Weakened by the loss of Normandy, King John faced insurrection by his disgruntled barons. With the assistance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, they drew up a list of their demands.
Dan Jones' vivid account of the vicissitudes of feudal power politics and the workings of 13th-century government is interwoven with an exploration of the lives of ordinary people: how and where they worked, what they wore, what they ate and what role the church played in their lives.
©2015 Dan Jones (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd
"Jones has a terrific eye for humanising stories and the telling detail...it is the snapshots of life as it was lived that make this book so engaging." (Daily Telegraph)
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"Half a book"
In the introduction to this book Dan Jones explains that this picture of everyday life in the reign of King John represents the material he couldn't work into his earlier book on Magna Carta. Plenty of other historians manage to combine major historical events with day to day detail but I plugged on at least partly as a result of a very favourable review in the Daily Telegraph of 12th November 2015 by Toby Clements and a very engaging slot on the 15th October 2015 BBC History Today podcast. Having listened to a Realm Divided; which clocks in at just over 5 hours and checked the unabridged running time of Magna Carta (3 hours and 21 minutes) I think he would have been better to combine them into one book of decent length. This has some nice details but it's too short to represent acceptable value and the structure's all over the place. It still reads like left over notes for another book. If you haven't listened Ian Mortimer's "Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England"; "England; Arise" by Juliet Barker; "King John" by Marc Morris or the mighty "Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman then give this a swerve and buy with one of those instead
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