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  • The Perfect King

  • The Life of Edward III
  • By: Ian Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Alex Wyndham
  • Length: 19 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (249 ratings)

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Summary

From the best-selling author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England comes the story of King Edward III, who - like Elizabeth and Victoria after him - embodied the values of his age, forged a nation out of war and remade England. 

Edward’s life is one of the most extraordinary in all English history. He ordered his uncle to be beheaded, he usurped his father’s throne and he started a war which lasted for more than a hundred years. He took the crown when it was at its lowest point and raised it to new heights, presenting himself as a new King Arthur, victorious across Europe. He was the architect of many English icons - from parliamentary rule to the adoption of English as the official language and even the building of a great clock tower at Westminster. Yet behind the strong warrior king was a compassionate, conscientious and often merciful man - resolute yet devoted to his wife, friends and family, and the father of both the English nation and the English people.

©2014 Ian Mortimer (P)2016 Tantor

Critic reviews

"An excellent biography; entertaining as well as informative." (Daily Telegraph)

"A fascinating portrait. At times, the reader seems almost able to reach across time and touch this man." (The Economist

"In producing this fine biography, Mortimer has succeeded magnificently, and has gone a long, long way towards restoring Edward III to his proper place as one of the great makers of this nation." (Daily Mail)

What listeners say about The Perfect King

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Scholarly, interesting and engaging blography

I've listened to several of the the author's books pitched more as popular history giving designed to give an insight into life of ordinary folk in the past. The present book is more a work of scholarship, using where possible original source material, nevertheless the author manages to make the story of Edward III's life an engaging and pacey biography. There is plenty of material for not only did the King reign for 50 years but also lived through turbulent times in European history much of the latter owing to his determination to invade France on many occasions and repeated conflicts between England and Scotland exacerbated by Scotland being more friendly with France than with England.

The author draws attention to how historical reputations ebb and flow across the centuries and certainly to modern sensibilities Edward's repeated incursions into France in pursuit of more land and his ruthlessness towards inhabitants of French and Scottish towns smack of war-crimes but in earlier times were deemed heroic. However, for his time he was a fine King who had many good qualities and he certainly improved the governance of England. His life had many successes but he also was not immune to the vicissitudes of medieval life with disease and injuries taking a toll on his family and friends with at least lest 8 of his children dying before him, including his first three sons.

Though a long book I felt engaged throughout and learned a lot about the history of the period helped by excellent narration.

22 people found this helpful

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Very Dissapointing.

While I can highly recommend social history "The Time Traveller Guides "- both Medieval and Elizabethan - I can not recommend this.

The author knows his stuff and the book is well researched but he is too much in awe of his subject. A perfect king; really? He frequently tells us what Edward was thinking or feeling when there is no way that he could know.

The authors controversial theory regarding the death of Edward 2 is presented as irrefutable fact - it isn't.

5/10

20 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

I was enthralled by this book,such an exciting and important life. Why hasn't anyone made a film of this.
The narrator unfortunately lost a star for his lack of research on how to pronounce common English place names

14 people found this helpful

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Beware Historical Controversy

Mortimer presents an account of Edward II's death which is highly controversial, and has been siginifcantly criticised, yet presents it as fact and builds much of his narrative upon it. Beware the taint this lends to the telling - much of the suggested motivations might be better understood as historical fiction rather than an accurate presentation of what we know.

6 people found this helpful

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An epic tale about a king we hear too little about

I have learned so much from this book. Well written and well read. It seems most of its are related to this man.

6 people found this helpful

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Fascinating book, shame about the narration.

Fascinating book, well researched and written but I found the narrators voice monotonous and pleading so that it was both hard to focus on and also wearing to listen to.

5 people found this helpful

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Made up history

Performance is tolerable though he can't pronounce half the names. But the history is a fabrication. It presents as fact something only time author believes

3 people found this helpful

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Great history

Great history of a king who should figure much more highly in popular culture and the national psyche

2 people found this helpful

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Very informative and excellent narration

I would definitely recommend this audio book to any interested in Edward III and medieval Europe in general.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic well researched biography

I enjoyed immensely this fascinating biography, written with a flair for historical investigation and controversy

2 people found this helpful