King Henry II
King Richard I
Reigned Before the Angevins:
The Normans (1066-1154)
Reigned After the Angevins:
The Plantagenets (1216-1399)
Full List of English Royal Dynasties:
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Book categories: Angevins, Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, William Marshall, Thomas Becket, Richard I, King John, Magna Carta, Crusades, Fiction, Children's Books, DVDs, Plantagenets, Normans, English History
The Angevin Dynasties of Europe 900-1500: Lords of the Greatest Part of the World by Jeffrey Anderson. From their small county in the heart of France, the lords of Anjou produced dynasties of Jerusalem, England, Sicily, Hungary and Poland.
Angevin England: 1154-1258 by Richard Mortimer. Covers the reigns of Henry II, his sons Richard the Lionheart and John, and much of that of his grandson Henry III. Includes maps, genealogies, and illustrations.
The Angevin Empire by John Gillingham. The Angevin Empire stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees. Its rulers -- Henry II, Richard I and John -- were the most powerful people in Western Europe.
Tales From the Long Twelfth Century: The Rise and Fall of the Angevin Empire by Richard Huscroft. The Angevin empire rose to encompass much of the British Isles and modern France, yet it survived a mere 50 years.
England and Its Rulers, 1066-1272: With an Epilogue on Edward I (1272-1307) by M. T. Clanchy. This authoritative account of English history brings the chronicle sources to life and makes original assessments of kings and political events.
The 12th and 13th Centuries: 1066-C.1280 edited by Barbara F. Harvey. Provides a readable account of the history of the British Isles from the Norman Conquest to the eve of the Welsh rebellion against Edward I in 1282.
England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225 by Robert Bartlett. Provides a vivid picture of everyday existence in Norman and Angevin times.
Brittany and the Angevins: Province and Empire 1158-1203 by J. A. Everard. Examines how Henry II gained sovereignty over Brittany and how it was governed thereafter, suggesting the regime was neither alien nor opppressive to the Bretons.
William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry by George Duby, translated by Richard Howard. This biography of William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, vividly brings to life the era of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Marshal was an adviser to king Henry II, Richard I, and John, and regent for Henry III.
William Marshal: Court, Career and Chivalry in the Angevin Empire 1147-1219 by David Crouch. Written in an engaging style, this text shows that William Marshal was not a bone-headed warrior. He lived in a sophisticated world, and threaded his way through the minefield of the royal courts with courage and panache.
Henry II: A Prince Among Princes by Richard Barber. A brief biography of one of the cleverest men ever to rule England. From the Penguin Monarchs series.
Henry II by W. L. Warren. Biography that examines Henry both as a man and a great king. From the Yale English Monarchs series.
King of the North Wind: The Life of Henry II in Five Acts by Claudia Gold. Written as historical tragedy, this book tells how the most talented of kings came into conflict with those closest to him, to become the most haunted. (Nonfiction.)
Henry Plantagenet by Richard Barber. This biography offers both a study of Henry's character and an estimate of his work as a ruler.
Henry II: A Medieval Soldier at War, 1147-1189 by John D. Hosler. Examines the English king's military career, arguing that he sought to expand his empire by direct confrontation and was a proficient commander.
Writing History for the King: Henry II and the Politics of Vernacular Historiography by Charity Urbanski. Henry II commissioned two dynastic histories, written in Old French verse, to disseminate a royalist version of the past that would help secure his grip on power.
Sons of Henry II
The Restless Kings: Henry II, His Sons and the Wars for the Plantagenet Crown by Nick Barratt. About the drama that tore apart the most powerful family in 12th century western Europe and shaped the future of two nations.
Henry the Young King, 1155-1183 by Matthew Strickland. Eldest son of Henry II, Henry the Young King was crowned at 15, during his father's lifetime, to secure the succession. Denied direct rule, he waged war against his father and his brother Richard.
The Devil's Crown: A History of Henry II and His Sons by Richard Barber. A vivid historical survey of three of the most striking characters among the kings of England: Henry II and his sons Richard and John. A tie-in with a BBC2 series, the book includes extensive genealogical charts.
Thomas Becket by Frank Barlow. Becket, a friend of Henry II, became the Archbishop of Canterbury. Murdered by a group of knights for failing to cooperate with the king, he was regarded as a martyr and quickly canonized.
Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel by John Guy. This biography examines the relationship between Beckett and Henry II and casts doubt on the assumption that the headstrong rivals were once close friends.
Richard I by John Gillingham. Biography from the Yale English Monarchs series.
Richard I: The Crusader King by Thomas Asbridge. This book presents Richard the Lionheart as a formidable warrior-king burdened by the legacy of his dysfunctional dynasty.
Richard the Lionheart: The Crusader King of England by W. B. Bartlett. This biography portrays Richard I as a remarkable man badly let down by those around him.
Richard the Lionheart by Jean Flori. This biography examines Richard I's roles as a prince, a king, and a model of chivalry.
Clash of Crowns by Mary McAuliffe. About hostility between French and English kings, from its roots in the time of the Vikings to the cutthroat rivalry between Philip II and Richard Lionheart during the Third Crusade.
Richard the Lionheart: The Mighty Crusader by David Miller. King Richard I demonstrated a brilliant grasp of military strategy and tactics. He was the only Crusader commander who managed to get an army to Palestine without going bankrupt in the process.
The Troubadour's Song: The Capture and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart by David Boyle. On his journey home from the Third Crusade, Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked and eventually taken hostage by Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, who demanded a majestic ransom.
A History of the Life of Richard Coeur-de-lion, King of England by G. P. R. James. Analyzes Richard's life and its relation to the feudal system in England, chivalry, knighthood, and the Crusades.
Richard and Others
The Three Richards: Richard I, Richard II and Richard III by Nigel Saul. Richard I was a crusading hero; Richard II was an authoritarian aesthete; Richard III was the most famous villain in English history. This joint biography shows how much the three kings had in common.
Richard and John: Kings at War by Frank McLynn. Shows how incompetent a king John really was, and how impressive his brother Richard the Lionheart was, despite his long absence from the throne.
Warriors of God by James Reston Jr. is about Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade.
King John: Treachery and Tyranny in Medieval England: The Road to Magna Carta by Marc Morris. King John is familiar as the villain from Robin Hood tales. But was he truly a monster? This biography draws on the king's own letters to bring him to life.
King John: England's Evil King? by Ralph Turner. Biography of the ill-tempered man who is reputed to be the worst of England's kings.
King John by W. L. Warren. This biography is a study of the king, his political misfortunes, and his times.
'Bad' King John: The Life & Reign of the Magna Carta Tyrant by Sean McGlynn. The author's research shows that John's reputation for evil and incompetence is well deserved and founded on clear evidence.
King John: An Underrated King by Graham E. Seel. With analysis of the Magna Carta, relations with the church, civil war, and other issues of John's reign, this book presents an argument for rehabilitating the king's reputation.
John: An Evil King? by Nick Vincent. This biography unpicks the character of one of England's most complex and despised kings. Has he been unfairly misunderstood?
King John: And the Road to Magna Carta by Stephen Church. This biography explains how a king famous for his misrule gave rise to Magna Carta, the blueprint for good governance.
Other Books About King John
1215 and All That: Magna Carta and King John by Ed West. How King John's rule changed England forever.
Power and Pleasure: Court Life Under King John, 1199-1216 by Hugh M. Thomas. Examines the many facets of John's court, including hunting, feasting, castles, luxury, chivalry, and religion.
The Mystery of King John's Treasure by Shirley Charters. In 1216, King John lost England's crown jewels, his gem collection, and sackfuls of silver coins. What happened?
King John (Mis)remembered by Igor Djordjevic. Argues that King John is remembered as a villain due to the work of three later playwrights.
King John: New Interpretations edited by S. D. Church. A collection of essays about the king.
The Household Knights of King John by S. D. Church. The royal household comprised men from most ranks of society, from the great magnates of the realm to servants who looked after the day-to-day needs of the king and his court.
The Northerners: A Study in the Reign of King John by James C. Holt. A study of the origins of the rebellion which culminated in the events at Runnymede.
Magna Carta and the England of King John by Janet S. Loengard. What was England like in 1215? How was King John perceived by those who knew him? Essays analyze earlier Angevin rulers, John's court, baronial fear of the king, discontent over the royal forests, and more.
1215: The Year of the Magna Carta by Danny Danziger and John Gillingham. A portrait of life during a time of political revolution that saw the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart, King John, and -- in legend -- Robin Hood.
Magna Carta by Ralph Turner. Tells the story of Magna Carta through the ages, underlining its great influence outside the United Kingdom.
Magna Carta: Text and Commentary by A. E. Dick Howard. Provides the full text of the Magna Carta in English, as well as a chapter-by-chapter discussion of its history and provisions.
King John and Magna Carta by Sean McGlynn. A short guide to King John's incompetent rule and the Magna Carta, a charter that restricted his power and set a precedent that remains with us today.
Novels by Elizabeth Chadwick
For the King's Favor by Elizabeth Chadwick. Ida, young mistress of England's King Henry II, pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king for another man.
To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick. Privileged daughter of William Marshal, Mahelt marries the heir to the earldom of Norfolk. But when England's King John sets out to subdue her husband's family, Mahelt knows she is not likely to survive.
The Greatest Knight: The Unsung Story of the Queen's Champion by Elizabeth Chadwick. A penniless young knight, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. But being a royal favorite brings danger.
Novels About Richard I
Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman. Novel about the great medieval warrior-king Richard Lionheart, son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Followed by a sequel, A King's Ransom, which covers Richard's dangerous last years.
Lionheart by Thorvald Steen. Novel that paints Richard I as a man living in the shadow of his own myth, unsure of himself and his role.
Queen Without A Country by Rachel Bard is a novel about Richard the Lionheart's wife, Berengaria.
The Passionate Brood: A Novel of Richard the Lionheart and the Man Who Became Robin Hood by Margaret Campbell Barnes. Novel that imagines Robin Hood as a foster brother of King Richard I. First published in 1944 under the title "Like Us They Lived."
Outlaw by Angus Donald. First in a series of novels about Robin Hood from the viewpoint of Alan Dale. In the second book, Holy Warrior, Robin Hood joins Richard the Lionheart on Crusade. Followed by The King's Man and Warlord.
The King's Witch by Cecelia Holland. Novel about a mysterious healer who becomes an indispensable member of Richard the Lionheart's camp during the Third Crusade.
Novels About King John
Isabella: Queen Without a Conscience by Rachel Bard. Novel about Isabella of Angoulême, wife of England's King John.
Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine. Through hypnotism, a modern woman is plunged into the 13th century world of England's King John. First published in 1986.
King John by William Shakespeare. A 16th century play.
Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman is a gripping and emotional novel about King John's daughter Joanna, who married a Welsh prince who was her father's enemy. I have read this novel, and I highly recommend it. It's the first book in a trilogy; the other two books are Falls the Shadow, about England's Henry III, and The Reckoning, about Edward I's conquest of Wales.
Richard the Lionhearted and the Third Crusade: The English King Confronts Saladin, AD 1191 by David Hilliam and Lee Hancock. For young adult readers.
Richard the Lionheart by Susan Harkins. Biography for children ages 9 to 12.
Richard the Lionheart: The Life of a King and Crusader by David West. Nonfiction for children ages 9 to 12.
King John and Magna Carta by L. Du Garde Peach. The story of England's King John and the momentous events of his reign, illustrated with 24 full-page pictures.
If All the Swords in England: A Story of Thomas Becket by Barbara Willard, illustrated by Robert M. Sax. A fictional account of Becket's murder, for young adult readers.
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
The Lion in Winter stars Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Peter O'Toole as Henry II. Both were nominated for Academy Awards. (She won, he didn't.) Also stars Timothy Dalton and Anthony Hopkins in their feature film debuts. (Review © Amazon.com.)
Becket starring Peter O'Toole as Henry II and Richard Burton as his friend the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is one of my favorite movies. It won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
Becket or the Honor of God by Jean Anouilh. Read the play on which the movie was based.