Henry IV Chris Given-Wilson

Series:
The English Monarchs Series
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
02 Feb 2016
ISBN:
9780300154191
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
608 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
16 pp. b-w illus.

Categories:

Henry IV (1399–1413), the son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, seized the English throne at the age of thirty-two from his cousin Richard II and held it until his death, aged forty-five, when he was succeeded by his son, Henry V. This comprehensive and nuanced biography restores to his rightful place a king often overlooked in favor of his illustrious progeny.
 
Henry faced the usual problems of usurpers: foreign wars, rebellions, and plots, as well as the ambitions and demands of the Lancastrian retainers who had helped him win the throne. By 1406 his rule was broadly established, and although he became ill shortly after this and never fully recovered, he retained ultimate power until his death. Using a wide variety of previously untapped archival materials, Chris Given-Wilson reveals a cultured, extravagant, and skeptical monarch who crushed opposition ruthlessly but never quite succeeded in satisfying the expectations of his own supporters.

Chris Given-Wilson is emeritus professor of medieval history, University of St. Andrews, and author of nine books on medieval history. He lives in Fife, UK.

“Excellent… clear, crisp, and full of nuance... the standard account of Henry IV for years to come.”—Judges, Wolfson History Prize 

“This scholarly and readable contributor to Yale’s English Monarchs series fills an important gap… an impressive achievement, a considered and well-rounded account in which youth and old age get their proper share of attention and the darker periods are lit up by the skilful use of published and unpublished records.”—Jonathan Sumption, Literary Review

“Given-Wilson’s very substantial biography brings Henry IV out of the shadows. It is as good a study of an English king as one could desire: deeply researched, admirably comprehensive, well considered and competently told. Without neglecting the details the story requires, the narrative never falters, and the pace is compelling throughout.”—Nicholas Orme, Church Times

"In a fine-grained account laced with deep scholarship and lucid historical insight, Given-Wilson shows not only the drama of Richard’s fall, complete with greyhounds and golden robes, but the domino-effect destabilization caused by Henry’s pivotal dilemma."—Helen Castor, TLS

“In this magnificent new study, Chris Given-Wilson gives us an account of Henry IV’s life rooted in the fullest possible trawl through the sources.”—Nigel Saul, History Today

“[A] clearly written, vivid account . . . A splendid addition to Yale's ‘English Monarchs’ series.”—A. C. Reeves, Choice