(Review) A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain by Marc Morris
Publisher: Windmill Books
Genre: Nonfiction, British History, British Monarchy, Edward I
Rating: 5 stars for excellent
Link for more information at the publisher: A Great and Terrible King
At Amazon, there are two books available primarily on Edward I: A Great and Terrible King and Edward I (The Monarch Series) by Michael Prestwich.
Edward I, the son of Henry III, and Eleanor of Provence, was born in 1239. Edward succeeded the throne in 1272. His first wife was Eleanor of Castile, and they had possibly as many as 16 children. His second wife was Marguerite of France, and he fathered three children. Edward I died in 1307.
A Great and Terrible King begins in 1239, with Henry III and Eleanor, the parents of Edward I. She was a young girl when they married, no children followed for three years. Edward was their first child. Edward was a decisive man and king: he responded quickly to rebels in England, he went on a crusade in 1270, with a vengeance he took over authority of Wales, and he sought control over Scotland.
Several links for further reading on Edward I:
A Great and Terrible King has 29 illustrations, both black and white, and color.
A lengthy section for notes, bibliography, and the family tree. The lists are prime and secondary sources. From page 379 to 462 is the research information. The book itself ends on page 378. A brief preface in included, which begins the book by examining the mix-up of the kings named Edward.
Morris remarked there is sufficient historical documentation during the 1200s from monks. The National Archives holds this information.
Search results for Edward I @ The National Archives.
Even though there were places in the book where the reading was dry, I cannot help but give A Great and Terrible King 5 stars for excellent. The research is outstanding, and Marc Morris caught my interest from the first page until the last page (index).
When I read a historical biography, I ask: do I understand the person? Do I understand what their personality was like? Their victories and defeats? Do I see multiple sides of their personality? I knew little of Edward I when I began reading, now I feel a solid grasp of the man and king.
Lastly, I enjoyed reading about Edward and his marriage; however, I did not enjoy reading about his aggression against Wales and Scotland.