1215 - the penultimate year of the reign of a king with the worst reputation of any in our history - saw England engulfed by crisis. Weakened by the loss of Normandy, King John faced insurrection by his disgruntled barons. With the assistance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, they drew up a list of their demands. In June, in a quiet Thames-side water-meadow, John attached his regal seal - under oath - to a charter that set limits on regal power. In return, the barons renewed their vows of fealty.
Groundbreaking though 'Magna Carta' was, it had scant immediate impact as England descended into civil war that would still be raging when John died the following year. Dan Jones's vivid account of the vicissitudes of feudal power politics and the workings of 13th-century government is interwoven with a exploration of the lives of ordinary people: how and where they worked, what they wore, what they ate, and what role the Church played in their lives.
About the Author
Dan Jones took a first in History from Cambridge in 2002. An award-winning journalist and a pioneer of the resurgence of interest in medieval history, he is the bestselling author of The Peasants' Revolt and The Plantagenets. He lives in London.
'Wonderfully engaging ... commanding and piercingly insightful. His book is packed with moments that make you stop in your tracks' Daily Telegraph.
'A very colourful and entertaining volume' Bookbag.
'Jones has a terrific eye for humanising stories and the telling detail ... it is the snapshots of life as it was lived that make this book so engaging' Daily Telegraph.
'An insightful overview of the state of England 800 years ago' History Revealed Book of the Month.
'Jones expertly guides us through this turbulent period and sheds fascinating light on life in Plantagenet England' The Irish Mail.
'Jones writes in a very readable style' Battlefield Magazine.
'Jones is to be congratulated for telling his story with panache and originality. He deserves to be widely read' BBC History Magazine.