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The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  16,326 ratings  ·  1,568 reviews
The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic history, Dan Jones vividly resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world.

We meet the captivating Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; h
Hardcover, 534 pages
Published April 18th 2013 by Viking (first published May 10th 2012)
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RJay All of Sharon Kay Penman's books (historical fiction) are fabulous. She sticks to the facts and doesn't make stuff up - all she adds is dialogue and e…moreAll of Sharon Kay Penman's books (historical fiction) are fabulous. She sticks to the facts and doesn't make stuff up - all she adds is dialogue and emotion.

I agree that this Dan Jone's history book is much easier to read than many others by historians like Thomas Contain and Richard Barber. Another historian you might try is Ian Mortimer, particularly The Greatest Traitor about Roger Mortimer, who will Queen Isabella deposed Edward II.(less)
Raeanne He has written other books which take place chronologically. War of the Roses is after this one.
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Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
”A king who fights to defend his right has a better claim on his inheritance. Struggle and largesse allow a king to gain glory and territory.” --Bertran de Born

 photo 93a83671-a140-4230-864d-fa871fe436fe_zpsis9y9rce.png
Empress Matilda

It all begins with a shipwreck.

200 of the most beautiful and powerful men and women of England and Normandy board The White Ship to travel from Normandy to England. They are exuberantly drunk, and the crew of the ship is also three sheets to the wind. Out of all of these important people, there is one who is head and s
Full disclosure—I undoubtedly read this book too soon after finishing The Tudors. While the overlapping content is minimal, and the authors differ somewhat stylistically, both books are broad sweeping histories featuring lots of kings and queens (many of whom shared the same names). Given that this was my first time encountering much of this material since high school, characters and events inevitably began to blur together. So, my take on Dan Jones and The Plantagenets: ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Richard [the Lionheart] was used to being in the line of fire. From Jaffa to Gaillon, he had stood before hostile forces, trusting in his training, his instinctive feel for the battlefield, and the professionalism of the men around him. He had led men from the front many times before and dodged countless arrows and bolts. He lived for the thrill of battle and took deep pleasure in the noble pursuit of combat. Pathetic as his enemy was here, Richard was filled with admiration for the makeshift c ...more
Diane S ☔
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A drunken outing, a ship sinks and a future kiing is dead leaving the country without a clear successor. The result? Twenty years of Civil War. This is how this well written well researched book begins. It then takes us through 250 years of Plntagenet rule. The good, not too much of that, the bad, alot of that, and the ugly. So glad I did not live in the Middle ages. I knew quite a bit of this history going in, but I have always had a fascination with Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen twice, the mothe ...more
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
It began with a ship wreck. The year is 1120. The vessel in question is the White Ship, leaving France for England, setting sail in the dark on a late November night. All on board were in a party mood, including, according to some accounts, the crew. The wine and ale has been flowing with liberality. No sooner had the vessel left harbour than it hit a submerged rock. All but one of the passengers and crew died.

Norman England might be said to have died that night also; for the drowned included
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, overdrive
I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it, which is surprising since my eyes usually glaze over at any hint of English history. There were dry parts but mostly the author's writing style is more casual and he really seems to be enjoying his topic and that made me more interested. I listened to the audiobook so I didn't get to see any bibliography or footnotes. That was unfortunate since there were lots of people and subjects on which I would like to have more information. I will just ...more
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-english
In writing this volume, Mr. Jones has done an excellent job of recounting the events that both led to the House of Plantagenet and the events that occurred in the approximately 250 years that they ruled England. He has a very reader friendly writing style and this book is written for a general audience. He does not footnote, but has a fairly extensive bibliography/recommended reading list following the text.

Mr. Jones starts out with the sinking of the White Ship and the resulting death of Henry
Sean Barrs
I have been reading this book for over three years. It covers a huge amount of English history, far too much to fairly condense into a review. I read it in conjunction with Shakespeare’s history plays, and I found those particular monarchs more interesting as a result. The knowledge of the actual events surrounding these characters really helped me when approaching the plays. It’s really interesting to see how Shakespeare presented these events, changing people and merging figures together accor ...more
Sep 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
“The office of kingship was utterly transformed.”

THE PLANTAGENETS, THE WARRIOR KINGS AND QUEENS WHO MADE ENGLAND is a marvelous read. Full of intrigue, drama, and human emotion it is a pretty darn good overview of the 245 years of the Plantagenet dynasty and the politics of medieval Europe.

Author Dan Jones writes in an accessible, yet still scholarly, manner and his love and obvious affectionate interaction with the historical period comes across in the writing. The text is chronological in its
Leanda Lisle
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It has been a week of competitive reading in the de Lisle household. Bed time, back to back: he reading George RR Martin’s hugely popular Game of Thrones fantasy series; me reading Dan Jones’s The Plantagenets. We both read into the night. But I was the one unable to stop myself reading passages out loud.

Jones covers an enormous amount of ground: eight generations of Kings and Queens from 1120 to 1399. The risk with a long dynastic history is that it becomes just one damn thing after another, a
Sarah u
The Plantagenets By Dan Jones tells the story of the first eight Plantagenet monarchs that ruled England between 1154 and 1399, beginning with Henry I and ending at the fall of Richard II. Each monarch in turn has his story told; which wars he fought in, the land he gained and lost, who he married and who his children were.

In his prologue, Jones tells us his intention with The Plantagenets is to tell the story in an entertaining way. In this I think he is successful. I liked some of the writing,
Dan Jones has done something with this book that is not usually achieved. He has taken almost three centuries of history and made them accessible and understandable to the non-historian. His style of narrative nonfiction was at times as captivating as any novel with brilliant analysis of what drove people to the roles that they played.

Beginning with the loss of the White Ship in 1120, Jones details the rise of the Plantagenets to power through Matilda, daughter of Henry I. Covering the war for s
It's often been observed that Americans have a fascination with royalty and many are prone to fawning over the royals from the mother country more than their own subjects do. Probably modern British citizens have become jaded and cynical about their living relics in Buckingham, while we Yanks still find the idea of an "absolute ruler" by birthright foreign and exotic. (And let's be honest, lots of Americans would probably be happy to live under a monarchy if they thought the monarch shared their ...more
"Fair cousin, since it pleases you, it pleases us well," said Richard. Then he formally surrendered himself to his cousin. He and Salisbury were given two very poor horses to ride, and they set out with Bolingbroke, under armed guard, for Chester. The castle was no longer the military stronghold of a paranoid king but his prison.

The Plantagenets is a wonderful narrative history, one which paints vividly the longest dynasty in English annals 1154-1399. The book opens with the maritime disaster wh
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, nonfiction
It's no secret that George R. R. Martin based much of his world's politicking on the Plantagenet period.
What I learned from this book: the Plantagenets were so batshit crazy that they make the situations in Game of Thrones (ASoIaF) look comparatively mundane.

To start with, I had no idea that Robin Hood painted such an accurate portrait of John "Lack-land" "Soft-sword". He really did start penalizing poaching on forest lands to procure additional money, and actually did try to usurp Richard's thr
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winter, history, royalty
...he was susceptible to taking the wrong advice from the wrong people at the wrong time.

Spot-on description of Henry III. These occasional sentences from author Dan Jones made this book a lively read, although given the subject matter, any re-telling of the illustrious Plantagenet family would probably not be on the boring side.

And let me plant my flag right now: I am a Plantagenet-ista. Loved this dynasty, from Henry II to Richard III. Not the selfish Tudors or the Teutonic Hanovers or the wil
Dana Stabenow
Henry II to Richard II, 250 years' worth of Plantagenet kings in 500 plus pages. Written briskly and with humor, the narrative hits all the highlights of this era in British history without missing the low points, of which there were plenty, and debunking myths along the way. Henry II hid out in Ireland for a year to let things cool off after his knights killed Thomas Becket, before appearing in Canterbury to collapse sobbing on Becket's tomb.

He spent the rest of the day and also the whole of th
Diana | Book of Secrets
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I grabbed this book from the library because I wanted a crash course in Plantagenet history. The Plantagenets ruled England for over 300 years, beginning with Henry II in 1154, and this book covers most of that time. Henry II's mother was Empress Matilda, the granddaughter of William the Conqueror. I thought it was interesting that the family name came from Henry II's father Geoffrey, who liked to wear the yellow Planta Genista blossoms in his hair, leading to the nickname Geoffrey Plantagenet.

Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction

Dan Jones tells the story of the first 8 Plantagenet monarchs that ruled England between 1154 and 1399, beginning with Henry I and ending at the fall of Richard II. Each monarch in turn has his story told; which wars he fought in, the land he gained and lost, who he married and who his children were. Throughout the book it became apparent in the tone of the author’s writing that there were monarchs he disliked and liked. In fighting, jealousy, resentment and hunger for more we
Lyn (Readinghearts)
I am a self proclaimed history geek. Although my first love was, and always will be, Historical Fiction, over the years I have developed an intense love affair with many well written History books of the non-fiction variety. I have said many time, on here no less, that a good Historical Fiction book should peak my interest and make me seek out factual books on the given subject to fill in the gaps and give me the "true" picture. As a result, I am always excited when I found one of the said Histo ...more
Kevin Lopez (on semi-sabbatical)
Two-hundred and fifty years of Plantagenet monarchy distilled into a single volume

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England, by Dan Jones, is a fascinating gestation on the history of Plantagenet England during the High Middle Ages, and the far-flung places and key world events which were influenced by Plantagenet monarchs from their broad domain, the Angevin empire, which at its height encompassed not only all of England but nearly half of France as well. These exploits in
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-history
I'm really glad I read this book. It opened up an era of history I knew nothing about. My favorite parts:

- Henry II vs Thomas Beckett, which is worth the price of the book by itself. Fascinating story.

- The real story behind the legend of Richard the Lionheart and his evil brother John.

- For the first time I feel like I have a grasp on the Crusades. Before this my understanding of them was pretty vague.

- I love how the English kings, like our presidents, try to wrap their own reigns into the
Cathal Kenneally

Medieval history brutally brought to life. Royal families are full of strange characters and the Plantagenets were no different. All kinds and queens believe they have the divine right to rule; given to th by God. Unfortunately some of those abuse this power. Some are born to rule. This is a pivotal period in English history. Well written and divided into sections for ease of reference. It would be useful for any student who is studying this period of history.
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
The short version: If you already thought the Plantagenets were murderous, disloyal, loyal to a fault, power hungry crazies, this will at minimum augment your feelings. It's like witnessing a centuries long pileup on the Jersey turnpike. Course, I'm at a bit of an advantage having known some of their history before heading in, so I saw the bloody writing on the castle walls here and there.

In depth: I picked this up because, yeah, Plantagenets, but also because the last few years of working on m
Even though the Tudors are known for their drama-filled (albeit, somewhat short) dynasty; there was already a family making waves before them: the Plantagenets. Dan Jones explains those historical figures who paved the road for England in, “The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England”.

Jones states in his introduction to “The Plantagenets” that his work follows that of a narrative history. This means that although less scholarly and academic; one can at least hope for an exci
Historical Fiction
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I don't know that I entirely agree with the blurb of Dan Jones' The Plantagenets. Compelling and fascinating are certainly accurate, but gripping and vivid are a bit of a stretch. I mean no offense to Jones, his work is really very interesting, but we are talking about a piece that covers more than three hundred and sixty years of history. It's a lot to absorb and doesn't lend itself to edge-of-your-s
David Eppenstein
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have read a few of Dan Jones' books and have concluded that he is a rare, very rare, scholar. Jones understands that histories should never be written for the benefit of other scholars. What purpose does a history serve if only a small group of academics ever read it? Jones clearly thinks otherwise and writes his books to be read by the average book-buying reader that also might be a history geek or could become one if histories weren't so esoteric. Because of this attitude I will buy anything ...more
Oct 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I was reading this on my Kindle, I had to keep reminding myself that this is non-fiction, but it wouldn’t take long for me to be drawn into the drama again. This was so well put together that Dan Jones’s narrative was not disrupted when broken with historical references. The writing is amazing – I like history as a subject but reading this just makes it fun. (However, I say this after reading enough to keep a pace with the narrative detail of who’s doing what to whom, and how certain events t ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Prior to this book, my knowledge of the Plantagenet Family was limited to playing the grand strategy game Crusader Kings II, so take my review with a grain of salt. The book was engaging, had a good narrative style, and was full of information on how the Kings of the Angevin Empire either ruled or mis-ruled. Really fascinating stuff if you are interested in Medieval English History.

And it seems like Crusader Kings II is pretty on-point when it comes to the hassle of dispensing titles, people co
Jan 30, 2021 rated it liked it
I love reading about medieval history, especially English, so the Plantagenets was right up my alley. The long line of kings and queens that made England ruled for nearly 300 years and included a variety of characters - some strong, some weak, all stubborn, and none lacking in drama. Wars, rebellions, knights, ladies, the black death, and the rise of parlamentarian rule and the kingship as not only a rule but also a duty to the people has shaped these centuries.

Some of the greatest include Henr
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Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist. His books, including The Plantagenets, Magna Carta, The Templars and The Colour of Time, have sold more than one million copies worldwide. He has written and hosted dozens of TV shows including the acclaimed Netflix/Channel 5 series 'Secrets of Great British Castles'. For ten years Dan wrote a weekly column for the London Evening ...more

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