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William Marshal: Knighthood, War and Chivalry, 1147-1219

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Ruthless opportunist, astute courtier, manipulative politician and brutal, efficient soldier: this is William Marshal as portrayed by David Crouch in his widely acclaimed biography of 'the Marshal'. With the new translation of the contemporary epic poem, Histoire de Giuillaume de Mareschal, and newly discovered documents, David Crouch has substantitvely re-worked and expan ...more
Hardcover, Second Edition, 248 pages
Published November 2002 by Longman (first published 1990)
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Feb 19, 2011 Cecily rated it really liked it
This is a scholary book on William Marshal and was one of the sources used by Elizabeth Chadwick
for her historical novel "The Greatest Knight" about William Marshal. Marshal was a 12th century
rag-to-riches hero. The unlanded 4th son of a minor knight, he became a tournament star, a member
of the court of Henri II and Eleanor of Acquitaine, the Earl of Pembroke by his marriage to the heiress to the title, and finally one of the Regents of King John's son, Henri 11I. Chadwicks novel is the
more int
Jan 05, 2016 Alayne rated it liked it
After reading Elizabeth Chadwick's fictionalised account of William Marshall's life, I read this with an expectation of finding out more about him. I was mostly disappointed as it basically rehashed the "History" that was written less than a decade after he died, which Elizabeth Chadwick used to much greater effect. David Crouch also admitted that he didn't like the Knight in his intro, and made snide remarks about his motivations for actions he took, which I took exception to in a supposedly ob ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Joshua rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
This is an excellent and concise biography of William Marshal. Marshall was a young knight of little means that through political maneuvering, prowess at tournaments, and astute battlefield command found himself advancing upward in English aristocracy until he served as the King's Regent in England c. 1218-1219 before his sudden death. Much of what we know about Marshal comes from the thirteenth-century HISTORY that records his life and accomplishments. Crouch relies extensively on this HISTORY ...more
Apr 27, 2015 Darcey rated it it was ok
Remarkably short, and not particularly impressive for its content:cost ratio.
May 14, 2016 Helen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Excellent and detailed biography.
Feb 07, 2012 Sabina rated it really liked it
A significant work on the life and times of William Marshal, as well as a study of it's main source, L'Histoire de Guillaume de Marechal, presented in an accessible and readable style. The book is packed with facts and detailed information, much more than the number of pages would suggest, as well as an excellent bibliography and copious amounts of notes. I would have liked more illustrations, but that is a minor quibble. Well-written and evidencing sterling research, this is a serious work of m ...more
Aug 17, 2008 Jodi rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I was tempted to give this a five star rating because of Crouch's ability to convey humor based in medieval happenings. Academicians generally feel too constrained by the unspoken rules of their community to make the offhand, clever observations that Crouch does over and over. Add this to the inherently interesting character of Marshall and the high Middle Ages, and you've got one of the best "authoritative" books about the late 12th and early 13th century history of England and Normandy.
Sep 06, 2015 John rated it really liked it
This a scholarly book which was refreshing after some of the more popular medieval biographies I've read lately. However there's little about the Marshall's relationships with his wife and children which would have rounded out his character in a more satisfying way.
Dean Irwin
Jan 13, 2013 Dean Irwin rated it liked it
This was a good biography of William Marshal but it would have been better if the narrative and the analysis had been merged as a pose to being tackled serperatly - overall a very good read though.
Jun 06, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
A delightful biography of the greatest non-fictional knight from the High Middle Ages. Eminently readable.
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David Crouch (born 1953) is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Hull.
More about David Crouch...

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