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Stephen and Matilda: The Civil War of…
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Stephen and Matilda: The Civil War of 1139-1153

by Jim Bradbury

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This book presents a fairly persuasive case that the period of the civil war between these two was not quite the uniformly awful anarchy that is commonly depicted, and that Stephen was not the weak ruler with poor judgement that he is commonly held to be. However, I found the writing rather dry, with too much description of military manoeuvres, people switching sides and gaining or losing land, and not enough analysis, hence the relatively low rating for a non-fiction work about a period of history I am interested in. ( )
  john257hopper | May 15, 2008 |
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The beginnings of the idea of this book go back a long way. The reign of Stephen has appealed to me as a topic since at least 1976.
CHAPTER I

The Causes of the Civil War

On 25 November 1120 a group consisting mainly of young nobility set sail from Barfleur for England.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 075090612X, Hardcover)

An account of the civil war that dominated Stephen's reign which suggests that there were really two separate wars: the war for Matilda's succession, which began in 1139 and ended in 1148, and the war for Henry's succession. Both wars are examined in detail through the various campaigns giving insight into the horrors of twelfth-century war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Stephen's reign was one of the darkest periods of English history. He had promised Henry I that he would support the king's daughter, Matilda, as the rightful heir to the English throne, but when Henry died in December, 1135, he broke his promise and quickly made himself king. Like man of the nobles, he was unwilling to yield the crown to a woman. Civil war and the battle for the English Crown dominated his reign, and this fascinating book examines the conflict between Stephen and his cousin. The campaigns, battles, and sieges of England's first civil war are explored, including the two major battles at the Standard and Lincoln, which show that Stephen always held more ground than his opponents and was mostly on the offensive. The two sides finally reached a compromise, after 14 years, with the Treaty of Wallingford?Stephen would rule unopposed until his death, but the throne would then pass to Henry of Anjou, Matilda's son. Full of colorful characters, this is a fascinating story of rivalry for the English throne which throws new light on a neglected aspect of Stephen's reign.… (more)

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