Okay, I have now read two "new reads" in a row. My review of Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards will be posted on July 26 as part of her book blog tour.
Now I have to make up for the two "new reads" by reading two "old reads" in a row. And since it's been a very long time since I chose a non-fiction book for any of my reads, I have chosen to re-read Henry Plantagenet, by Richard Barber, for my new "old read"!
As some of you who know me might know, King Henry II of England is one of my historical heroes. So I am excited to sit down and spend some time with him again!
Here is the book jacket blurb for Henry Plantagenet:
Henry II is the most imposing figure among the medieval kings of England. His fiefs and domains extended from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, and his court was frequented by the greatest thinkers and men of letters of his time, besides ambassadors from all over Europe. Richard Barber's life of Henry is both a study of his character and an estimate of his work as a ruler, work which is in a sense the history of his life, since it occupied his entire energies from his accession at the age of twenty-one to his death thirty-five years later. From the desolate and lawless anarchy of Stephen's reign, and against the opposition of the great magnates and the Church, he built in England a stable and prosperous realm, and welded his diverse inheritance overseas into a single and, by the standards of the time, peaceful unit. This task was beset with difficulties: the independence of the great lords; the opposition of the Church which resulted in the quarrel with Thomas Becket and the latter's violent death; and the ambition of his sons, encouraged by their mother Eleanor of Aquitaine to revolt against him. But although Henry ultimately died a fugitive and defeated king, he left an enduring mark on England: the foundations of a nation state that has endured through the turmoil of eight hundred years of history.
Spending time with Henry II is like spending time with an old friend for me. Actually, my favorite biography of Henry Plantagenet is Henry II by W.L. Warren, but at 693 pages (vs 288 pages for Barber's book), I would have been reading it till Christmas, and I do have other reading commitments coming up. So I'll have to continue to set Warren's book aside for yet another day.