1215 by Danny Danziger
The Year of Magna Carta

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Surveying a broad landscape through a narrow lens, 1215 sweeps readers back eight centuries in an absorbing portrait of life during a time of global upheaval, the ripples of which can still be felt today.

At the center of this fascinating period is the document that has become the root of modern freedom: the Magna Carta. Never before had royal authority been challenged so fundamentally. The Great Charter would become the foundation of the U.S. government and legal system, and nearly eight hundred years later, two of Magna Carta's sixty-three clauses are still a ringing expression of freedom for mankind. But it was also a time of political revolution and domestic change that saw the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart, King John, and -- in legend -- Robin Hood all make their marks on history.

The events leading up to King John's setting his seal to the famous document at Runnymede in June 1215 form this rich and riveting narrative that vividly describes everyday life from castle to countryside, from school to church, and from hunting in the forest to trial by ordeal. For instance, women wore no underwear (though men did), the average temperatures were actually higher than they are now, the austere kitchen at Westminster Abbey allowed each monk two pounds of meat and a gallon of ale per day, and it was possible to travel from Windsor to the Hampshire coast without once leaving the forest.

Broad in scope and rich in detail, 1215 ingeniously illuminates what may have been the most important year of our history.


About Danny Danziger

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Danny Damziger was brought up in England and America. Now an award- winning columnist for "The Sunday Times, " he is the author of eight books, including the bestselling "Eton Voices" and "The Year 1000." He is currently writing a book on the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gillingham was formerly professor of medieval history at the London School of Economics.
Published June 23, 2003 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. 336 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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When the reader reaches the climactic chapter, in which the barons force the Charter on John, the document has jumped off the pedestal on which tradition has placed it and become a living thing.

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In 1215, King John unwillingly signed the Magna Carta, a document fundamental to our concept of democracy.

Jul 15 2005 | Read Full Review of 1215: The Year of Magna Carta


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1215 is not so much a book about Magna Carta, or even about the eponymous year as a whole, as it is about the mores, beliefs and lifestyles of the early 13th century.

Jun 12 2006 | Read Full Review of 1215: The Year of Magna Carta

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