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Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the…

Magna Carta: The Making and Legacy of the Great Charter (2014)

by Dan Jones

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Great little book and Introduction to the people, places and background of the Magna Carta, helping readers realiize why it was created and why it was important. The last chapter explores its legacy up to the modern age, and how it influenced the reformers of the 17th century England and later America- even when they read ideas into the charter that did not actually exist.

Its also research tool, with some useful appendices, including the text of the Magna Carta in Latin and English, a timeline of events, and Brief Biographies of the leading figures.
I for one tend to be a little skeptical of 'popular' history books written by people who are not trained historians, but Dan Jones' research seems to be sound, and this has whet my appetite for his next book, '1215' due for release later this year. ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
This short and well illustrated book covers the background events that led up to the issuing of Magna Carta 800 years ago today (though I understand from a separate article I read online that some historians think the actual issuing took place on the 19th, notwithstanding the date on the face of the four extant copies of the original issue). The author places the Charter firmly in its context of Plantagenet politics, resisting the tendency to over-romanticise it, and shows what it meant to its contemporaries, which is by no means always the same as it what had meant to succeeding generations. Nevertheless, among the many clauses that point to contemporary issues to do with property, inheritance and scutage, are key clauses on freedom of the individual from arbitrary use of state and judicial power, that have informed many subsequent constitutional documents including the US Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights. A great general introduction. ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Jun 15, 2015 |
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By the summer of 1215 King John of England had lost control of his kingdom. In June, his rebellious barons forced him to attach his regal seal under oath to a remarkable document. Its signing would echo around the world in centuries to come. The so-called 'Great Charter', established an Englishman's right to habeas corpus and set limits to the exercise of royal power. For the first time a group of subjects had forced an English king to agree to a document that limited his powers by law and protected their rights. As a milestone in the development of constitutional politics and the rule of law, Magna Carta has inspired democrats on every continent. Three of its clauses remain on the statute book of England and Wales to this day. In this exquisitely designed and beautifully illustrated book, Dan Jones sets Magna Carta in the political context of its era, narrates the circumstances of its signing, and outlines and analyses its long-lasting political legacy.… (more)

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