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Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century (Hardback)

De Montfort

Colour Books Military P&S History > British History P&S History > Social History

By Darren Baker
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 30 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526745491
Published: 17th November 2020



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One of the families that dominated the thirteenth century were the de Montforts. They arose in France, in a hamlet close to Paris, and grew to prominence under the crusading fervour of that time, taking them from leadership in the Albigensian wars to lordships around the Mediterranean. They marry into the English aristocracy, join the crusade to the Holy Land, then another crusade in the south of France against the Cathars.

The controversial stewardship of Simon de Montfort (V) in that conflict is explored in depth. It is his son Simon de Montfort (VI) who is perhaps best known. His rebellion against Henry III of England ultimately establishes the first parliamentary state in Europe.

The decline of the family begins with Simon’s defeat and death at Evesham in 1265. Initially they revive their fortunes under the new king of Sicily, but they scandalise Europe with a vengeful political murder. By this time it is the twilight of the crusades era and the remaining de Montforts either perish or are expelled. Eleanor de Montfort, the last Princess of Wales, dies in childbirth and her daughter is raised as a nun.

Baker's masterful storytelling vividly brings to life the triumphs and tribulations of the de Montfort dynasty, offering readers a captivating glimpse into the intricacies of medieval power dynamics and the evolution of governance. "Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century" is a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of one of history's most influential families and their pivotal role in shaping the course of European history.

NetGalley, Joanna Arman

This was a fantastic read! The de Montfort family rose from nothing to become one of the powerhouses for a period of time. This book pulls out the information perfectly, succinctly laying out the rise and fall of this family.
Whether you are strong in history or not, the facts and information laid out in a easy to follow fashion.
Darren Baker is a great author, and I highly enjoyed this book.

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

I had been drawn to the de Montforts many years ago, long before this book was quite possibly conceived, so was immediately attracted to the fact that the focus of this was on the family themselves, particularly as pertaining to the remnants of the family post Evesham. Baker successfully weaves all the strands and threads of this family's history together into one tome.

The de Montforts ended how they began, in obscurity. But whilst in the ascendant, they were the Icarus of their generation - flying that little bit too close to the sun. This is one tome that I will definitely be adding to my own library.

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

The author has provided an absorbing account of the family’s rise and fall with a very interesting colour plate section in illustration. He discusses the crusades of the thirteenth Century which were a major part of the history of the period and provided wealth and advancement for many.

This is the first book to provide a complete family history. – Very Highly Recommended

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you want to read about English or French history of the 13th Century, this is the book for you. Also, this is a very detailed book about the crusades, at least about one of the major families involved. I am VERY happy that I had the chance to read this book, and think that it might be a helpful reference for me.

NetGalley, Sheila Paul

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A magnificent biography of one of the most infamous families of Medieval Western Europe. Loathed by the English, hated by the French (especially in the South), the Montforts deeds and misdeeds over almost two centuries are skillfully presented from their despicable behaviors during the Albigensian Crusade to their open revolt against Royal power in England. A colorful and truculent portrait of a rebellious clan & its often violent actions against the central powers. A richly detailed and turbulent tapestry of Medieval pride and arrogance. A must read for anyone interested in Medieval history.

NetGalley, Jean Luc Estrella

Review by Jason Hubbard

This is a compelling read about one of Britain’s most notorious families in this period of history, and it’s set against the backdrop of the Crusades and the Baron’s Wars. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone considering delving into the period as a wargamer.

The book will give you a good insight into the machinations of the period as well as the conflicts in the UK and the Middle East. It’s also a great read for anyone interested in the medieval period, and especially those interested in learning more about the Montfort’s.

Irregular Magazine | Spring Issue 2021

A fantastic book about the De Montfort family and the rebellion against the monarch Henry III and the eventual decline of the family standing and power. There has been some good deep research put into this book that stands out and covers not just the rebellion against Henry III but also includes great detail about English and French history of that particular time considering this was a time when the countries were going through the period of the Crusades. Whilst this particular part of history isn’t my specialist subject, from what I have read this is a great book and really emphasises the conflict and growth of the family and supporters. An excellent book written by Darren Baker, very well researched and written. A very good book, certainly recommended.

5 stars

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UK Historian

Darren Baker turns in an excellent history of the de Montfort family - everyone has heard of Simon de Montfort and of his attempt to dethrone Henry III. An exemplary look at one of the most dominant aristocratic families in the medieval period.

Books Monthly

For anyone interested in studying the 12th and 13th centuries, of the de Montforts in particular, Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century: De Montfort would be an invaluable – and essential – addition to their library. It not only works as the study of a medieval family, but as a study of the motivations of medieval barons, both in their religious and military duties – and of the women who support them.

Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century: De Montfort is a wonderful study of the entire de Montfort family. Darren Baker provides his usual level of unbiased analysis that allows the reader to make their own decision of the family and its individual members. His research and referencing is impeccable, as I have come to expect, and his extensive use of primary sources provide a unique insight into the de Montfort family.

My review simply cannot do this book justice. What I can say, is that I cannot recommend it highly enough. Crusaders and Revolutionaries of the Thirteenth Century: De Montfort is a wonderful book for anyone interested in medieval history, either for leisure, research or study. The narrative is so eminently readable that you find yourself forgetting it is not a novel, it is so enjoyable.

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This is an excellent narrative history of the De Montfort family and their position within the rivalries and the alignments that characterised the medieval period. Clearly the family was one to be reckoned with and has a place in the slow evolution of rule by agreement rather than by divine right.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Darren Baker

A CALIFORNIA NATIVE, Darren Baker has lived in the Czech Republic since 1992. His biographies include Henry III: The Great King England Never Knew It Had (The History Press, 2017), Simon de Montfort and theRise of the English Nation (Amberley, 2018) and The Two Eleanors of Henry III (Pen & Sword, 2019).

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