Henry II was an enigma to contemporaries, and has excited widely divergent judgments ever since. Dramatic incidents of his reign, such as his quarrel with Archbishop Becket and his troubled relations with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his sons, have attracted the attention of historical novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers, but with no unanimity of interpretation. That he was a great king there can be no doubt. Yet his motives and intentions are not easy to divine, and it is Professor Warren's contention that concentration on the great crises of the reign can lead to distortion. This book is therefore a comprehensive reappraisal of the reign based, with rare understanding, on contemporary sources; it provides a coherent and persuasive revaluation of the man and the king, and is, in itself an eloquent and impressive achievement.
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