Stephen and Matilda: The Civil War of 1139-53
Stephen s reign was one of the darkest periods of English history. He had promised Henry I that he would support the king s daughter, Matilda, as the rightful heir to the English throne, but when Henry died in December, 1135, he broke his promise and quickly made himself king. Like man of the nobles, he was unwilling to yield the crown to a woman. Civil war and the battle for the English Crown dominated his reign, and this fascinating book examines the conflict between Stephen and his cousin. The campaigns, battles, and sieges of England s first civil war are explored, including the two major battles at the Standard and Lincoln, which show that Stephen always held more ground than his opponents and was mostly on the offensive. The two sides finally reached a compromise, after 14 years, with the Treaty of Wallingford Stephen would rule unopposed until his death, but the throne would then pass to Henry of Anjou, Matilda s son. Full of colorful characters, this is a fascinating story of rivalry for the English throne which throws new light on a neglected aspect of Stephen s reign"