The Plantagenets by Dan Jones
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones – The Kings Who Made England. I saw it described as “a family portrait of the Plantagenet kings from Henry II to Richard II”, and that is very accurate. It is presented as a family story, making it easy to read, just as a novel. The book presents the history of the time in a very interesting way. Despite its size, I would recommend it to anybody, not only those who are very interested in history.
I’ve enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it. Jones’ style of writing is wonderful, not too scholarly, but to the point, not too focused on fiction and without making loads of assumptions. Exactly what I want from a history book.
The book starts at the time of Henry I, after he lost his heir on the White Ship, the war between Matilda and Stephen is mentioned, but without a lot of details, only to put the story in context. Of course, there are only 600+ pages to cover almost 300 years of tumultuous history, so it was expected. Henry II (Matilda’s son) was the first Plantagenet king, named so because his father, Geoffrey, would wear a common broom (planta genista) flower. The book ends with Richard II, as he considers that with Richard II the direct line of Plantagenets kings dies. Henry Bolingbroke, the one who will be Henry IV, was a Plantagenet too, even though he was not descendant from the first son. Regardless, the book is very interesting and I’m glad I’ve read it.
The Plantagenets by Dan Jones
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My rating: 5/5 Stars.
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: HarperPress
Year it was published: 2012
Genre(s): Non-fiction. History
About the author: Daniel Jones was born in 1981 and is an English historian, TV presenter, and writer. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he was taught by David Starkey.
Dan Jones’ first history book was Summer of Blood: The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, published in 2009. His second book, The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England, was published in 2012 in the United Kingdom. The following year was published in the United States, where it became a New York Times bestseller.
Jones’ next book was The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors, published in 2014. In this book it picks up where The Plantagenets ends, more or less. It covers the period from 1420 to 1541.
Other books by him, published at the time I’m writing this review:
Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter, published in 2014.
The Templars, The Rise and the Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors, was published in September 2017
The Colour of Time: A New History of the World, 1850-1960, published in 2018.
As a TV presenter, he is charismatic. He has narrated Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty, a four-part series based on The Plantagenets, a twelve-part series for Channel 5 entitled Secrets of Great British Castles. In June 2018 he presented a three-part series, for Channel 5, Building Britain’s Canals. I’ve seen the last two and I would recommend those too, very interesting indeed.
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