A renowned scholar brings to life medieval England’s most celebrated knight, William Marshal—providing an unprecedented and intimate view of this age and the legendary warrior class that shaped it.
Caught on the wrong side of an English civil war and condemned by his father to the gallows at age five, William Marshal defied all odds to become one of England’s most celebrated knights. Thomas Asbridge’s rousing narrative chronicles William’s rise, using his life as a prism to view the origins, experiences, and influence of the knight in British history.
In William’s day, the brutish realities of war and politics collided with romanticized myths about an Arthurian “golden age,” giving rise to a new chivalric ideal. Asbridge details the training rituals, weaponry, and battle tactics of knighthood, and explores the codes of chivalry and courtliness that shaped their daily lives. These skills were essential to survive one of the most turbulent periods in English history—an era of striking transformation, as the West emerged from the Dark Ages.
A leading retainer of five English kings, Marshal served the great figures of this age, from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Richard the Lionheart and his infamous brother John, and was involved in some of the most critical phases of medieval history, from the Magna Carta to the survival of the Angevin/Plantagenet dynasty. Asbridge introduces this storied knight to modern readers and places him firmly in the context of the majesty, passion, and bloody intrigue of the Middle Ages.
The Greatest Knight features 16 pages of black-and-white and color illustrations.
|Product dimensions:||7.90(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Thomas Asbridge is Reader in Medieval History at Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of 'The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones' (2014), 'The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land' (2010) and 'The First Crusade: A New History' (2004). He studied for a BA in Ancient and Medieval History at Cardiff University, and then gained his PhD in Medieval History at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Thomas wrote and presented a BBC documentary, 'The Greatest Knight: William Marshal', and a landmark three-part documentary series 'The Crusades' for the BBC, filmed on location across the Near East and Europe. He has also appeared in many other internationally broadcast television documentaries and radio programs, and has worked as a historical consultant for HBO and Company Pictures. He now lives in southern England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
couldn't put it down.
One of the best history books that I have ever read! I don't want to give away any of the story, as it is a book worth reading not only by connoisseurs of English history, medievalist's and the like, but also by those who enjoy a good action-packed adventure. It is always a pleasure to read something which gives off the idea that the author was not only interested in his subject but also had a great time working on his book. The historical material on which this book is based was a brilliant find! Starting with the preface which deals with the discovery of the original manuscript of William Marshall's life one is already aware that this is not a purely scholarly work meant for the chosen few of the world's great scholastic institutions. Mr. Asbridge has a very easy and engaging style which lends itself beautifully to telling the life story of a man who seemed to be a no-nonsense kind of man. The material provided is a fantastically engaging overview of the world inhabited by William Marshall and the five kings he served. Apart from the historical detail and explanation of the complicated royal politics there was moments of great levity, as well as soul-searching drama. All in all a great read!