The Restless Kings: Henry II, His Sons and the Wars for the Plantagenet Crown

The Restless Kings: Henry II, His Sons and the Wars for the Plantagenet Crown

by Nick Barratt


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"A vivid and humane study of the Plantagenets' diabolical and devious first family - a real joy to read."—Dan Jones, author of The War of the Roses

In The Restless Kings Nick Barratt presents the tumultuous struggle for supremacy between the first Plantagenet king, Henry II, and his four sons - a drama that tore apart the most powerful family in western Europe and shaped the future of two nations. Through force of arms, Henry II won an empire which was then lost by his son John.

Although the key events took place over 800 years ago, their significance still resonates today. The root causes of Brexit can be found in King John’s retreat from Europe, isolating himself in England, and the seeds of the current tensions in the Middle East were sown by Richard the Lionheart’s Crusade against the infidels in the Holy Land.

We also learn about some of the most powerful women of the medieval period, formidable and canny politicians in their own right who outlived their spouses and children.

The Restless Kings will challenge everything you assumed you knew about the medieval world. Above all, it brings to life some of the most remarkable, complex, flawed and brilliant monarchs ever to have sat on the English throne.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780571329106
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication date: 01/15/2019
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 209,607
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Professor Nick Barratt is an author, broadcaster, and historian. He is an honorary associate professor of public history at the University of Nottingham, and Associate Director, Collections and Engagement, at the University of London’s Senate House Library as well as a teaching fellow at the University of Dundee. His most recent publication, The Forgotten Spy, tells the story of his great uncle – Stalin’s first mole in Whitehall. He has previously written on subjects as diverse as the story of Greater London and the Titanic.

Read an Excerpt

There was an eagle painted, and four young ones of the eagle perched upon it, tearing at the parent with talons and beaks. When some of the King’s close friends asked him the meaning of the picture, he said, 'The four young ones of the eagle are my four sons, who will not cease persecuting me even unto death. And the youngest, whom I now embrace with such tender affection, will someday afflict me more grievously and more perilously than all the others.

Table of Contents

The Angevin and Capetian dynasties viii

Territories ruled by Henry II and his family xi

List of illustrations xiii

Preface xv

Introduction 1

1 The rise of the Angevins 17

2 The struggle for authority 59

3 A family at war 116

4 The loss of Normandy 179

5 The road to Runnymede 233

Further reading 297

Index 299

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