Legend and lore surround the history of kings Richard and John, from the ballads of Robin Hood and the novels of Sir Walter Scott to Hollywood movies and television. In the myth-making, King Richard, defender of Christendom in the Holy Land, was the “good king,” and his younger brother John was the evil usurper of the kingdom, who lost not only the Crown jewels but also the power of the crown. How much, though, do these popular stereotypes correspond with reality? Frank McLynn, known for a wide range of historical studies, has returned to the original sources to discover what Richard and John, these warring sons of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, were really like, and how their history measures up to their myth. In riveting prose, and with attention to the sources, he turns the tables on modern revisionist historians, showing exactly how incompetent a king John was, despite his intellectual gifts, and how impressive Richard was, despite his long absence from the throne. This is history at its best-revealing and readable.
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