A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain Paperback – 5 Mar 2009
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"Morris tells Edward's story fluently and conveys a compelling sense of the reality, and the contingency, of personal rule... It is on the subject of "the forging of Britain" that Morris is most consistently thought-provoking" (Guardian)
"Marc Morris's new account of the life of Edward I is 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)
"This is a direct, forthright and welcoming book... Edward I was called a "great and terrible king" and he has been well served by Marc Morris. He leads us confidently through the litany of battles and conflicts" (Scotland on Sunday)
"A highly readable account of an important reign" (Scotsman)
"Marc Morris has written the first full biography of Edward I for around 100 years, and uncommonly good it is too ... He was a remarkable man, and a great king. Marc Morris does him justice, brings him clearly before our eyes, and, like a true historian, judges him by the standards of his age, not ours. It's compelling stuff" (Allan Massie Daily Telegraph)
This is the first major biography for a generation of a truly formidable king. Edward I is familiar to millions as 'Longshanks', conqueror of Scotland and nemesis of Sir William Wallace ('Braveheart'). Edward was born to rule England, but believed that it was his right to rule all of Britain. His reign was one of the most dramatic of the entire Middle Ages, leading to war and conquest on an unprecedented scale, and leaving a legacy of division that has lasted from his day to our own. In his astonishingly action-packed life, Edward defeated and killed the famous Simon de Montfort in battle; travelled across Europe to the Holy Land on crusade; conquered Wales, extinguishing forever its native rulers, and constructed - at Conwy, Harlech, Beaumaris and Caernarfon - the most magnificent chain of castles ever created. After the death of his first wife he erected the Eleanor Crosses - the grandest funeral monuments ever fashioned for an English monarch.See all Product description
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Also, the castles he built were (and still are) magnificent.
This biography is a great book...really interesting and surprisingly readable. Morris presents a balanced look at this inspiring man, and he doesn't shy away from the bad stuff. Edward I is one of the most important medieval kings, and one of the most compelling, and this book definitely does him justice.
I knew little of Edward I other than the inevitable Braveheart reference but quite warmed to him as I read the book.
I bought the book as historical background reading and research for a novel I'm writing but found myself appreciating it not just as research material but also for the story itself which is well told, clear and with a nice twist of humour every now and again.
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.