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Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England, and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her first book, Blood & Roses, was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2005 and won the English Association's Beatrice White Prize in 2006. Her second, She Wolves, was made into a major BBC2 TV series. She lives in London with her husband and son.
Acclaimed historian Helen Castor brings us afresh a gripping life of Joan of Arc. Instead of the icon, she gives us a living, breathing young woman; a roaring girl fighting the English, and taking sides in a bloody civil war that was tearing fifteenth century France apart. Here is a portrait of a 19-year-old peasant who hears voices from God; a teenager transformed into a warrior leading an army to victory, in an age that believed women should not fight. And it is also the story behind the myth we all know, a myth which began to take hold at her trial: that of the Maid of Orleans, the saviour of France, a young woman burned at the stake as a heretic, a woman who five hundred years later would be declared a saint. Joan and her world are brought vividly to life in this refreshing new take on the medieval world. Helen Castor brings us to the heart of the action, to a woman and a country in turmoil, a world where no-one - not Joan herself, nor the people around her, princes, bishops, soldiers or peasants - knew what would happen next.
Part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers in a collectible format In the popular imagination, as in her portraits, Elizabeth I is the image of monarchical power. The Virgin Queen ruled over a Golden Age: the Spanish Armada was defeated; English explorers reached the ends of the earth; a new Church of England rose from the ashes of past conflict; the English Renaissance bloomed in the genius of Shakespeare, Spenser and Sidney. But the image is also armour. In this illuminating new account of Elizabeth's reign, Helen Castor shows how England's iconic queen was shaped by profound and enduring insecurity-an insecurity which was both a matter of practical political reality and personal psychology. From her precarious upbringing at the whim of a brutal, capricious father and her perilous accession after his death, to the religious division that marred her state and the failure to marry that threatened her line, Elizabeth lived under constant threat. But, facing down her enemies with a compellingly inscrutable public persona, the last and greatest of the Tudor monarchs would become a timeless, fearless queen.
The story of one of the most remarkable women of the medieval world, as you have never read it before A French peasant girl who heard voices from God, Joan convinced the royal court of her divine calling and became a teenage warrior, leading an army to victory against the English. Eventually captured and put on trial, she was denounced as a heretic and burned at the stake at the age of just nineteen. Five hundred years later, she was recognised as a saint. Here, Joan and her world are brought vividly to life by acclaimed historian Helen Castor, taking us to the heart of a tumultuous and bloody moment in the fifteenth century and the short by astonishing life of an extraordinary woman.
In medieval England, man was the ruler of woman, and the King was the ruler of all. How, then, could royal power lie in female hands? In She-Wolves, celebrated historian, Helen Castor, tells the dramatic and fascinating stories of four exceptional women who, while never reigning queens, held great power: Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France and Margaret of Anjou. These were women who paved the way for Jane Grey, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I - the Tudor queens who finally confronted what it meant to be a female monarch.
The Wars of the Roses turned England upside down. Between 1455 and 1485 four kings, including Richard III, lost their thrones, more than forty noblemen lost their lives on the battlefield or their heads on the block, and thousands of the men who followed them met violent deaths. As they made their way in a disintegrating world, the Paston family in Norfolk family were writing letters - about politics, about business, about shopping, about love and about each other, including the first valentine. Using these letters - the oldest surviving family correspondence in English - Helen Castor traces the extraordinary history of the Paston family across three generations. Blood & Roses tells the dramatic, moving and intensely human story of how one family survived one of the most tempestuous periods in English history.
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