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The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England's Self-Made King Paperback – 3 Jul 2008
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"[Mortimer] has an instinctive sympathy for the men about whom he writes, a real understanding of the mentalities of late medieval England, and a vivid historical imagination which lends colour and excitement to his pages" (Literary Review)
"Mortimer's book is a success and tells an important story very well" (Richard Francis Daily Telegraph)
"An arresting and original biography" (Jessie Childs Sunday Telegraph)
"[It] possesses the rare combination of clarity, liveliness, balanced judgement, erudition without pedantry, and scholarship founded on his own research among primary sources" (Scotland on Sunday)
"The book is at its most compelling in conjuring a sense of place or occasion" (Guardian)
`qualified historian...invokes historical imagination...'See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The rest of the book follows the events of the reign of Henry, both the successes and the failures. But throughout, the book offers the reader a very ‘human’ view of Henry of Lancaster. To a large extent, he seems to have been a very private man; certainly a very religious man, and one who took his life, and his responsibilities very seriously indeed. He strove to be what his country needed, but whether he felt, at the end of his life that he had succeeded, is open to interpretation. Certainly he has had a black reputation in the centuries since his death, but the author has done an admirable job in offering to the reader the life and times of a man who was of his times, and neither black nor spotless in his deeds.Read more ›
Henry wanted to rule in a much more positive and consensual way, but was faced by near constant rebellion, caused in large part by lack of funds leading to unpopular taxation. At the same time, Parliament was becoming more powerful and self confident and Henry could never feel totally safe, now that he himself had broken a precedent by deposing his predecessor, showing that such a previously pretty unthinkable action could indeed be taken. He survived by adapting to changing situations and being more flexible than Richard. His final years racked by painful illness, his reputation was rapidly overshadowed by that of his son and heir, the victor of Agincourt. This book provides a much needed reassessment of this neglected ruler. 5/5
In this book, Ian Mortimer sets out to bring Henry IV out of the shadows by providing both context and perspective for his actions. Mortimer's research and energetic writing do shed light, but it is not quite enough to infuse Henry IV with personality and life. The people around Henry IV largely remain in the shadows and it is their perspectives that would enable us to get a clearer picture of the man who was the king.
Ian Mortimer has provided comprehensive notes and a wealth of information in his select bibliography. This book is a wonderful starting point for those who want to know more about the life and times of Henry IV. I hope that at some stage someone will write a book that will be able to shed more life on the man himself.
Was Henry IV a usurper or a saviour? Ian Mortimer has a view, and while I largely agree with him I'm not entirely convinced. Yet.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the most interesting books I have read lately. Ian Mortimer does a very good job in presenting the life of King Henry IV by taking into account the man behind the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by D vdK
The author makes use on some interesting primary sources to give us an involving account of Henry IV's life. In addition the book is well written and the narrative pull is strong.Published 8 months ago by Julian Hunt
Excellent: well up to the standard of all Mortimer's work, and a really good study of England's most enigmatic king.Published 10 months ago by Michael
Really meticulously researched, emotionally engaging and well balanced. Thanks for championing this overlooked monarch. The author sets things firmly within their context.Published 12 months ago by Kindle Customer
Excellent. I still can't get my head round why conquering England was more important than running the country for some kings, but Henry comes over as trying to be fair and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mr. P. F. Field
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