Tuesday, May 01, 2018

The Magnificent Century

The Magnificent Century (The Plantagenets #2). Thomas B. Costain. 1951. 324 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: October 19, 1216. King John was dead.

Premise/plot: The Magnificent Century is the second volume in Thomas B. Costain's history of the Plantagenets. The first volume is The Conquering Family.

The first volume focused mainly on the royal family itself over several generations--centuries. The second volume has a much broader--yet narrower focus. (Narrower in that it just covers the reign of one king, Henry III. Broader in that it goes way beyond the royal family.) History. Religion. Science. Architecture. Politics. King vs. Parliament. Wars. Costain believes the thirteenth century to be a MAGNIFICENT century. In this volume, readers learn about Henry III and his family, the Marshal family, Hubert de Burgh, Simon de Montfort, and Roger Bacon.

My thoughts: I was less familiar with this time period. I was not equally interested in ALL the chapters. The chapters on war and civil war confused me a bit. I'm not sure if that's because war interests me less than other subjects of if Costain's narrative was unclear. Either is possible.

My absolute favorite chapter was probably "Queen's Men, King's Men, and the Villain of the Piece." Apparently there was a LOT of strife caused in England by the king's extended family. Namely Henry III's half brothers who came to England from France AND his in-laws. Henry's wife was unpopular, but his his wife's family was REALLY unpopular. Everyone WANTED something from Henry.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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