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Isabella: She-Wolf of France, Queen of England Paperback – 6 Jul 2006
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"This is history which reads like a novel.Weir writes lucidly, with an eye for the details which bring the period to life." (Christopher Hudson Daily Mail)
"This compelling story is told in even tones.Weir carefully balances her subject's good points with her bad... Alison Weir succeeds in bringing to life a murky period of history, which has been shrouded in myth and legend.She makes us sympathetic to Isabella's plight, while acknowledging her faults, and helps us to appreciate how a resourceful and intelligent woman managed to cope and even triumph in difficult circumstances, at a time when political power was, with a few notable exceptions, the preserve of men." (Literary Review)
"This enthralling biography doesn't just correct the calumny of centuries, it provides a beautifully nuanced portrait of a fascinating lady and gives a vivid sense of the riotous realpolitik of medieval times." (Scotsman)
"This meticulous no-nonsense biography presents a fascinating story complete with puzzles." (Independent on Sunday)
"An utterly compelling, gripping and believable portrait of a formidable queen." (Lisa Jardine Washington Post)
The first full-length biography of a much maligned - but astonishingly colourful - Queen of England.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Cut to the quick , Alison !
The main point and thesis is an interesting one, although ultimately I think that a large part of the problem of Isabella's damaged reputation stemmed from the invasion of England, her sheer amount greed for money or lands when in power, the overthrow, deposition, and possible murder of her husband alongside preventing him from seeing his children all played a role in the destruction of Isabella's pristine reputation. The book is good for all the information it gathers together about Isabella and her life, especially before the invasion of England in 1326. I also enjoyed the discussion of Isabella actions post-coup to a certain extent. The remarkable document of the Fieschi letter and the possibilities surrounding that were also something I had never considered with any degree of seriousness, so that was an interesting part to read about.
However, the book contains many flaws. The main problem is Weir's obvious bias for her subject.Read more ›
Isabella of France, nicknamed "She-Wolf of France", is an example of fascinating Queen (she stands out from the long line of many plain Queens who were just always pious, always gentle, always quiet, always there to give birth to royal children and that's it).
Isabella was a smart, venturesome, scheming lady who managed a far better transfer of power from unpopular King Edward II to herself and their own son, Edward III, then some other royal persons with their coups (looking at Henry IV and Richard II). Not to mention she was the first person to successfully invade England since Norman conquest.
The irony is that her nickname was obviously intended as an insult by historians, but in reality being strong enough to be compared with a wolf is rather a compliment.
Some would consider the great detail she uses in outlining royal expenses boring, but I think it only adds to an understanding of the time and place she is telling the reader about.
Though it was disappointing to see that the book is actually shorter than it looks due to the bibliography, indexes, family tree, etc. it is the only thing I found disappointing about the book. Though sympathetic to her subject, I felt that she set the record straight on a much maligned historical figure and ultimately presented a more balanced view of Isabella. On those facts that have been muddied with time, Weir is careful to present theories and speculation as nothing more than that. That she injects her own opinion on the matter, given her knowledge, research, and intelligence is not necessarily a bad thing because the author trusts the reader to know the difference between fact and theory.
Alison Weir has taken a historical figure that we know little about and brought her to life with this work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this book for my wife who is a great reader of historical books and has become an avid reader of Alison Wear in particular. Read morePublished 5 months ago by len. jones
Enjoyed this book. Very well researched. Incredible amount of detailed information. However, rather biased regarding certain matters. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Doug Mitchell
Love all A WEir books and this book doesn't disappoint. Great reading well written and very factual. Amazing writer.Published 16 months ago by D
Excellent book and it was good to get an overview on this powerful Queen who had to fight for her rights and for her son.Published 22 months ago by Jinty from Lochgelly
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