, such as with reference to the Sandwich sea battle where the author refers to the source suggesting a fleet of 60-100 ships and another "splitting the difference" at "8 score" which the author appears to think means 80!
It also reads as too reliant on one main source "The history" poem which is treated as the constant plumbline to which other sources are compared.
I enjoyed it, it was a quick read and cheap at 99p in the recent Kindle sale but I am hoping for more from the Thomas Asbridge book coming soon.
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on 9 March 2015
I have always been intigued by William Marshal ever since I read a wonderful work of historical fiction on him some years back, so I was naturally keen to know more about the real man, the one the author of this work entitled "The Knight who saved England". I was not disappointed at all, the book details some of the extraordinary feats that Marshal ot involved in from being held prisoner as a young boy, through to running the country as stand in ruler for the young king. The lived during a very busy time, under various rulers and got to travel to many countries. His story is every bit exciting and adventurous as I was led to believe and this work of non fiction tells his story with great detail that keeps the reader captivated. I was able to review this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.
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on 16 October 2014
Fine if you are already familiar with this period of English history, but includes too many obscure references to events and people likely to be unknown to the general reader hoping for a straightforward biography of William Marshall.
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2015
It is not an easy book to read as it seems to dart all over the place, rather than telling the story of one of the finest knights who ever lived. Of course he wasn't English, at this time there were no "English" the main bulk of the population were Saxons, the rulers Barons, King etc. were Norman French as as such spoke no saxon english, you had to wait a while longer for this to happen.
Yes he did save "England", from yet again the French ! and their grasping King. I will say no more, if you watched the BBC4 program you will find this book very interesting, if you didn't see it, or know who he was, shame on you for neglecting the history of this country, read it and LEARN.
Highly recommended.
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on 11 August 2014
I really enjoyed this book. I usually only read up to the fatefull 1066, but the reviews for this book took my eye, so I thought "why not?". I had never heard of William the Marshall before and never realised he was so massively important to the history of this country. I wont spoil it for the reader but suffice to say we would all be speaking French now if it wasn't for this great Man. Why we don't teach his story in schools, I'll never know. But the Irish, Scots and Welsh learn and are proud of their historic heroes (and quite rightly) but if the English are proud of their history, it's somehow deemed to be racist! Weird!!! Would reccomend this book to anyone interested in history or just a good story.
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on 31 May 2014
Intriguing snippet of medieval history and especially interesting on the immediate aftermath of Magna Carta. Well researched on the warfare strategies and tactics of the time. Could have benefitted from tighter editing.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 March 2015
Unlike many historical figures, William Marshal is not exactly a household name. Yet he deserves to be much better known, most notably (although not solely) as commander of the royalist forces at the Battle of Lincoln in 1217, one of the most decisive (if not very famous) battles in English history.

Of fairly humble origins, William's great prowess as a knight (and marriage into nobility) helped him to become one of the most powerful men in the country. As a statesman, he seems to have pursued moderate and pragmatic policies in what were by today's standards extraordinarily violent times, and this willingness to seek compromise makes him easier to relate to.
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on 15 June 2014
Good reading if you like history but got bogged down with statistics. Still it was worth the effort just to establish the problems he had during a lifetime of service to the crown.
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