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|Title||:||The Troubled Reign Of King Stephen|
|Number of Pages||:||218 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Troubled Reign Of King Stephen Reviews
This is, no surprise, one of the core books of my research into 12th century England for my novels.As a detailed narrative of what happened and who was involved, according to the various chroniclers of the period, it's a wonderful and valuable compendium. Where I have problems with it is Appleby's mostly uncritical acceptance of what those chroniclers say. Chroniclers of this time, who were almost invariably clergy/monks, have to be read with certain basic realizations in mind: they were often far removed from the actual events they were reporting and so relied on gossip and rumor, which they nonetheless report as though it's gospel truth. Being clergy, and isolated from the everyday world, they also tend to hold said world to a far higher standard of behavior and morality than was reasonable or right (and yes, there's probably some suppressed hypocrisy at work here, but we can't really ever know the truth). There is also an intense, demonstrable bias and hatred toward the feminine that has to be factored in.So....yes, if you're researching 12th century England and the reign of King Stephen, you must include this book in your sources. But....don't stop here, keep reading.
King Stephen is probably one of the least known kings of England by most people and those who do know him think of him as a bad king. why is that? Well, hence me reading this book. Well there are a lot of reasons first of all he did make a lot of mistakes he was lenient when he should have been harsh, harsh when he should have been lenient, made bad military decisions, and pushed the church when he shouldn't have. On the other hand he had major challenges to the throne through out his reign from revolts from people like Matilda and later Henry to just random nobles who appear to be revolting all the time. This book makes the point is that he was a kindly old man who wasn't the great king England really needed to hold peace, but was still able to hold England together for almost 20 years. The points I found most interesting was that it was hard to take castles but was easy to raid the country side. it was easy to run away as small groups of the most important could often run easily to well defended areas or to France and be out of the reach. And the capturing and ransoming and escaping of prisoners happened often. This all meant that it was too easy for wars of this type to carry on without end. Stephen was at the very least unlucky with the time of his reign, but he also made mistakes that made things worse.
Appleby thoroughly covers the key events of Stephen's reign. In addition, the style is readable. However, this study is weakened by the author's open distaste for key figures such as the Empress, Henry Bishop of Winchester, and Ranulf of Chester; yet Stephen's virtues are trumpeted. All in all, I would hesitate to recommend this biography since more nuanced histories are available.
Very useful book chronicles the events of the anarchy of Stephen's reign nicely. There is less analysis than a true biography, and the events are unfolded in a clear, fairly detached manner that allows the readers to draw many of their own conclusions.
Read this one for a term paper.