King Stephen and The Anarchy (Hardback)
Civil War and Military Tactics in Twelfth-Century Britain
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The Anarchy, the protracted struggle between Stephen of Blois and the Empress Matilda for the English crown between 1135 and 1154, is often seen as a disastrous breakdown in one of the best-governed kingdoms of medieval Europe. But perhaps the impact of the conflict has been overstated, and its effect on the common people across the country is hard to judge. That is why Chris Peerss fresh study of this fascinating and controversial era is of such value. He describes each phase of this civil war, in particular the castles and sieges that dominated strategic thinking, and he sets the fighting in the context of the changing tactics and military systems of the twelfth century. His fresh account of this pivotal episode in the medieval history of England will be absorbing reading anyone who is keen to gain an insight into this period of English history and has a special interest in the practice of medieval warfare.
The Anarchy is a period of history rarely described in any detail, or at least as far as I know, so I found this book a very welcome addition to my limited library about the time. Well-written, with every effort made to make clear who all the people are (so many of them had the same name!), right down to including potted biographies in a valuable appendix, ‘Who Was Who in the Anarchy’. This was a thoroughly enjoyable book.Ripperologist, February/March 2018 – reviewed by Paul Begg