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1215: The Year of Magna Carta by Danny…
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1215: The Year of Magna Carta (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Danny Danziger, John Gillingham

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8172011,139 (3.67)39
Member:ccooney
Title:1215: The Year of Magna Carta
Authors:Danny Danziger
Other authors:John Gillingham
Info:Touchstone (2005), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Medieval, Magna Carta, England, Normans

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1215: The Year of Magna Carta by Danny Danziger (2003)

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Generally, a great introduction to the social context and the 'world' of the Magna Carta, everything from Political Culture, to Law and Order, rural and social life.
An era that saw the birth of the English Legal system, and the establishment of Europe's Great Universities and centres of learning- of which one was said to have been home to the legendary female physician, Trotula.

Only the chapter on the 'Wider World'-which inevitably includes the Crusades did I have some argument with. Saladin was not always the honourable man he is often hailed as in the West- and as the book often presents him to be. No mention seemed to be made of his duplicity, especially in the matter of the siege of Acre.
Also, there is evidence of trade with far flung regions such as the Middle East and even India long before the eleventh century- Byzantine Coins have been found in England dating from the Seventh century, as well as Lapis Lazuli stones which hail from Afghanistan.

Overall though, a useful and interesting book, which seems to make good use of contemporary sources, and co-authored by a renowned historian, ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
This is a very readable, engaging book about what life in England was like, and how that led to the negotiation of the Magna Carta. Well researched and well presented, this is a popular history that provides insights on how the Magna Carta came to be, and its lasting impact on western democracies. ( )
  LynnB | Oct 23, 2015 |
This is perfectly readable, yet full of interesting snippets and some analysis. It intends to describe what England was like in 1215, when Magna Carta was signed. It does this in a series of themed chapters, but it also, within these chapters, takes clauses of the charter and explains why they were in there, why they were important and what they were trying to achieve. So the chapter looking at the forest and laws associated with forest gets into poaching deer, outlaws, what makes a forest and how the laws of the forest were different from outside it. That puts into context the clauses relating to forested areas, and why they were important at the time. It also makes quite clear that the interpretation we may have of Magna Carta now is not what was in the minds of its authors. The clauses concerning right to justice has a certain interpretation now, but it's tucked away in the final quarter of the charter and didn't mean then what it has since been taken to mean. Context is everything. It was a product of its time, but it was sufficiently flexible that it was able to be reissued (with alterations) many times in the next few centuries as the circumstances changed. As written, it contains the seeds of its own downfall, but enough of it was valuable that it was successively re-issued again. The text of the charter is included at the back, and it certainly makes interesting reading in light of the previous book, it changes the way you look at it.
This is an interesting, readable account of this period of the middle ages. ( )
1 vote Helenliz | Aug 16, 2015 |
Review #8 - 1215: The Year of Magna Carta by Danny Danziger & John Gillingham (2003)

To understand Magna Carta, the authors have decided to explain the cultural, political, and economical landscape of England during the years surrounding its creation in 1215. Each chapter starts with a specifically chosen clause and then proceeds to explain the context.

While the authors are applauded for presenting a clear, readable and without doubt well-researched account, the serious historian will be disappointed by the mere 'popular history' approach and the lack of footnotes, though there are some surprises, for example, the Norman kings of England typically spent most of their time traveling from place to place and not ruling from one location, and that King John in particular didn't speak English.

Nevertheless, I can see this as an excellent introduction for students of history that don't want to be too overwhelmed.

First edition published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2003. The text of Magna Carta is included in the end. - IRONJAW'S BOOK REVIEW, Review #8. March 23rd 2015. ( )
1 vote ironjaw | Mar 23, 2015 |
This is a well-done overview of the cultural, political, and economical landscape of England during the years surrounding the creation and implementation of the Magna Carta. While not in-depth, this is an excellent introductory to the era. I enjoyed the easy prose, and the light tone of the stories. Occasionally, subjects seemed out of place, which can be a bit muddling, but overall, the book flows well. Although this era is not a particular favorite, I enjoyed this book. And given that this is the time frame when Robin lived (or is rumored to have lived), I recommend this book. ( )
  empress8411 | Jan 16, 2015 |
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Gillingham, Johnmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743257782, Paperback)

Surveying a broad landscape through a narrow lens, 1215 sweeps readers back eight centuries in an absorbing portrait of life during a time of global upheaval, the ripples of which can still be felt today. At the center of this fascinating period is the document that has become the root of modern freedom: the Magna Carta. It was a time of political revolution and domestic change that saw the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart, King John, and -- in legend -- Robin Hood all make their marks on history.

The events leading up to King John's setting his seal to the famous document at Runnymede in June 1215 form this rich and riveting narrative that vividly describes everyday life from castle to countryside, from school to church, and from hunting in the forest to trial by ordeal. For instance, women wore no underwear (though men did), the average temperatures were actually higher than they are now, and the austere kitchen at Westminster Abbey allowed each monk two pounds of meat and a gallon of ale per day. Broad in scope and rich in detail, 1215 ingeniously illuminates what may have been the most important year of our history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:53 -0400)

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"On 15 June 1215, rebel barons forced King John to meet them at Runnymede. They did not trust the King, so he was not allowed to leave until his seal was attached to the charter in front of him." "This was Magna Carta. It was a revolutionary document: never before had royal authority been so fundamentally challenged. Nearly 800 years later, two of the charter's sixty-three clauses are still a ringing expression of freedom for mankind: 'To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice'. And, 'No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or in any way ruined, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law or the land.'" "1215 - The Year of Magna Carta explores what it was like to be alive in that momentous year. Political power struggles are interwoven with other issues - fashion, food, education, medicine, religion, sex. In many areas it was a time of innovation and change. Windmills were erected, spectacles were invented. Dozens of new towns were founded Oxford became the first university in England, and the great cathedrals of Salisbury and Lincoln were built."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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