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Shakespeare's Kings

The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485

In a sparkling, fast-paced narrative, esteemed historian John Julius Norwich chronicles the turbulent events of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England that inspired Shakespeare's history plays. It was a time of uncertainty and incessant warfare, a time during which the crown was constantly contested, alliances were made and broken, and peasants and townsmen alike arose in revolt. This was the raw material of Shakespeare's dramas, and Norwich holds up his work to the light of history to ask: Who was the real Falstaff? How accurate a historian was the playwright? Shakespeare's Kings is a marvelous study of the Bard's method of spinning history into art, and a captivating portrait of the Middle Ages.

Michiko Kakutani The New York Times Colorful....Lively....Turns the history of England in the Middle Ages into a tempestuous chronicle of family feuds and political machinations.

David Bevington The Washington Times Delightful...a very readable companion to the plays.

Hans Werner The Toronto Star A lively jaunt through the rocky history of the Lancastrian kings from the time of the Hundred Years' War with France to the end of the Wars of the Roses....An indispensable tour guide next time you go down to Stratford.

Anne Marie Welsh The San Diego Union-Tribune Magisterial...reads how the best history does: like a story.