King John

  • by Marc Morris
  • Narrated by Ric Jerrom
  • 14 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The brilliantly compelling new biography of the treacherous and tyrannical King John, published to coincide with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
Authoritative and dramatic, Marc Morris' King John offers a compelling portrait of an extraordinary king whose reign marked a momentous turning point in the history of Britain and Europe. King John is buried in Worcester Cathedral.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Solid

You can hear Marc Morris talking about King John on the BBC History Today podcast. He's an engaging speaker with a PhD in medieval history so I decided this was worth a listen. What you get is a nuts and bolts life of John which comes to life when Morris uses his in-depth knowledge of life in medieval Britain to show how a strange alliance of nobles from East Anglia, the north of England, Wales and Scotland collaborated with the sharp witted merchants of London to create Magna Carta. He goes on to make the case that John was just as bad as his subsequent reputation suggests.

Morris is too disciplined a historian to offer similar character portraits of other characters in the story. That's an understandable choice but John Julius Norwich's "Shakespeare's Kings", which tackles similar material was fun because he was interested in characters and willing to stick his neck out. So at times this suffered a little for me by being a slightly flat retelling of events. In addition to that, the narrator adopts a slightly irritating tone of archness throughout so just three stars for him.

However, overall it's worth a listen on the basis of an interesting life illuminated by many interesting details of medieval life alongside a fascinating dissection of magna carta
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- Jim

Compelling Story

Since the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta last year I have read a few books about it but this was definitely by far the best! It really set the issue of Magna Carta in its historical context so you could understand how it came about. Even better than that, though, was the author's assessment of John himself and discussion of whether he was as cruel as we are led to believe. I felt it was written very fairly and objectively and I liked how he explained why he had chosen to give more or less weight to various sources. After reading this I felt that I had a much better grasp of the whole period and the abuses which led to Magna Carta. It did make me question how monarchy could ever have survived! If you are interested in Magna Carta and this period of history, I can't recommend this book highly enough.

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- Caroline

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-06-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios