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Henry VI and the Politics of Kingship

Henry VI and the Politics of Kingship


  • Date Published: April 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521653930

£ 36.99

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About the Authors
  • Henry VI (1422–61) was one of the most spectacularly inadequate kings of England, and his reign dissolved into the conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. Yet he held on to his throne for thirty-nine years and, for almost thirty of them, without much difficulty. What was the nature of Henry's inadequacy, and why did it have such ambivalent and complicated results? Since the 1970s most histories of fifteenth-century England have focused on the individual interests and private connections of politicians as a means of making sense of politics. By contrast, this 1996 work argues that we can understand what happened in Henry VI's reign only if we look at common interests and public connections as well. Ultimately it is the problem of establishing royal authority which emerges as paramount, with the supposedly factious and 'overmighty' nobility appearing as doomed but devoted servants of the state.

    • A paperback edition of the most detailed and original account of the reign of Henry VI to have appeared in many years
    • Sheds light on the other reigns in later medieval England, during the period of the 'Wars of the Roses'
    • Re-asserts the notoriously 'weak' king Henry VI in terms of constitutional aims and priorities
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… the most original study of the reign of Henry VI to have appeared for a long time, striking out for a fresh interpretation of its troubles … This is an important book, incorporating highly intelligent historical thinking which promises to throw new light on other English reigns besides that of Henry VI.' M. H. Keen, Nottingham Medieval Studies

    '… historians will find in this well-written and stimulating book an essential guide to the politics of Henry VI's court.' Simon Walker, The Times Literary Supplement

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521653930
    • length: 418 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of Abbreviations
    1. Introduction: ideas and politics in fifteenth-century history
    2. The conceptual framework
    3. Government
    4. Features of Henry VI's polity
    5. The years of transition, 1435–45
    6. The rule of the court, 1445–50
    7. The search for authority, 1450–61
    8. Conclusion

  • Author

    John Watts, University of Oxford

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