The Conquering Family

The Conquering Family Thomas B Costain s four volume history of the Plantagenets begins with THE CONQUERING FAMILY and the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in closing with the reign of John in The tr

  • Title: The Conquering Family
  • Author: Thomas B. Costain
  • ISBN: 9780426123194
  • Page: 481
  • Format: Paperback
  • Thomas B Costain s four volume history of the Plantagenets begins with THE CONQUERING FAMILY and the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066, closing with the reign of John in 1216 The troubled period after the Norman Conquest, when the foundations of government were hammered out between monarch and people, comes to life through Costain s storytelling skillThomas B Costain s four volume history of the Plantagenets begins with THE CONQUERING FAMILY and the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066, closing with the reign of John in 1216 The troubled period after the Norman Conquest, when the foundations of government were hammered out between monarch and people, comes to life through Costain s storytelling skill and historical imagination.

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    About “Thomas B. Costain

    • Thomas B. Costain

      Costain was born in Brantford, Ontario to John Herbert Costain and Mary Schultz He attended high school there at the Brantford Collegiate Institute Before graduating from high school he had written four novels, one of which was a 70,000 word romance about Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange These early novels were rejected by publishers.His first writing success came in 1902 when the Brantford Courier accepted a mystery story from him, and he became a reporter there for five dollars a week He was an editor at the Guelph Daily Mercury between 1908 and 1910 He married Ida Randolph Spragge 1888 1975 in York, Ontario on January 12, 1910 The couple had two children, Molly Mrs Howard Haycraft and Dora Mrs Henry Darlington Steinmetz Also in 1910, Costain joined the Maclean Publishing Group where he edited three trade journals Beginning in 1914, he was a staff writer for and, from 1917, editor of Toronto based Maclean s magazine His success there brought him to the attention of The Saturday Evening Post in New York City where he was fiction editor for fourteen years.In 1920 he became a naturalized U.S citizen He also worked for Doubleday Books as an editor 1939 1946 He was the head of 20th Century Fox s bureau of literary development story department from 1934 to 1942.In 1940, he wrote four short novels but was enough of an editor not to send them out He next planned to write six books in a series he called The Stepchildren of History He would write about six interesting but unknown historical figures For his first, he wrote about the seventeenth century pirate John Ward aka Jack Ward In 1942, he realized his longtime dream when this first novel For My Great Folly was published, and it became a bestseller with over 132,000 copies sold citation needed The New York Times reviewer stated at the end of the review there will be no romantic adventure lover left unsatisfied In January 1946 he retired to spend the rest of his life writing, at a rate of about 3,000 words a day.Raised as a Baptist, he was reported in the 1953 Current Biography to be an attendant of the Protestant Episcopal Church He was described as a handsome, tall, broad shouldered man with a pink and white complexion, clear blue eyes, and a slight Canadian accent He was white haired by the time he began to write novels He loved animals and could not even kill a bug but he also loved bridge, and he did not extend the same policy to his partners He also loved movies and the theatre he met his future wife when she was performing Ruth in the The Pirates of Penzance.Costain s work is a mixture of commercial history such as The White and The Gold, a history of New France to around 1720 and fiction that relies heavily on historic events one review stated it was hard to tell where history leaves off and apocrypha begins His most popular novel was The Black Rose 1945 , centred in the time and actions of Bayan of the Baarin also known as Bayan of the Hundred Eyes Costain noted in his foreword that he initially intended the book to be about Bayan and Edward I, but became caught up in the legend of Thomas a Becket s parents an English knight married to an Eastern girl The book was a selection of the Literary Guild with a first printing of 650,000 copies and sold over two million copies in its first year.His research led him to believe that Richard III was a great monarch tarred by conspiracies, after his death, with the murder of the princes in the tower Costain supported his theories with documentation, suggesting that the real murderer was Henry VII.Costain died in 1965 at his New York City home of a heart attack at the age of 80 He is buried in the Farringdon Independent Church Cemetery in Brantford.

    899 thoughts on “The Conquering Family

    • This is the first volume of Costain's history of the Plantagenets. It begins with the civil war between Stephen and Matilda, covers the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their children, and ends with the signing of the Magna Carta and the death of King John. This is a lot of history to cover in less than 400 pages, so he's just hitting the highlights. This is dramatized non-fiction, for lack of a better description, and Costain has a strange writing style. One sentence will be quite [...]

    • Works of history range from dry, straight up re-counting of the facts to reconstructions and imaginings that have to be called "historical fiction". Even when writing scholarly history, some authors are adept at choosing and quoting facts, characters and order of presentation in such a way as to create a story line and narrative worthy of first rate fiction. If a straight recounting of facts is a 1 in terms of readability (bad), and historical fiction style non-fiction is a 10, then Costain's wr [...]

    • This is an EXCELLENT read. Not DRY at all and is a fast exciting read of history. I love the PLANTAGENET'S they are one of my all time favorite families in history! Publisher's SummaryThomas B. Costain's four-volume history of the Plantagenet's begins with The Conquering Family and the conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066, closing with the reign of John in 1216.The troubled period after the Norman Conquest, when the foundations of government were hammered out between monarch and [...]

    • I absolutely loved this book! It is the first book in a series of 4 detailing the history of England from the Conqueror to the end of the Plantagenet dynasty. It's an older book, and the historian feels free to make commentary on the history, drawing conclusions about human nature and placing value judgments on what happened. That has been a real joy. For instance, he hates the code of chivalry and points out whenever it leads rulers to focus less on the good of their subjects and more on winnin [...]

    • I first read this book, oh gosh, maybe thirty years ago. In fact, it was the very first book I ever ready about the Plantagenets, and one of the first I ever read about the middle ages. What a good choice! His writing style is so smooth (I guess you would call him Popular History) that the book almost reads like a novel. This is a good thing for a history novice. I gobbled up the rest of the series, and I think his interpretations latched into my memory as the definite versions of events. This i [...]

    • I first read Costain's four-volume history of the Plantagenet family back when I was twelve or thirteen--- long, long ago. The books have long ago dropped out of sight--- popular history published first more than half a century ago. And that's a pity. I can't say that they're academic history, or that Costain's interpretations of England from the 1140s to 1485 have held up. But these are the books that introduced me to Anglo-Norman England and to a host of figures (Henry and Eleanor, the over-ma [...]

    • Page 9:It was in an early year of the twelfth century that a handsome young man named Geoffrey, son of the Count of Anjou, fell into the habit of wearing a sprig of the yellow bloom (planta genesta) in his helmet.A magnificent historical review by Thomas Costain with plenty of details of all important characters involved in the medieval history in Great Britain.

    • Conquering Family is a marvelous summary of the Angevin era. Having previously read several works on this period, I was initially skeptical that an overview would be of much interest. However, Costain quickly proved me wrong. His insightful treatment added to my knowledge and his wonderful prose never failed to keep me engaged and entertained.

    • The Conquering Family is the first of four books chronicling the Plantagenet Kings of England; and traces the origins of the family from the marriage of Matilda (granddaughter of William the Conqueror) and Geoffrey of Anjou. Since Henry I (son of William) had died without a male heir, he named his daughter Matilda successor, but not all in England were happy with this choice, and there was a period called The Anarchy which took place as Matilda and her cousin Stephen of Blois struggled for the c [...]

    • Originally published in 1949, Thomas Costain's Conquering Family is a history of Henry II and his family. It is the first volume in a series about the Plantagenet Dynasty and is told from a wonderfully British perspective. The work discusses the succession problems created when Henry I's son died in the White Ship crash. He continues through the death of that famously hated king, John. Costain uses his British style to introduce readers to the Plantagenet's with detail and an entertaining voice. [...]

    • This is a good history, if somewhat lacking in historiography. What I mean by that is that it relates the story of the historical events, and remains accurate to the information of the time, but may delve into speculation and elaboration upon occasion based upon the author's suppositions and conjectures. In this case, only educated opinions are offered up by the author, though they may not be entirely as logical and certain as the author might suggest. Readers should be particularly wary of sent [...]

    • Costain said he wanted to write a history of England that reads like a story. Wow, did he succeed! And it really is a history with no dialogue, but he writes in such a way that you don't lose interest. An older lady I know recommended Costain to me and I've been searching for his books for about a year. I finally got the spelling of Costain right and found them a couple weeks ago. My library's catalog says they have one copy of each of his books. When I got the book, it still had one of the old [...]

    • this one surprised me. it had been on my shelf forever, it had taken me forever to find. old-school historical fiction is no longer in print after all. right off the bat i started wondering why in the world i would like this book. the writing is dry, the style is scholarly english gentleman (who i envision composing this in a huge jane austen like library), a few exclamation points were used, all in all it read more like a textbook than novel. but i "really liked it" as terms 4 stars and it def [...]

    • History for those who hate reading history. Costain does a remarkable job of bringing to life the dry historical record of the earliest Norman kings of England. He intimately describes the character of the august personages that ruled that age and brings an immediacy to the world of the late 11th and early 12th centuries. If you are one of those (and there are a great many of you) who hate reading history this is the book for you. It is a wonderful examination of an interesting aspect of English [...]

    • Medieval English history is a favourite of mine, particularly the Plantagenets and Tudors. Somehow, I haven't read much on the early Plantagenets but this book,has put it right. Although this book and the three follow-ups were written in the 1950's, Costain's writing style is just as good today. He writes in a semi-novel way but retains the facts without wandering too much away from what happened. It is really a history book but written in a way that engages the reader without being boring. I wi [...]

    • This is a great history book. Costain focuses not on dates or battles but on the personalities of the characters involved. After reading this book, you really feel like you know these famous people as people and not just as faceless drones that march through history. Its told in a type of story form, but it isn´t dumbed down either. It is a historically rich text. This is one of those books that is great for the hard core history reader and also the casual reader who is interested in English ro [...]

    • I will grant that for a more nuanced and detailed view of the history covered in the Pageant of England one might want to look elsewhere. However there is something that always brings me back Costain. He shows an obvious interest in the period and its very colorful characters. I think as an introduction to the period this book and its series cannot be surpassed. It combines masterful scholarship with a style as engrossing as any work of fiction.

    • I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading Thomas Costain! This book reads more like a novel than a work of history. I enjoyed the details about peoples' lives, their clothing, the meals they ate. Richard the Lion-Heart was a jerk and John I was a bully! They, however, were just like every other ruler of the time; Costain provides an excellent picture of the Plantagenet era, not just in England but France, Rome, and the Holy Land as well.

    • I purchased the four books in this series back in the early 80's. I ordered them through my local bookstore, didn't ask the price for whatever reason. When they came in and I went to pay for them, I was a bit shocked when the cashier related the total: $142.00 for all four. She said they were consideed to be text books. That all being said, I never regretted the money spent. I love these books!!!

    • THE book that introduced me to King Henry II of England, and I have been a devoted and loyal subject of his ever since. Any inaccuracies that exist in this book are easily addressed in W.L. Warren's "Henry II" and/or Richard Barber's "Henry Plantagenet". Unlike the latter two volumes, "The Conquering Family" also covers the reigns of Richard I (Lionheart) and John.

    • I cannot put this book down and I am looking forward to the others written about the Plantagenets of England. There is much information about their lives, and the history they were creating. Henry 11Richard the LionheartThomas a' Becketr starters. I love these books

    • This book is incredibly thorough and the author has a gift for weaving facts about medieval life into his narrative to bring the scenes to life. My only concern is that it was written so long ago and some information may have changed with further research since then.

    • I'm not sure if this is considered fiction, but it reads like a novel. Actually, this is a series. The Three Edwards, The Last of the Plantagenets, and the Magnificent Century are a great intro to the history of England's kings.

    • Costain is a storyteller at heart, and embellishes the history with descriptions of place and costume and emotion novelistically described. (He is always careful to distinguish history from story.) I'm looking forward to the remaining volumes.

    • This, and the rest of the Plantagenet series, now available on Kindle, released March 2012. But oh my, those prices!

    • I picked this one up at a book sale. Liked it so much, I thought I'd buy a newer, nicer edition. Turns out, there isn't one! Which I think is absurd, considering the quality of the writing to be found here. Over the past few years, I've learned that your average history class tends to gloss over some of the most interesting and important periods of English history. Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom gave my a glimpse into the turbulence of the the Viking Age, and the enigmatic Alfred the Great, [...]

    • I'm not sure this book deserves even 2 stars. I really can't think of any reason to recommend it. I can't believe when I was in junior high, Costain was one of my favorite authors. Having read several of Philippa Gregory's historical novels, I wanted to read some history of the Plantagenets. I went to my personal library and pulled out these books I hadn't read for well over 40 years. What a disappointment! I will try and read the next one, because I am interested in the history; but if it is as [...]

    • What starts off as a confusing jumble of Matilda's slowly becomes more clear as the historical figures make their mark on history. Costain has a different style than many historians and some may find it annoying, he takes down chivalry and a historical personage or two, to his evident delight. But, nonetheless, I enjoyed his style.More than once I recognized similarities to Game of Thrones, both in the 'black of hair' writing style and the historical figures such as Longchamp, a splendid mix of [...]

    • This is less of a history, there being no research notes, and more like a tale, the first volume of the story of England’s Plantagenet kings. The high points are the civil war under Stephen (a non-Plantegenet, by the way); Henry II, his energy, affair with the fair Rosamund, conflict with Becket, and the battles with his sons; Richard, great warrior, bad king; and John, who, at the time of this book’s publication (1949) doesn’t benefit from recent appreciations. Frequently taking the view [...]

    • Fascinating history if the first Plantagenet kings and daily life in the 12th century. The story of how England was shaped and eventually modified, then overthrew the feudal system imposed after 1066. First for four in Costain's mid 20th century series The Last Plantagenets. Beautifully written and plenty of details and asides to keep any history lover happy.

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