Louis The French Prince Who Invaded England Catherine Hanley

Publication date:
05 Apr 2016
Yale University Press
296 pages: 235 x 156mm
12 pp. b-w illus.
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In 1215 a group of English barons, dissatisfied with the weak and despicable King John, decided that they needed a new monarch. They wanted a strong, experienced man, of royal blood, and they found him on the other side of the Channel: Louis, eldest son and heir of the king of France.

“Louis emerges as a nearly man: nearly King of England, nearly a successful military campaigner, and nearly the man who terminated the Albigensian crusades. But what he nearly did allows for Hanley’s biography to touch on some of the most complex issues of the early thirteenth century.”—Alice Taylor, TLS

In this fascinating biography of England’s least-known “king”—and the first to be written in English—Catherine Hanley explores the life and times of “Louis the Lion” before, during, and beyond his quest for the English throne. She illuminates the national and international context of his 1216 invasion, and explains why and how after sixteen fruitless months he failed to make himself King Louis I of England. Hanley also explores Louis’s subsequent reign over France until his untimely death on the Albigensian Crusade. Published eight centuries after the creation of Magna Carta and on the 800th anniversary of Louis’s proclamation as king, this fascinating story is a colorful tale of national culture, power, and politics that brings a long-forgotten life out of the shadows of history.

Dr Catherine Hanley is a writer and researcher specialising in the High Middle Ages, and the author of War and Combat, 1150-1270: The Evidence from Old French Literature (2003).

“Captivating…Hanley’s work vividly depicts the texture of the times with an enthralling, novelistic narrative.”—Publishers Weekly

“I have been waiting for a biography of Louis for a long time, and few are better qualified to write it than Hanley. She has a command of the sources and skilfully deploys her expertise in medieval arms and warfare… this is serious history, as well as a gripping – and poignant – story.”—Sophie Ambler, BBC History

“Hanley breaks new ground with this engaging and readable first biography in English of Louis VIII.”—Choice

“This is a volume aimed at a wide audience, with an appealing, fast-paced prose style… will open up new perspectives and debates on the era of Louis”—Sean L. Field, Royal Studies