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By Mary Elizabeth Reynolds on 04-13-13
An Incredible History
This is a witty but measured narration of a complicated time in British History. Edward the First is represented as a great ruler BUT his failures and cruelties over treason, the Scots and other aspects of the other not so nice part of the middle ages. Chivalry is represented as the true absurdity and hypocrisy it was, Costain emphasizes the growth of the common man despite a royal family convinced of their greatness. Even Edward the second and the she-wolf of France, Isabella are treated with equanimity. Phillip the UNfair as Costain calls him, and the Templar's don't come off so well, but it does seem appropriate.
I cannot say enough good about this series, and I do recommend the whole thing. The fact that this history was written in the fties and early sixties shouldn't dissuade a lover of British history. I was worried since they were written before my birth,but I adore British history and shouldn't have worried.It's written in a modern language and a wit that
few writers or historians of any time ever achieve. Costain doesn't overlook the ridiculous or the incredible falsity of myth. It is not the story of only royalty but of people and a age. It has the cadence of that rare professor one would rather listen to than take notes. The narrator has perfect inflection to the words written. It is a true combination of talented equals. I knew of Thomas Costain's fiction but not his non-fiction. They are a much loved part of my mother's library, sadly I think that he may have been out of print of years, these works must be the last of his life. Truly a commandment to a life well-lived. My thanks to Audible for putting this out and choosing the best narration of a book I've ever heard and I am an audio addict.
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