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A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain Hardcover – 6 Mar 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 6 Mar 2008
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson; First Edition edition (6 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091796849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091796846
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 647,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A direct, forthright and welcoming book... Edward I was called a "great and terrible king" and he has been well served by Marc Morris' -- Scotland on Sunday

'A highly readable account of an important reign' -- Scotsman

'A splendid example of the genre. Edward's life is in many ways an ideal subject for such an approach, full of incident and action... An excellent, readable account of his reign'
-- Literary Review

'Historical biography's newest star'
-- Bookseller

'The title of Marc Morris' book is apt. No king of England had a greater impact on the peoples of Britain than Edward I... he has succeeded in writing a book for today'
-- TLS

'Uncommonly good ... He was a remarkable man, and a great king. Marc Morris does him justice, brings him clearly before our eyes ... It's compelling stuff'
-- Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph

I enjoyed A Great and Terrible King
-- Robert Salisbury, Books of the Year, Spectator

Morris tells Edward's story fluently and conveys a compelling sense of the reality, and the contingency, of personal rule -- Guardian

Book Description

The first popular biography of Edward I in a generation by a major new historian. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a lover and student of late medieval and renaissance history, I was hoping that this book would give me a solid knowledge of the events and issues that were to become the foundation of 'Britain'.... and that's exactly what I found!

This is a great book for anyone that is interested in the history of Britain. I have read many 'history' books that assume the reader has an in-depth knowledge of the subject before they begin, but happily this is not the case. All of the events are explained in a full, interesting and (on the whole) entertaining way. As the book is written in a very personal style you really get the feeling of riding alongside Edward for all of his 68 years, however this is no way undermines the tremendous amount of work that has obviously gone into writing it.

Most of us know of Robert Bruce, William Wallace, Simon de Montfort and have heard about the 'confiscation' of the Stone of Scone, and the origins of the Prince of Wales title, but this book explains the 'whys', 'hows' and 'whens' that makes history real.

If I had one complaint, (and it's so small that the book still gets Five stars), it's that you get the feeling that Marc Morris is sometimes over-justifying Edwards decisions. Yes, the things he did were not always 'PC' but, and as Mr Morris does quantify at the end of the book, he was a bigotted king in a bigotted time.

That aside, this is a great book for the serious student, the history lover and anyone else that enjoys expanding their knowledge of such an important time in history.
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Format: Paperback
This must be one of the best history books that I have ever read. It is a real page-turner and a definite "one more chapter before lights out". I can open the book at any page and become engrossed in the story that is being told. It is written in a clear manner and one learns some very interesting facts. The preface explains the reasoning behind why the man is called Edward I and the confusion over who he was and this gets one into the mood for entering the main text. The first paragraph (in the preface) actually reads a bit like a Winnie-the-Pooh book, which I found amusing but then once you are settled down with a cup of tea and begin the story it is fairly hard to stop reading. And when you have finally finished the book you will want to turn to the first page and start it all over again. Superb.
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Format: Paperback
A fantastic book. I bought it mainly to increase my understanding of the Scottish wars of independence, but I found myself getting caught-up in the history of the Whole British Isles. Edward's reign was a turning point in British history and Marc Morris clearly describes how Edward first stamped his authority on an England that was running out of control and then turned his attention to neighbouring countries, culminating in the wars with Scotland. I particularly liked the sections on his subjugation of Wales, and his description of the break-down on cordial relations between Scotland and England. The book is informative as well as being very well written, and I recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the complex relationship between the different countries of the UK.
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Format: Paperback
If you're only knowledge of Edward I is based on Mel Gibson's bowel movement known as Braveheart, then Marc Morris's book will truly open your eyes to a man and period in history that has truly shaped the country we live in today. Far from Gibson's pantomime character, the real Longshanks was battle proven by his early twenties and would become known as a great negotiator and intermediary between European leaders. Morris's exploration of the Welsh campaigns and how these came about were of particular interest to me, being Welsh myself, so discovering the in-fighting between Llewellyn Ap Gryfedd and his brother Dafydd and the lasting impact that this has had on Welsh history was brilliant. Not only this but the polictical and social views of the time relating to all nations of Britain and how they viewed each other is put accross amazingly well. This is one of those books you really can't put down, which i don't say often, but Edward's legacy is still felt today and also visibly seen in the Welsh landscape. You don't need fiction when you've got this kind of material !! And lets hope Gibson stops making films soon.......
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this very well written book. Edward was a very complex character: he was a good husband to two women, a good father to his younger surviving children; less so perhaps, to Edward of Caernarvon, in whom he may well have seen his own father's more unfortunate characteristics. As a knight and a crusader he was incredibly highly respected, and he was the first to develop a concept of a United Kingdom of Britain. In fact, his conquest of Wales stuck, and if he had not been distracted by Gascony then he might have finished the job.
However, he showed relatively little interest in the laws attributed to him, they were more in the way of concessions granted in return for money to prosecute his wars. And of course, he was also our most frightening monarch bar Henry VIII.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
.

I bought this book 'on spec' hoping to rediscover a period of history that I learned about at school but had long-since forgotten. I expected King Edward's story to be rather prosaic after the political machinations and intrigues described in Alison Weir's Lancaster And York: The Wars of the Roses and Thomas Penn's Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England, but I was delighted to discover otherwise. Edward's life was an astonishingly eventful one, both before and after he became king, and involved political intrigues at least as complex as those of later reigns.

Marc Morris tells the story in a compelling style that draws one through the book without respite. However the story is about a lot more than King Edward: it also tells much about the histories and cultures of Wales and Scotland and their interactions with the English. Indeed, Edward's reign was pivotal in intensifying the strained relationships that still exist between England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, though this was by no means entirely due to Edward's belligerence or intent.

Amongst of the book's more memorable pages are the ones that tell the story behind the legend of King Arthur and which incorporate a hypothesis that gives them political significance in relation to the Welsh rebellions during Edward's reign.

It seems petty to criticize such a magnificent book, but were to do so I would say only that I found myself losing track of time.
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