Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England” as Want to Read:
The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  13,055 ratings  ·  1,324 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Plantagenets, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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.
John Adams by David McCulloughThe Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer1776 by David McCulloughTeam of Rivals by Doris Kearns GoodwinThe Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
Best History Books
2,911 books — 3,207 voters
The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia FraserCatherine the Great by Robert K. MassieNicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. MassieQueen Isabella by Alison WeirEleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir
Oh, Royalty...
286 books — 125 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,055 ratings  ·  1,324 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England
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
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
Bryan Alkire
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good history and the author’s best. Everything he’s written since has been a derivative of this one. It’s interesting if a bit standard in its portrayal of history. The main strength of the work is that it’s readable. All in all, a good introduction to the Plantagenet dynasty. It’s worth your reading time.

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
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
"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
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Good kings, bad kings, rebellious peasants, treacherous family, George R.R. Martin
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
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
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history

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)
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Royalty History readers, English history readers
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: the publisher and Netgalley
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
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
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.
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
♣ 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
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a popular history of English kings between 1120 and 1399. The author chose the death of Richard II as a natural point to end his account, though you could argue that Plantagenets continued to rule England until Richard III met his end on Bosworth Field. Then again, the usurpation by Bolingbroke could also be argued as natural breaking-point in the line of kings from Henry II onwards.

Anyway, as I said, this is a popular history, with a distinctly nationalistic flavour. It gives an account
Dana Stabenow
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
History comes alive!

This history of the Plantagenet dynasty in England is extremely readable and very interesting. I learned the following:

1) If you are a king, don't have children because they will grow up most and most likely try to kill you.
2) Careful of the taxes for foreign wars! High taxes were largely responsible for the Magna Carta and no king wants a charter like that impeding his rule!
3) Don't screw your existing nobles and give large land grants and titles to your buddies, this rarely
A very enjoyable popular history and hard to be too critical. As the cover blub says "action packed..." Be that as it may there are a couple of spelling mistakes, hardly the authors fault, and the lack of footnotes make me find this style of history less enjoyable than it might have been.

A pity really as there is a magnificent Further Reading chapter at the end and the Conclusion was also a good read. In the end though I just find it hard to go past a chapter starting with a sentence that start
Brendan Monroe
Donald Trump is horrible. Probably the worst President the United States has ever had and there’s a lot of competition. But – as bad as he is – at least he’s limited to, ahem, serving no more than eight years in office.

(view spoiler)
Marco Etheridge
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
"The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England" is a fascinating history of the two-and-a-half centuries that transformed England from a Norman colony to a European power. First published in 2013 by Viking, Author Dan Jones' tome documents the Plantagenet line with a clear overview, an attention to detail, and a fine pen. The book is very engaging and readable, yet it remains a fine work of history.

As documented by Mr. Jones, The Plantagenet line in England begins with Henry II
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Norman Conquest
  • A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain
  • The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation
  • King John: Treachery and Tyranny in Medieval England: The Road to Magna Carta
  • The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty
  • The Wars of the Roses
  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
  • The Black Prince: England's Greatest Medieval Warrior
  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII
  • The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, The Power Behind Five English Thrones
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life (World Leaders Past & Present)
  • Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors (The History of England, #1)
  • Tudor: The Family Story
  • The Demon's Brood: A History of the Plantagenet Dynasty
  • She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth
  • 1415: Henry V's Year Of Glory
  • Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England
  • The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England's Most Infamous Family
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

Bryan Washington, the acclaimed author of 2019’s short story collection Lot, has returned with his debut novel, Memorial. The story follows...
14 likes · 3 comments
“Believing that Edward’s men were at a safe distance in Worcester, Simon’s men were unprepared for attack. They did not realize that Edward and Gloucester had spies among them, including a female transvestite called Margoth” 4 likes
“(During his trial he claimed that his pet cat had become possessed by the devil and incited him to his crimes. The cat was also hanged.)” 4 likes
More quotes…