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A Great and Terrible King
Edward I and the Forging of Britain
Table of Contents
About The Book
The first major biography of a truly formidable king, whose reign was one of the most dramatic and important of the entire Middle Ages, leading to war and conquest on an unprecedented scale.
Edward I is familiar to millions as "Longshanks," conqueror of Scotland and nemesis of Sir William Wallace (in "Braveheart"). Yet that story forms only the final chapter of the king's action-packed life. Earlier, Edward had defeated and killed Simon de Montfort in battle; traveled to the Holy Land; conquered Wales, extinguishing its native rulers and constructing a magnificent chain of castles. He raised the greatest armies of the Middle Ages and summoned the largest parliaments; notoriously, he expelled all the Jews from his kingdom. The longest-lived of England's medieval kings, Edward fathered fifteen children with his first wife, Eleanor of Castile and, after her death, erected the Eleanor Crosses—the grandest funeral monuments ever fashioned for an English monarch.
In this book, Marc Morris examines afresh the forces that drove Edward throughout his relentless career: his character, his Christian faith, and his sense of England's destiny—a sense shaped largely by the tales of the legendary King Arthur. Morris also explores the competing reasons that led Edward's opponents (including Robert Bruce) to resist him.
The result is a sweeping story, immaculately researched yet compellingly told, and a vivid picture of medieval Britain at the moment when its future was decided.
- Publisher: Pegasus Books (June 14, 2016)
- Length: 480 pages
- ISBN13: 9781681771335
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Raves and Reviews
"A painstakingly researched and highly readable account. Vivid details and an engaging narrative style bring the man and his period to life. Highly recommended for scholars and generalists alike interested in the Middle Ages."
– Library Journal (starred)
"Enhanced with color and b&w photos, a list of abbreviations, chapter notes, a bibliography, Family Trees, and a comprehensive index, A Great And Terrible King is an extraordinary read and highly recommended for both community and academic library collections."
– Midwest Book Review
"Morris expertly puts Edward’s achievements, such as the Model Parliament, into historical context while laying bare—and making interesting—the king’s struggles. Descriptions of Edward waging war in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and even Gascony maintain a level of excitement as Morris cleverly builds anticipation, never dropping a narrative thread."
– Publishers Weekly
"A splendid example of the genre. An excellent, readable account of his reign."
– The Literary Review
"Morris does a splendid job of distinguishing England, Scotland and Wales in geographic, topographic, political and cultural terms. His descriptions of battles, political shenanigans and betrayals are as clear as a bell and his enthusiasm for his subject helps to make this biography something of a page turner."
– The Providence Journal
"Uncommonly good. Edward was a remarkable man, and a great king. Marc Morris does him justice. It’s compelling stuff."
– Allan Massie, bestselling author of 'The Royal Stuarts'
"An informative and easily digestible account of the life of an important if often unattractive medieval monarch."
"Richly contextual treatment of a pivotal Medieval English monarch. An elucidating biography."
"Marc Morris is historical biography’s newest star."
– The 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. Morris has succeeded in writing a book for today."
– The Times Literary Supplement
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