Henry IV

by Chris Given-Wilson

Part of the The English Monarchs Series Series

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month History The Real World

LoveReading View on Henry IV

Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2017.

Not one of the famous Henrys, not a “V” or an VIII”, but a modest “IV”, more unfamiliar to us general readers and thus more interesting, there are new things to learn about our history. Chris Given-Wilson doesn’t disappoint, his history, with much newly revealed archival material proving a major bonus, challenges our received views. ~ Sue Baker

Like for Like Reading
The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England’s Self-Made King, Ian Mortimer
The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England: Handbook for Visitors, Ian Mortimer

Wolfson History Prize Judges: “Excellent… clear, crisp, and full of nuance, this will be the standard account of Henry IV for years to come.”

Sue Baker

Henry IV Synopsis

Henry IV (1399-1413), the son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, seized the English throne at the age of thirty-two from his cousin Richard II and held it until his death, aged forty-five, when he was succeeded by his son, Henry V. This comprehensive and nuanced biography restores to his rightful place a king often overlooked in favor of his illustrious progeny. Henry faced the usual problems of usurpers: foreign wars, rebellions, and plots, as well as the ambitions and demands of the Lancastrian retainers who had helped him win the throne. By 1406 his rule was broadly established, and although he became ill shortly after this and never fully recovered, he retained ultimate power until his death. Using a wide variety of previously untapped archival materials, Chris Given-Wilson reveals a cultured, extravagant, and skeptical monarch who crushed opposition ruthlessly but never quite succeeded in satisfying the expectations of his own supporters.

Henry IV Press Reviews

'This scholarly and readable contributor to Yale's English Monarchs series fills an important gap... an impressive achievement, a considered and well-rounded account in which youth and old age get their proper share of attention and the darker periods are lit up by the skilful use of published and unpublished records.' - Jonathan Sumption, Literary Review

'Given-Wilson's very substantial biography brings Henry IV out of the shadows. It is as good a study of an English king as one could desire: deeply researched, admirably comprehensive, well considered and competently told. Without neglecting the details the story requires, the narrative never falters, and the pace is compelling throughout.' - Nicholas Orme, Church Times

'In a fine-grained account laced with deep scholarship and lucid historical insight, Given-Wilson shows not only the drama of Richard's fall, complete with greyhounds and golden robes, but the domino-effect destabilization caused by Henry's pivotal dilemma.' - Helen Castor, TLS

'In this magnificent new study, Chris Given-Wilson gives us an account of Henry IV's life rooted in the fullest possible trawl through the sources.' - Nigel Saul, History Today

'[A] clearly written, vivid account ... A splendid addition to Yale's 'English Monarchs
series' - A. C. Reeves, Choice

If you loved this, you might like these...

Travellers in the Third Reich
Our Uninvited Guests
Heretics and Believers A History of the English Reformation
Hearts And Minds The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780300154191
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Publisher: Yale University Press
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780300154191
Publication date: 2nd February 2016
Author: Chris Given-Wilson
Publisher: Yale University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 608 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, History, The Real World,
Categories: Biography: historical, political & military,

About Chris Given-Wilson

Chris Given-Wilson is emeritus professor of medieval history, University of St. Andrews, and author of nine books on medieval history. He lives in Fife, UK.

More About Chris Given-Wilson

Share this book