Friday, April 21, 2017

A Great and Terrible King by Marc Norris

A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain by Marc Morris -462 pages

Edward I (b. 1239) is probably best known today as the villainous "Longshanks" in the movie Braveheart. He actually had a long and complex life, and it was only at the end of his reign that he made serious miscalculations in his approach to Scotland. It is true Edward was an aggressive king who clashed with his own lords and parliaments to consolidate power following the comparative weakness of his father. His temperament was also influenced by a civil war against his uncle as a young man, and continuous rebellions in Wales. He was also a crusader and a skilled diplomat, but underestimated the Scots' opposition to an English king. Tragically, England and Scotland had friendly relations until Edward's plan to unite the two kingdoms. The result of his final campaigns in the north ensured hostility that lasted for centuries.

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