©1983 Thomas B. Costain; (P)2009 Books on Tape
Well, it wasn't "the best of times," but it WAS pretty close to the "worst of times." This book brings it all alive. It doesn't pull punches much, a lot of terrible things were being done. When people say how bad things are getting now and the awful things they do, I know they don't know history. Some of these "heroes" did things that would have curled Genghis Khan's hair. Then he would have gone right out and done them first chance he got. Sometimes people were brutalized by their times, but that's a reason, not an excuse. After a while I'm pretty sure they had slipped a cog.
It is history, no getting around that, and it is well told here, and with just the right amount of discretion. The narrator was an excellent choice, his voice is rich and knowledgeable.
author of "Diary of a Ghost"
This is a witty but measured narration of a complicated time in British History. Edward the First is represented as a great ruler BUT his failures and cruelties over treason, the Scots and other aspects of the other not so nice part of the middle ages. Chivalry is represented as the true absurdity and hypocrisy it was, Costain emphasizes the growth of the common man despite a royal family convinced of their greatness. Even Edward the second and the she-wolf of France, Isabella are treated with equanimity. Phillip the UNfair as Costain calls him, and the Templar's don't come off so well, but it does seem appropriate.
I cannot say enough good about this series, and I do recommend the whole thing. The fact that this history was written in the fties and early sixties shouldn't dissuade a lover of British history. I was worried since they were written before my birth,but I adore British history and shouldn't have worried.It's written in a modern language and a wit that
few writers or historians of any time ever achieve. Costain doesn't overlook the ridiculous or the incredible falsity of myth. It is not the story of only royalty but of people and a age. It has the cadence of that rare professor one would rather listen to than take notes. The narrator has perfect inflection to the words written. It is a true combination of talented equals. I knew of Thomas Costain's fiction but not his non-fiction. They are a much loved part of my mother's library, sadly I think that he may have been out of print of years, these works must be the last of his life. Truly a commandment to a life well-lived. My thanks to Audible for putting this out and choosing the best narration of a book I've ever heard and I am an audio addict.
I've read all the series of Costain's English Histories, from the Conquering Family to the Last of the Plantagenets, and done so many times. This is the first book of his I've heard read. David Case was/is the perfect choice for Costain. He understands Costain's clever flow of writing and brings to life the beauty of all of these works by a great, great artist. I don't think there will ever be better writing of this type and Audible really found the right person to read it. Love it! Will listen to them all.
The writing style and interpretation.
Mike in TN
This is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to and in fact may be the best of the Costain series on the Plantagenets of England.
Artist/Sculptor, Art Historian, Humanities Tutor and Life Coach forPersons with Developmental Disabilities. Former Marine and Avid History, Sci-Fi and Fantasy reader. Nil Desperandum Auspice Fatum!
Of all Histories I've listened to I found this very engaging and easy to comprehend and retain.
When compared to The Hundred Years War, Volume 1 (Unabridged), Part 1 and 2; while a meticulously researched Military History, it fails to give you the deeper glimpse into the Mind of the Regents and Barons etc... in the way that The Three Edwards' History of this era does; through Costain's mastery of personal detail and description.
I have yet to listen to Thomas B. Costain's other works.
I pulled an all-nighter listening to this book and even started into it again this very evening.
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