Review of The Plantagenets, by Dan Jones

The Plantagenets

The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

by Dan Jones
read by Clive Chafer

Blackstone Audio, 2013. 21 hours on 17 CDs.

Thank you to Liz Burns for recommending this book on her A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy blog. I read her recommendation when I had recently learned that I have a few drops of Plantagenet blood in my veins – one of my distant ancestors was a distant descendant of an illegitimate child of King John, whom Dan Jones describes as the worst of the Plantagenet rulers.

I don’t think I could have read all this history in the print book. As it was, I skipped and listened to other things in between some of the CDs. So I know a whole lot more about British history than I ever did before, but it’s more of a grand overarching view than remembering all the details. And I confess I was far more interested in historical characters that I’d read about in historical novels than anyone else. Especially since I was interrupting my listening, I often got the different Henrys and Edwards confused, and wasn’t always sure exactly which king he was talking about.

I loved the narrator’s voice and British accent at first. However, he used the same “quoting” voice every time he was quoting someone. Not that they should be different – they were mostly quotes from historians or from various kings. But after awhile, it all sounded the same.

Still, I can’t think of a more painless way to get a grand overview of an era of British history (and some of my own ancestors!) than listening to this narrative on the way to and from work. I learned about the many wars, about revolutions and uprisings, about the establishment of laws, and about what was expected of a medieval king. And despite being history, it was never boring.

The blurb on the back says that Dan Jones is working on a new history of the War of the Roses. That’s the era that comes next, and I’m looking forward to finding out more.

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Source: This review is based on a library audiobook from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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