The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation

Front Cover
Random House, 2008 - Great Britain - 536 pages
26 Reviews
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.

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Review: The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation

User Review  - KJ - Goodreads

Ian Mortimer does a great job of bringing Edward III to life. It follows a wonderfully clear chronological order, he's constantly returning to his thesis and his writing is clear and succinct. Not ... Read full review

Review: The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation

User Review  - Nola - Goodreads

Another enjoyable biography by Roger Mortimer. As with other works, this was cleanly written, filed with facts but related essentially as a narrative. There are a few points I take issue with, but overall very well done. Read full review

About the author (2008)

Dr Ian Mortimer is the author of the bestselling Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England and Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, eight other books and many peer-reviewed articles on English history between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was awarded the Alexander Prize (2004) for his work on the social history of medicine in seventeenth-century England. In June 2011, the University of Exeter awarded him a higher doctorate (D.Litt.) by examination, on the strength of his historical work. He also writes historical fiction, published under his middle names (James Forrester). He lives with his wife and three children on the edge of Dartmoor, in Devon. For further information about him and a full bibliography, see his website: www.ianmortimer.com.

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