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Eleanor Of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England Paperback – 3 Aug 2000
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Combining the pace and descriptive quality of a novel with the authority of a text book, Alison Weir's study of the revered and reviled Eleanor of Aquitaine should be valuable to anyone with an interest in medieval European history. Wife of Louis VII of France and subsequently of Henry II of England and mother of Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor played a prominent part in the politics of the 12th century. The author of a number of other books on the medieval period, Alison Weir brings all the colour and ever-present dangers of Eleanor's world to life, filling the text with absorbing background detail and revelatory contemporary anecdotes. She is concerned throughout to make critical analysis of the primary sources, the later myths about Eleanor and other modern biographies. This results in a fresh and thoughtful perspective on the energetic 82 years of the life of a determined and ambitious woman living with the sexism, excesses and violence of a society in which the word of a single man could condemn thousands to be put to death. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a vivacious but scholarly book with extensive notes and references appended, giving an objective and rich account of the staunch Eleanor, her feuding family and her complex and unstable world. --Karen Tiley
"'Her biography reads like a medieval romance, a marvellous intermingling of fact with legend...fascinating...splendid.'" (Literary Review)
"'Sensible and eminently readable.'" (Times Literary Supplement)
"'When you finish the book you feel you have been put painlessly (but not necessarily without tears) in possession of the facts of this extraordinary, indefatigable woman, her sufferings and triumphs.'" (Bevis Hillier, Books of the Year, Spectator)
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By connecting it to known facts of her contemporaries (Henry II, Richard, John et al) she has delivered a history full of fact and sound conclusion while avoiding speculation, and even shooting down the odd myth here and there. Wonderfully interesting content and an easy read.
Recommended to everyone.
This is a fascinating biography of an incredible woman, not only setting out the unique transition from Queen of France to Queen of England, with the political consequences of her marriage to Henry II, the friction between the royal houses of England and France, and the rest of Europe, but also with detailed accounts of day to day events and the royal expenditure at that time, that Alison Weir brings to life, giving an insight into the life of the those times.
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