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on 2 November 2003
There isn't exactly a shortage of material on this guy, but I still found this book extremely valuable in gaining a detailed knowledge and insight into the life of one of the most prominent chivalric figures in British history. I don't think I would recommend it as THE book to start with if you know nothing of Edward or his period, since it is quite in-depth. However, it is certainly not a book just for those who have already read everything else. I picked this up after studying this period for a while, and having read several works on the Black Prince, notably Barber's 'Edward, Prince of Wales and Aquitane'. This book is by far the best in my opinion. All the details are there, from military to sentimental, the book is very carefully written and surprisingly easy to read. Green hardly ever loses his grip on the reader, and although it is not as 'narrative' (so to speak) as Richard Barber's work, the interest factor is just as high.
What can I say? It's only a book - but it's a book that will probably tell you everything you wanted to know. Even if you HAVE read everything else on this subject, 'The Black Prince' is certainly worth a look if not a buy!
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on 28 August 2010
First point: unlike the other reviews, this is not a review of Green's 2001(reissued 2008) "The Black Prince"; it is a review of the different 2007 book "Edward The Black Prince: Power in Medieval Europe" (Amazon have wrongly attached the same reviews to both books). So if you want to know about the 2001/2008 book read the other reviews, but if you want to know about the 2007 book, read this!
So what about the book? Well, I bought it thinking it would be a biography of the Black Prince, and was initally disappointed to find that it absolutely is not that. It is probably best described as a collection of essays on subjects which are of relevance to the Black Prince, but would fit uneasily in any conventional biogrpahy. Thus Green deals with issues such as the effects of the Black Death, religious changes, the concepts of nobility, aristocracy and chivalry and developments in warfare. Having said that, he has a lot of good stuff in these essays, and if you concentrate hard you will not only learn a lot about those particular subjects, but get a pretty good biography of the Black Prince too - just not in chronological order. So it is quite hard work, but worth it.
However I do slightly wonder what audience it is aimed at. I don't think, despite the essay style of it, that it is aimed at an academic audience; and this is borne out by Prestwich's slightly "damning with faint praise" review which describes it as "thoroughly readable" (and even to me some of the points made seemed overbroad for the academic context). But is is not really for the novice general reader either - I have a reasonable general reader's base in C13 history and a little in C14 and C15 and I had to concentrate to enjoy it - Green assumes quite a level of knowledge about the events of the Black Prince's life, alluding to events and dates in passing, which can be frustrating to the general reader. So overall it is probably best regarded as a companion to a conventional biography, to take the general reader a little further into the larger issues which swirled around the Black Prince's life, and to point the way to further reading (the endnotes are excellent and detailed and could give you plenty of material to work up a real course of reading). However if you have an interest in the Black Price, it is definitely worth having.
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on 14 May 2011
In Leeds City Square there is a magnificent statue of the Black Prince, erected in 1903 when the British Empire was at its height, and patriotism uncomplicated. Displaying an intense pride in his life and achievements, the inscription proclaims that the Prince was `the victor of Crécy and Poitiers, the Flower of English Chivalry and the Upholder of the Rights of the People in the Good Parliament'. One would not expect a book written in 2007 to make the same grandiose claims, and Dr Green does not even intend this book as a conventional biography - he has written one of those already (The Black Prince, Tempus 2001). Instead, he tells us openly that he is concerned with themes, and not the person. The common thread is the exercise of power in medieval Europe.

Ideally, this book should be read as a companion to the earlier biography. As such it is an excellent supplement - a typical product of the British academic establishment: learned, well-written, properly documented, and in this case lavishly illustrated; but the book does not stir the emotions. The pride which those English burghers of Leeds felt in 1903 has, alas, long since been dissipated.

Stephen Cooper
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on 28 January 2010
It is rare to find a book that has been badly written, badly edited (if at all) and badly published, but this is it. It is difficult to see how sentences such as the following can pass muster:

'William Neville served in the Richard's household of as prince of Wales and was associated with the family prior to that.'

Several times I was left struggling to understand the author's meaning, and this made the book tiring and unpleasant to read. The many illustrations are also uniformly poor with most of the detail lost in a sludge of grey. They are scattered amongst the text in an often random fashion which reduces their impact even further. A map of the Black Prince's military campaigns covers the whole of France, southern England as far north as London, and northern Spain in a box 8.5 x 6cm. The details of the Prince's progress cannot be deciphered even with the aid of a magnifying glass because the printing quality is just not good enough at this scale.

Some of this might be excused if the book brought the Black Prince to life at any stage , but as the previous reviewer said, it is not a rounded attempt to explain the man.
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on 22 November 2014
Loved the journey through this part of history, very well written with the right amount of facts and detail. Very well researched. Thank you!
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on 19 January 2010
This book does supply some information, but strikes me as someone's Thesis, rather than a rounded attempt to explain the man.
There is room for a better writer to carry out research on this subject and write a better book.
I could have done with a lot more detail and was disappointed.
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on 25 August 2013
I've not had much time to do other than 'skim' through it; so far, my own researches/opinions have been confirmed by the book - which is a great relief. I look forward to reading the book properly - in due course. The book arrived within the stipulated time, well packed and in excellent condition. Thank you.
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on 12 August 2014
Not quite what I thought it would be. A bit turgid. More like a text book which is not really what I wanted. Never mind!
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