The Song of Simon de Montfort: England's First Revolutionary (Hardback)Sophie Therese Ambler (author)
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For such a pivotal figure in English history, Simon de Montfort’s remarkable story is one that has been sadly neglected by mainstream history books. Ambler’s riveting volume redresses the balance brilliantly, recounting the electrifying build-up to the nation’s first revolutionary movement and the emergence of a nascent Parliament with page-turning skill.
'Alive with human detail and acute political judgement, this book marks the arrival of a formidably gifted historian.' - Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets and The Templars
It was around half-past eight in the morning, with summer rainclouds weighing heavy in the sky, that Simon de Montfort decided to die. It was 4 August 1265 and he was about to face the royal army in the final battle of a quarrel that had raged between them for years. Outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and certain to lose, Simon chose to fight, knowing that he could not possibly win the day.
The Song of Simon de Montfort is the story of this extraordinary man: heir to a great warrior, devoted husband and father, fearless crusader knight and charismatic leader. It is the story of a man whose passion for good governance was so fierce that, in 1258, frustrated by the King's refusal to take the advice of his nobles and the increasing injustice meted out to his subjects, he marched on Henry III's hall at Westminster and seized the reins of power.
Montfort established a council to rule in the King's name, overturning the social order in a way that would not be seen again until the rule of Oliver Cromwell in the seventeenth century. Having defeated the King at the Battle of Lewes in 1264, Montfort and his revolutionary council ruled England for some fifteen months, until the enmity between the two sides exploded on that August day in 1265. When the fighting was over, Montfort and a host of his followers had been cut down on the battlefield, in an outpouring of noble blood that marked the end of chivalry in England as it had existed since the Norman Conquest.
Drawing on an abundance of sources that allow us to trace Montfort's actions and personality in a depth not possible for earlier periods in medieval history, Sophie Therese Ambler tells his story with a clarity that reveals all of the excitement, chaos and human tragedy of England's first revolution.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 748 g
Dimensions: 241 x 164 x 46 mm
'This is a remarkable book: beautifully presented, finely written and based on a deep, scholarly knowledge of the sources. It's rare to find a story and a storyteller so well matched.' - The Sunday Telegraph
'...an astonishingly assured debut by an extremely talented historian. Exhaustively researched and beautifully written, it traces the remarkable life of a military and political giant of the medieval period who has never been more convinciingly portrayed.' - The Daily Telegraph
'One of the finest medieval biographies of recent years.' - Gareth Russell, The Times
'Sophie Therese Ambler is a dazzlingly talented historian and in her debut biography offers a bold and brilliantly written reassessment of one of (British) history's most misunderstood figures - the reformer, rebel and scourge of the Plantagenets, Simon de Montfort. Alive with human detail and acute political judgement, this book marks the arrival of a formidably gifted historian.' - Dan Jones
'Gripping, detailed, and ingenious, The Song of Simon de Montfort is a compelling and thrilling story of England's very first revolution. With her beautiful prose, Sophie Ambler successfully crosses the gap between narrative and academic history and brings Simon de Montfort vividly to life' - Dr Estelle Paranque, author of Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes
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“Excellent examination of De Montfort!!!”
This is the SECOND book I have read on Simon De Montfort, he is just such a FASCINATING historical figure to me. I felt that THIS book, ( much more so than the first which was by Darren Baker) (not that that one isnt... More
“Extraordinarily well researched and a great narrative”
Perhaps the greatest challenge when writing about events much before the 15th century is the tragic paucity of source material. When faced with the challenges of just one chronicler and a few tantalising scraps of... More
“History made interesting.”
An intriguing historical book that was as easy to read as a novel. Having been a former resident of Evesham where Simon de Montfort fought his last battle in the Greenhill area of the town I was keen to find out more... More
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