The Perfect King

The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation
Ian Mortimer

As the title indicates, this new biography of Edward III casts the life of the man who ruled medieval England from 1327 to 1377 in a positive light. Bucking a modern tradition that has tended to dismiss Edward as a warmonger, Mortimer highlights his triumphs in establishing a strong, popular monarchy, bringing domestic peace, and prosecuting successful foreign wars. Perhaps the biggest twist, made here and in Mortimer’s previous book, is that Edward’s father (Edward II) didn’t die when he is widely supposed to have, but lived in hiding for another fourteen years. Whatever one thinks of that idea, Edward’s story is well told and densely documented, presenting a portrait of the man and his age with a minimum of professional stuffiness.