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King Stephen Hardcover – Jan 18 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (Jan. 18 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300112238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300112238
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,528,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"King has written a masterpiece that reveals how a medieval political community can both consume and then reconstitute itself and offers readers a king emblematic of his truncated, troubled age."—J.P. Huffman, Choice
(J.P. Huffman Choice)

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the United Kingdom category.
(Choice Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2012-03-12)

About the Author

Edmund King is emeritus professor of medieval history, University of Sheffield. He lives in Sheffield, UK.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9efb8228) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ecbaf48) out of 5 stars I wanted to know more about King Stephan and now I know... Nov. 7 2012
By Brian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
King Stephan had always been a shadowy figure for me and Empress Matilda always seemed fascinating to me. While I knew a lot about Henry II and his amazing bride Eleanor and knew a great deal about their remarkable children I felt I was always coming into the middle of the story with out knowing about King Stephan and the "troubles". This book fills in that gap wonderfully really following King Stephan's rise his bloodless coup and his constant trouble fighting to hold on to his throne despite battlefield defeats and betrayal.

The books has some flaws though notably it drops the narrative thread far too often in the recounting Stephan's reign. True the book is about King Stephan but the story of the civil war is the story of his reign. Some examples when Matilda leaves England she just disappears from the story her fate never resolved. Henry II is left at the end of one chapter facing possible destruction at the hands of his enemies and at the start of the next chapter is in England negotiating with King Stephan from a position of strength. The events that lead to to development could have been summarized in a paragraph or two at most but just aren't mentioned at all. The "revolt of the fens" by Geoffrey of Mandeville is colorfully told and the events are exciting but in mid story they are just dropped. We are told later in a throw away line that Geoffrey died and was not given a Christian burial. How and the why of his death are not explained.

However despite the narrative lapses and the somewhat annoying habits of referring to medieval institution in modern terms like the "press", "protection money" and "managerial disputes" the book is a very informative look at Stephan his family, his court and his remarkable rises and falls into and from power. The book did exactly what I wanted it to do for me it informed me wonderfully about who this King Stephan was and exactly how his reign became known as the "troubles".
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ef1b1b0) out of 5 stars One of the best sources for King Stephen Feb. 13 2013
By Rodney M Bond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is highly chronological. The events are given with plenty of background information. The book provides plenty of personal insights into the life of King Stephen.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ef1b174) out of 5 stars Need it for research May 27 2014
By K. Fair - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second biography I own of King Stephen--the other was written almost 50 years before. I needed as much information as possible about Stephen's family for some research I am doing. This was very helpful.
HASH(0x9ef1b468) out of 5 stars King Stephen April 28 2016
By Mollie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good historical perspective. I'm happy to have added this book to my collection of the English Monarchs Series. Thank you.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ef1b4c8) out of 5 stars The Troubles of King Stephen of England Nov. 14 2014
By Brian Wayne Wells - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
King Stephen followed King Henry I to the throne of England in 1135 in the common era (C.E.) and was one of the kings of England that was forced to fight with the nobles of England his most reign. King Henry I had successfully placated many of the nobles in England during his reign by giving them land and titles. King Stephen, the nephew of Henry I, attempted the same thing much more aggressively and on a wider scale. However, rather than developing loyalty among the nobles by these acts, the nobility under Stephen became more jealous and avaricious of the land and titles given to others. This jealousness drove the nobility into rebellion against Stephen for most of his 19 year reign on the throne of England.

At this time the Englisn throne controlled a great deal of territory on the continent of Europe, in what is now France. Thus, the throne of France was often in conflict with the English throne over the English controlled territory on the continent as France attempted to unite into one kingdom. Accordingly, the student of history during this time can expect that the French throne would regularly interfere in the affairs of England and cause as much mischief as possible for the contemporary holder of the English throne. This was certainly true during the reign of King Stephen as the French Kings (generally Louis VI and Louis VII during the reign of Stephen) sided with the nobles and magnates of England as they revolted against Stephen. To the degree that this becomes a war between French soldiers and English soldiers during Stephen's reign, this conflict becomes part of what some historians have dubbed "the first of three different Hundred Year Wars" between France and England. Not to be confused with the more well-known Hundred Years War which lasted from 1337-1453 C.E. (really the Second Hundred Years War), this First Hundred Years War lasted from 1108-1226 C.E. (The third Hundred Years War is defined as that series of the Louis XIV and Napoleonic Wars of 1688 through 1815 C.E., taken as a whole.)

Edmund King's writing style in King Stephen bears a resemblance to the other books in the Yale English Monarch series, such that all the books in the Yale Monarch series seem to speak with the same voice. I enjoy this aspect of uniformity within the the Yale Monarch series.