The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life Of William Marshal, The Power Behind Five English Thrones (2014)
The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, The Power Behind Five English Thrones (2014)
3.8 of 5 Votes: 3
006226205X (ISBN13: 9780062262059)
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One of the most fascinating characters in English history, the knight William Marshall, is thoroughly examined in this marvelous work from historian Thomas Asbridge. Working primarily from an obscure medieval document dubbed the History bought at auction in the late 19th century, Asbridge reconstructs the life of a knight who was not only considered one of the best of his day, but lived at a time when his achievements and involvement in the greater political arena of the Angevin dynasty helped to shape chivalry itself.Asbridge tells the story of William Marshal with an engaging writing style so fluid one often forgets this is a history book. This is due in part to the fascinating subject himself, but more so it is the success and careful composition of the storytelling that makes this such an enjoyable read. What Asbridge is truly a master of is his ability to reconstruct the time period to the most minute detail, and draw on other sources to create an accurate portrayal of the people and those things most important to them. Throughout the book, Asbridge maintains high credibility and is careful to avoid any unnecessary assumptions, or side on any hotly contested mysteries that are today debated. He skillfully states exactly what we do know without making the mistake of speaking to what we do not.Nothing about this book was poor and it accomplishes exactly what Asbridge set out to do. It has all the elements of a good fiction: intrigue, plot, betrayal, suspense. Yet it is not a fiction. I suppose that is what makes this book all the more enthralling; it is the true life story of a man who played an integral part in the development of Western Civilization, but who was nearly forgotten if not for the obsessive work of a 19th Century French historian who had the good fortune of finding the History.A well-earned five out of five stars. Excellent book. I would have given it 5 stars but for the irritation of a slight sense of being patronised at times. Like, for instance, referring to 'Vikings' when we know the word is a verb not the name of a people. A simple explanation of this would have sufficed rather than ....writing simplistically is the only way I can think of to try to describe my small gripe :)The lack of proper referencing was a great irritant, also - I like to research questions that come up as I read - and the proof reader should be shot! It's OK that the author may make malapropisms or misspellings but they should have been picked up on; for instance - "Longchamp......had a great tendency to horde power." I believe that should have read 'hoard'.I would recommend the book to all and would certainly use it as a reference if I were to write a novel on the subject (which I would love to do - Marshal is a fascinating character and not overly written about!)
a book to read again sometime in the future
Great job at making history interesting!
Enjoyable and well written
I really liked this book!
Could not put it down.
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