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  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407066424
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 560
Categories:

The Perfect King

The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation




King for 50 years (1327-77), Edward III - like Elizabeth and Victoria after him - embodied the values of his age. He re-made England and forged a nation out of war.

He ordered his uncle to be beheaded; he usurped his father's throne; he started a war which lasted for more than a hundred years, and taxed his people more than any other previous king. Yet for centuries Edward III was celebrated as the most brilliant king England had ever had, and three hundred years after his death it was said that his kingship was perhaps the greatest that the world had ever known.

In this first full study of the man's character and life, Ian Mortimer shows how Edward personally provided the impetus for much of the drama of his fifty-year reign. Edward overcame the tyranny of his guardians at the age of seventeen and then set about developing a new form of awe-inspiring chivalric kingship. Under him the feudal kingdom of England became a highly organised, sophisticated nation, capable of raising large revenues and deploying a new type of projectile-based warfare, and without question the most important military nation in Europe. Yet under his rule England also experienced its longest period of domestic peace in the middle ages, giving rise to a massive increase of the nation's wealth through the wool trade, with huge consequences for society, art and architecture. It is to Edward that we owe our system of parliamentary representation, our local justice system, our national flag and the English language as the 'tongue of the nation'.

Nineteenth century historians saw in Edward the opportunity to decry a warmonger, and painted him as a self-seeking, rapacious, tax-gathering conqueror. Yet as this book shows, beneath the strong warrior king was a compassionate, conscientious and often merciful man - resolute yet devoted to his wife, friends and family. He emerges as a strikingly modern figure, to whom many will be able to relate - the father of both the English nation and the English people.

  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407066424
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 560
Categories:

About the author

Ian Mortimer

Dr Ian Mortimer is the Sunday Times bestselling author of TheTime Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England and The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England, as well as four critically acclaimed medieval biographies, and numerous scholarly articles on subjects ranging in date from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1998. His work on the social history of medicine won the Alexander Prize (2004) and was published by the Royal Historical Society in 2009. He lives with his wife and three children in Moretonhampstead, on the edge of Dartmoor.

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Praise for The Perfect King

an excellent biography; entertaining as well as informative.

Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph

A fascinating portrait. At times, the reader seems almost able to reach across time and touch this man.

The Economist

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