I have been doing quite a bit of reading since the last time I shared my thoughts with you. I'll start with one of the best books I have read lately: The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens who Made England by Dan Jones is a great addition to any British historian's library. I have been trying to expand my general knowledge about high medieval England and this book gave great insights into the rise of the Plantagenet family including the root of their name, family trees and vignettes that gave you very detailed looks into the life of these spectacular rulers. It is a great survey book of the Plantagenet reign. That being said, it would have been nice if the author had included some social history. After all, he claims, the Plantagenets 'made England' but failed to show how their actions affected every day common English people. As far as gender emphasis is concerned, Jones was careful to weigh in on how women impacted the rise of the English nation state including Eleanor of Aquitaine and Matilda, some of the most fascinating, powerful females in English history.
The book covered nearly 400 years of history and so was understandably sparse in some areas, but I had a bit of a problem with the author ending his narrative with the deposition of Richard II when in fact that Plantagenet line continued until the brutal death of Richard III as Bosworth and the rise of the Tudors.
In addition to being incredibly informational, the book was very well written. It engaged the reader the entire length of the narrative and was well cited. The books mixes hard facts with engaging stories and makes for a fun, rather quick read. I suggest grabbing this affordable volume from your local book store today!