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

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Jonathan Cape, Jan 1, 2006 - Anti-Nazi movement - 536 pages
5 Reviews
King for fifty years (1327--77), Edward III changed the face of England.
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.
In this first full study of the man, Ian Mortimer shows how Edward personally provided the impetus for much of the drama of his 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 organized, sophisticated nation, capable of raising large revenues 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 in the nation's wealth through the wool trade, with huge consequences for society, art and architecture. It is to Edward that England owes its system of parliamentary representation, local justice system and the English language as "the tongue of the nation."
As the King who re-made England and forged a nation out of war, Edward III emerges as the father of the English nation.

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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


Introduction I
A Treasonable Youth

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About the author (2006)

Ian Mortimer is the author of the bestselling The Time-Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. He holds BA, PhD and DLitt degrees from the University of Exeter and an MA in archive studies from UCL. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (by whom he was awarded the Alexander Prize in 2004), and has worked for the Historical Manuscripts Commission and the universities of Exeter and Reading. Among his other publications are a series of four interlinked historical biographies collectively covering English politics 1300-1415 and a revolutionary study of medicine in seventeenth-century England.

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