KING JOHN AND THE ROAD TO MAGNA CARTA


KING JOHN AND THE ROAD TO MAGNA CARTA

STEPHEN CHURCH    Book Number: 86156    Product format: Hardback

Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia, Church reveals how a king famous for his misrule gave rise to Magna Carta, the blueprint for good governance. King John (1166-1216) has long been seen as the epitome of a bad king. The son of the most charismatic couple of the Middle Ages, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the younger brother of the heroic crusader Richard the Lionheart, John lived much of his life in the shadow of his family. When in 1199 he became ruler of his family's lands in England and France, he proved unequal to the task of holding them. Early in this reign, John lost much of his continental possessions and over the next decade would become perilously close to losing his English kingdom too. The respected Medieval historian Stephen Church argues that John's reign for all its failings was a crucial turning point in English history. Although he was a masterful political manipulator, John's traditional ideals of unchecked sovereign power became increasingly unpopular among his subjects, resulting in frequent confrontations. Nor was he willing to tolerate other challenges to his authority. For six long years John and the Pope struggled over the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury, a clash that led to the King's excommunication. During his reign John taxed his subjects heavily to fund his futile attempt to reconquer the lands lost to the King of France. The cost to his people of this failure was great, but greater still for John. In 1215 his subjects rose in rebellion and forced upon him a new constitution. The principles underlying this constitution, enshrined in the terms of Magna Carta, would go on to shape democratic constitutions across the globe. Indeed this has been the cornerstone of democracy. From his failed conquest of Ireland to his loss of the French lands he had inherited, to his long political and spiritual war against the Pope, this great story is told with real skill and dynamism. Four maps, family tree and photograph of King John's effigy at Worcester. 2015 US first edition, 300pp.
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ISBN 9780465092994
Browse these categories as well: History, Historical Biography, First Editions

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