Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Up to 70% off Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop now Shop Now Shop now
Customer Review

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My kingdom for an editor, 31 May 2006
This review is from: The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages (Penguin History of Britain) (Paperback)
The book 'The Hollow Crown', by Miri Rubin, is a fascinating text. It covers the mid-to-late Plantagenet time, beginning after the pivotal time of famine in the early 1300s, continuing up to the beginning of the Tudor era - this is a time that may be best known generally thanks to Shakespeare's plays, although the plays do exhibit poetic license taken by Shakespeare to heighten both the dramatic art and the political regime of the Tudors.

This is an interesting period, with the dynastic stability of Edward I giving way over the generations to inter-family strife, better known now as the Wars of the Roses. Rubin's chapter divisions follow the reigns of the major monarchs in rough outline: Edward II, Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV & V (combined into one chapter), Henry VI, and the finish (Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, and into Henry VII's reign). As this is a fairly standard way of dividing British history, it makes things accessible to the general reader as well. Within these broad divisions, however, Rubin carries various themes across the periods as needed - economic, geopolitical, cultural and other kinds movements and shifts are reflected by more than the rise and fall of particular monarchs. Rubin also takes a fairly even-handed approach, without taking sides in particular controversies (Was Henry IV's rise to power a legitimate one? Was Richard III's reign legitimate, and did he have the princes in the Tower murdered? - Rubin references such controversies without taking a partisan stance).

As others have noted in their reviews of this book, it wants a good editor, and unfortunately modern publishers have been cutting back on their editorial services to authors under the mistaken reasoning that computer editors can do an adequate job - alas, such is not the case for scholarly writing, and Rubin's text is most assuredly scholarly writing. Despite the fact that Rubin states in her introduction that this is not intended as a book for other professional historians, the reading can be heavy-going and detail-oriented at times, but other parts have a wonderful narrative flow.

I am one who can never get enough of history, and perhaps now qualify (as a newly-hired adjunct professor of history) as one of the professional historians for which this book was not intended, but I am very glad to have read it. Rubin's scholarship is careful, and her final essay, a narrative bibliography of sorts, is in itself a pleasure to read. Rubin lists the extended bibliography on her professional webpage (Queen Mary College, University of London, search for her name among the staff), and this is a wonderful resource for further reading as well. There are useful maps, some colour plates in the centre, and a genealogical chart tracing Edward II to Henry VII. The index is well done (always a plus in scholarly writing).

Perhaps one element that sets this apart from many standard histories is the concentration on issues of daily life and work of the common folk by Rubin - many royal and official histories detail the great movements of state or the personalities of the high and mighty, with only glancing care toward the greater mass of people living during the times. Rubin gives good account of the way in which people worked, traveled, traded, and acted in religious, social and political ways. This is an element not to be missed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in