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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive though a little uneven, 27 Aug 2008
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This review is from: Plantagenet England: 1225-1360 (New Oxford History of England) (Paperback)
Michael Prestwich's review of Plantagenet England stretches from the Magna Carta to the Black Death, and even a little beyond, to the peace of Brétigny: not a very long, but a key period in English history. This particular book in the Oxford History has the major advantage of comprising both an event-driven account and a theme-based section. The political drama is thus put in context, and the necessary social tableau informed by the twists and turns of the kings' and other important men's doings.

The book is full of colourful individual anecdotes illustrating its broader analysis. It contains intriguing sections on crime and punishment and on the horrific Black Death. Prestwich indulges his pet themes, however, especially war and military strategy, while the essential subject of parliamentary development is left a little vague. This is the period when England's modern political institutions were born, when Westminster acquired a two-chamber parliament and embryo government institutions; this is of course mentioned, but it is a shame the book doesn't say more about how it came about. The economic and financial data can also be a little confused, the national debt calculations in one place bordering on incoherent. To some extent, though, these are minor quibbles, and the 575 pages this book contains are well worth reading.
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Initial post: 25 Feb 2011 03:37:23 GMT
I. Buchan says:
Hmmm- Plantagenet England surely from Matilda's Son Henry through to Richard III and arguably the most lively and exciting of all the Dynastys of England. Personally the Civil War between Matilda and Stephen and the Wars of the Roses including the much maligned Richard III the most exciting Periods. The Blip is certainly the Tudors with the least claim to the English throne in the entire History of England -in fact Henry Tudor has no claim by birth.
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