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

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Random House, Mar 30, 2010 - History - 560 pages
5 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. Under him the feudal kingdom of England became a highly organised nation and experienced its longest period of domestic peace in the middle ages.

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - literarytech - LibraryThing

Brilliant. Well written. Mortimer has a gift for depicting battle scenes with rich context and excitement. His research concerning Edward II and the implications to our understanding of his son, Edward III provide both interest and enlightenment. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - zen_923 - LibraryThing

Well-written and very informative. However, the author's attempt to defend his theory that Edward II was not yet dead when Edward III became king was a bit distracting. I also don't like how he would ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

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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