Henry the Young King, 1155-1183
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Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2017.
He was the son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, brother to the future Richard the Lionheart and “wicked” King John yet never King in his own right. Destined never to get the Roman Numeral after his name he was a co-ruler with his father, kept as a “gelding” which led to rebellion and he was to die, ingloriously, of dysentery in an awkward pause between one King and another. A slight life perhaps, but Matthew Strickland ensures that we know all about this young King in waiting throwing true historical perspective on a period many of us only recognise from the film The Lion in Winter. ~ Sue Baker
Like for Like Reading
Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England, Alison Weir
The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal: The Power behind Five English Thornes, Thomas Asbridge
Wolfson History Prize Judges: “A joy to read… Strickland has a remarkable eye for detail and fluently opens up a huge amount of new ground in uncovering an engrossing subject.”
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Henry the Young King, 1155-1183 by Matthew Strickland
This first modern study of Henry the Young King, eldest son of Henry II but the least known Plantagenet monarch, explores the brief but eventful life of the only English ruler after the Norman Conquest to be created co-ruler in his father's lifetime. Crowned at fifteen to secure an undisputed succession, Henry played a central role in the politics of Henry II's great empire and was hailed as the embodiment of chivalry. Yet, consistently denied direct rule, the Young King was provoked first into heading a major rebellion against his father, then to waging a bitter war against his brother Richard for control of Aquitaine, dying before reaching the age of thirty having never assumed actual power. In this remarkable history, Matthew Strickland provides a richly colored portrait of an all-but-forgotten royal figure tutored by Thomas Becket, trained in arms by the great knight William Marshal, and incited to rebellion by his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine, while using his career to explore the nature of kingship, succession, dynastic politics, and rebellion in twelfth-century England and France.
'In Matthew Strickland's study of King Henry, royal son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, we have not just the fascinating narrative of a flawed hero's turbulent life but also a brilliant analysis of the culture of politics at the Angevin court.' - John Gillingham, author of Richard I
'[Henry] was at the centre of European politics, as Matthew Strickland's excellent biography (the first book length study for nearly a century) demonstrates... Drawing his considerable expertise in the Angevin world and on close engagement with his source materia, Strickland paints a compelling portrait of the Young King as a flawed hero.' - Katherine Harvey, TLS
'Strickland's book is a marvellous act of recovery of a mostly forgotten life, and a recreation of a world veering between elaborate chivalry and uncompromising realpolitik... enriches our understanding of the Middle Ages, and to banish once and for all the notion that this was a time any less sophisticated, cultured - or more mindlessly violent - than our own.' - David Horspool, Spectator
'Strickland's deeply researched, richly textured work will be of enormous value to specialists, while general readers will also find much to enjoy in a commendably lucid and entertaining book.' - Thomas Asbridge, BBC History
'Prof. Strickland is too good and balanced a historian to be seduced by the glamour and poignancy of the Young King's story. The young man's faults are never ignored, they are simply contextualised and explained better than any previous author has done.' - David Crouch, Reviews in History
'Strickland rescues Henry from obscurity in this deeply researched biography ... [a] splendid piece of craftsmanship.' - L. W. Marvin, Choice
About the Author
Publication date10th June 2016
More books by Matthew Strickland
Author 'Like for Like'
PublisherYale University Press
CategoriesBiography: historical, political & military
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