Author(s): Stephen Church
No English king has suffered a worse press than King John: Bad King John, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood, Magna Carta - but how to disentangle myth and truth? John was the youngest of the five sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, who, on the death of his brother Richard the Lionheart in 1199, took possession of a vast - and vastly wealthy - inheritance. But by his death in 1215, he had squandered it all, and come close to losing his English kingdom, too. Stephen Church vividly recounts exactly how John contrived to lose so much, so quickly and in doing so, tells the story of Magna Carta, which, eight hundred years later, is still one of the cornerstones of Western democracy.
A definitive new life of King John
Jaunty, authoritative ... [a] fine, timely study of English history's greatest pantomime villain. -- Dan Jones Sunday Times Hugely enjoyable BBC History Magazine Scholarly and readable ... the John that emerges is still a tyrant, but a more complex figure in a complex time. Daily Telegraph Restores complexity to the myth of John as a cruel, unstable ogre. Sunday Telegraph
Stephen Church is currently professor of medieval history at the University of East Anglia. He obtained his PhD from the University of London in 1992 and has subsequently published two books and many scholarly articles related directly to the topic of King John. In addition, Professor Church has published more widely on topics in medieval English history ranging from work on Anglo-Saxon paganism through to fourteenth-century local society in East Anglia, but he is at heart a specialist on twelfth-century kingship and in particular on the time of King John.