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William II (Penguin Monarchs): The Red King Kindle Edition
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Part of the Penguin Monarchs series- short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback.
William II (1087-1100), or William Rufus, will always be most famous for his death: killed by an arrow while out hunting, perhaps through accident or perhaps murder. But, as John Gillingham makes clear in this elegant book, as the son and successor to William the Conqueror it was William Rufus who had to establish permanent Norman rule. A ruthless, irascible man, he frequently argued acrimoniously with his older brother Robert over their father's inheritance - but he also handed out effective justice, leaving as his legacy one of the most extraordinary of all medieval buildings, Westminster Hall.
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
Lively writing, strong argument, brilliant overview of William Rufus (character and achievements)28 April 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
I have very mixed feelings about the Penguin Monarchs series overall. The idea of books of nearly identical length on every monarch is bizarre. According to the series plan, both Edward III and Edward V will be covered in around 100 pages each. In one case, the result will be surely be superficial while the other will require massive padding. However, John Gillingham's brief (98 pages of text) study of William Rufus works brilliantly. Given the relatively short reign (1087-1100) and shortage of sources, Gillingham is able to give what can be known about William as a king quite fair coverage. He does a superb job dealing with the biases of the contemporary chroniclers, and he spices up the book with some lively, colloquial translations of the original sources. Specialists in eleventh-century English history probably won't learn anything, but they aren't the audience for this book. It is written for and will be beneficial too students, teachers, and anyone who enjoys medieval history.
2 people found this helpful
Highly recomended.23 July 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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