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Isabella: She-Wolf of France, Queen of England Paperback – 6 Jul 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New edition edition (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712641947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712641944
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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)

Book Description

The first full-length biography of a much maligned - but astonishingly colourful - Queen of England.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well researched and painstakingly accurately - however it often turns out to be a series of lists and estate agent details.
Cut to the quick , Alison !
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Format: Paperback
Isabella: She-Wolf of France, Queen of England is a non-fiction work concerning the life and times of Isabella of France, Queen to Edward II and mother of Edward III. I was interested in reading this due to the fact that this is one of the only biographies of Isabella published in recent times, and because it attempts to reconsider her damaged reputation and rehabilitate her character. One of the main points of the work is whether or not having her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, affected her historical reputation aversely. Weir thinks ultimately that without Mortimer, Queen Isabella could have been respected or even celebrated through the ages, claiming that `history may have immortalised her as a liberator' in the blurb.

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.
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By I.F.Coyle VINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, as I have enjoyed many of Ms weir's books (I can particularly recommend Eleanor of Acquitaine). She clearly is an enthusiast for her subject and closely examines and imaginatively interprets her Primary Sources. The tale itself is well worth re-telling (politics and sex it never fails!)and one is always intrigued by the overwhelming folly of Edward II and the novelty of a woman having such an effect on her environment in the Middle Ages. Given the interest of the subject and the way it is absorbingly told the only disappointment in the book lies in the author's determination to protect her subject from many of her accusers. Given the woman's predicament the reader wouldn't have blamed her for anything!
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Format: Paperback
A very well-written book on the interesting life of a dazzling woman in history!
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.
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Well researched book on one of the most (in)famous women in history. I liked the detail and the very personal approach to the subject. I've always enjoyed the author's style and admired her passion. There are many proven facts and some mysteries such as the Fieschi letter. Recommended to who loves history and the story of amazing women who helped shape it.
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Format: Paperback
The subject of Isabella is compelling, considering how little appears to have been written about her. However, I was disappointed in Alison Weir's treatment of her subject. There is no doubt the author has done thorough research, which is evident throughout. The level of detail especially in the first half of the story, is tedious and frankly, quite boring. Devoting so many pages, for example, to the number of servants she had and what they got paid, is more bureaucratic than enthralling. Disclosing what dates Isabella travelled and where she went, without many journeys having any historic significance or interest, makes for dull reading. However, I persisted and the pace does pick up and eventually, an absorbing story unfolds. It is a pity I had to wade through a long-winded account of her early life, to get to the interesting bits.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. As with all her other books, Alison Weir takes great care to research and point out what is fact, theory, and speculation. What she turns out is a highly readable piece of work that anyone can enjoy.

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.
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