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About Dan Jones
Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist. His books, including The Plantagenets, Magna Carta, The Templars and The Colour of Time, have sold more than one million copies worldwide. He has written and hosted dozens of TV shows including the acclaimed Netflix/Channel 5 series 'Secrets of Great British Castles'. For ten years Dan wrote a weekly column for the London Evening Standard and his writing has also appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, GQ and The Spectator.
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"Simply the best popular history of the Middle Ages there is."—The Sunday Times (UK)
The New York Times bestselling author returns with an epic history of the medieval world—a rich and complicated reappraisal of an era whose legacy and lessons we are still living with today.
When the once-mighty city of Rome was sacked by barbarians in 410 and lay in ruins, it signaled the end of an era--and the beginning of a thousand years of profound transformation. In a gripping narrative bursting with big names—from Sts Augustine and Attila the Hun to the Prophet Muhammad and Eleanor of Aquitaine—Dan Jones charges through the history of the Middle Ages. Powers and Thrones takes readers on a journey through an emerging Europe, the great capitals of late Antiquity, as well as the influential cities of the Islamic West, and culminates in the first European voyages to the Americas.
The medieval world was forged by the big forces that still occupy us today: climate change, pandemic disease, mass migration, and technological revolutions. This was the time when the great European nationalities were formed; when the basic Western systems of law and governance were codified; when the Christian Churches matured as both powerful institutions and the regulators of Western public morality; and when art, architecture, philosophical inquiry and scientific invention went through periods of massive, revolutionary change.
The West was rebuilt on the ruins of an empire and emerged from a state of crisis and collapse to dominate the world. Every sphere of human life and activity was transformed in the thousand years covered by Powers and Thrones. As we face a critical turning point in our own millennium, Dan Jones shows that how we got here matters more than ever.
The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.
The inspiration for the Channel 5 series Britain's Bloody Crown
The crown of England changed hands five times over the course of the fifteenth century, as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. In this riveting follow-up to The Plantagenets, celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest-reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors.
Some of the greatest heroes and villains of history were thrown together in these turbulent times, from Joan of Arc to Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt marked the high point of the medieval monarchy, and Richard III, who murdered his own nephews in a desperate bid to secure his stolen crown. This was a period when headstrong queens and consorts seized power and bent men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, this dramatic narrative history revels in bedlam and intrigue. It also offers a long-overdue corrective to Tudor propaganda, dismantling their self-serving account of what they called the Wars of the Roses.
A New York Times bestseller, this major new history of the knights Templar is “a fresh, muscular and compelling history of the ultimate military-religious crusading order, combining sensible scholarship with narrative swagger" – Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem
A faltering war in the middle east. A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies.
Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since.
In this groundbreaking narrative history, Dan Jones tells the true story of the Templars for the first time in a generation, drawing on extensive original sources to build a gripping account of these Christian holy warriors whose heroism and alleged depravity have been shrouded in myth. The Templars were protected by the pope and sworn to strict vows of celibacy. They fought the forces of Islam in hand-to-hand combat on the sun-baked hills where Jesus lived and died, finding their nemesis in Saladin, who vowed to drive all Christians from the lands of Islam. Experts at channeling money across borders, they established the medieval world’s largest and most innovative banking network and waged private wars against anyone who threatened their interests.
Then, as they faced setbacks at the hands of the ruthless Mamluk sultan Baybars and were forced to retreat to their stronghold in Cyprus, a vindictive and cash-strapped King of France set his sights on their fortune. His administrators quietly mounted a damning case against the Templars, built on deliberate lies and false testimony. On Friday October 13, 1307, hundreds of brothers were arrested, imprisoned and tortured, and the order was disbanded amid lurid accusations of sexual misconduct and heresy. They were tried by the Pope in secret proceedings and their last master was brutally tortured and burned at the stake. But were they heretics or victims of a ruthlessly repressive state? Dan Jones goes back to the sources tobring their dramatic tale, so relevant to our own times, to life in a book that is at once authoritative and compulsively readable.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets, a lively, action-packed history of how the Magna Carta came to be—by the author of Powers and Thrones.
The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles—even its language—can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document and how did it gain such legendary status?
Dan Jones takes us back to the turbulent year of 1215, when, beset by foreign crises and cornered by a growing domestic rebellion, King John reluctantly agreed to fix his seal to a document that would change the course of history. At the time of its creation the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty drafted by a group of rebel barons who were tired of the king's high taxes, arbitrary justice, and endless foreign wars. The fragile peace it established would last only two months, but its principles have reverberated over the centuries.
Jones's riveting narrative follows the story of the Magna Carta's creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England, and charts the high points in its unexpected afterlife. Reissued by King John's successors it protected the Church, banned unlawful imprisonment, and set limits to the exercise of royal power. It established the principle that taxation must be tied to representation and paved the way for the creation of Parliament.
In 1776 American patriots, inspired by that long-ago defiance, dared to pick up arms against another English king and to demand even more far-reaching rights. We think of the Declaration of Independence as our founding document but those who drafted it had their eye on the Magna Carta.
For more than one thousand years, Christians and Muslims lived side by side, sometimes at peace and sometimes at war. When Christian armies seized Jerusalem in 1099, they began the most notorious period of conflict between the two religions. Depending on who you ask, the fall of the holy city was either an inspiring legend or the greatest of horrors. In Crusaders, Dan Jones interrogates the many sides of the larger story, charting a deeply human and avowedly pluralist path through the crusading era.
Expanding the usual timeframe, Jones looks to the roots of Christian-Muslim relations in the eighth century and tracks the influence of crusading to present day. He widens the geographical focus to far-flung regions home to so-called enemies of the Church, including Spain, North Africa, southern France, and the Baltic states. By telling intimate stories of individual journeys, Jones illuminates these centuries of war not only from the perspective of popes and kings, but from Arab-Sicilian poets, Byzantine princesses, Sunni scholars, Shi'ite viziers, Mamluk slave soldiers, Mongol chieftains, and barefoot friars.
Crusading remains a rallying call to this day, but its role in the popular imagination ignores the cooperation and complicated coexistence that were just as much a feature of the period as warfare. The age-old relationships between faith, conquest, wealth, power, and trade meant that crusading was not only about fighting for the glory of God, but also, among other earthly reasons, about gold. In this richly dramatic narrative that gives voice to sources usually pushed to the margins, Dan Jones has written an authoritative survey of the holy wars with global scope and human focus.
A chilling medieval ghost story, retold by bestselling historian Dan Jones. Published in a beautiful small-format hardback, perfect as a Halloween read or a Christmas gift.
One winter, in the dark days of King Richard II, a tailor was riding home on the road from Gilling to Ampleforth. It was dank, wet and gloomy; he couldn't wait to get home and sit in front of a blazing fire.
Then, out of nowhere, the tailor is knocked off his horse by a raven, who then transforms into a hideous dog, his mouth writhing with its own innards. The dog issues the tailor with a warning: he must go to a priest and ask for absolution and return to the road, or else there will be consequences...
First recorded in the early fifteenth century by an unknown monk, The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings was transcribed from the Latin by the great medievalist M.R. James in 1922. Building on that tradition, now bestselling historian Dan Jones retells this medieval ghost story in crisp and creepy prose.
In the summer of 1381, ravaged by poverty and oppressed by taxes, the people of England rose up and demanded that their voices be heard. A ragtag army, led by the mysterious Wat Tyler and the visionary preacher John Ball, rose up against the fourteen-year-old Richard II and his most powerful lords and knights, who risked their property and their lives in a desperate battle to save the English crown. Dan Jones brings this incendiary moment to life and captures both the idealism and brutality of that fateful summer, when a brave group of men and women dared to challenge their overlords, demand that they be treated equally, and fight for freedom.
Dan Jones and Marina Amaral tell the epic, harrowing, and world-changing story—in narrative form with colorized images—of global conflict from the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the obliteration of Hiroshima by the first atom bomb.The World Aflame embraces not only the total conflagrations of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 and the tensions, ideologies and economic forces that set them in motion, but also the revolutions in Russia; civil wars in Ireland and Spain; American interventions in Latin America, colonial wars in Moroco, Ethiopia, and Palestine; and events on the domestic ‘fronts’ of the belligerent nations.A fusion of amazing pictures and well-chosen and informative words, The World Aflame offers a moving—and often terrifying—perspective on the bloodiest century in human history.
A beautifully produced account of the signing, impact and legacy of Magna Carta, a document that became one of the most influential statements in the history of democracy, as part of the stunning landmark library series.
On a summer's day in 1215 a beleaguered English monarch met a group of disgruntled barons in a meadow by the river Thames named Runnymede. Beset by foreign crisis and domestic rebellion, King John was fast running out of options. On 15 June he reluctantly agreed to fix his regal seal to a document that would change the world.
A milestone in the development of constitutional politics and the rule of law, the 'Great Charter' established an Englishman's right to Habeas Corpus and set limits to the exercise of royal power. For the first time a group of subjects had forced an English king to agree to a document that limited his powers by law and protected their rights.
Dan Jones's elegant and authoritative narrative of the making and legacy of Magna Carta is amplified by profiles of the barons who secured it and a full text of the charter in both Latin and English.
The third volume in the bestselling The Colour of Time series.
The Colour of Time ~ Women, 1850–1960 explores the many roles – domestic, social, cultural and professional – played by women across the world before second-wave feminism took hold. Using Marina Amaral's colourized images and Dan Jones's words, this survey features women both celebrated and ordinary, whether in the home or the science lab, protesting on the streets or performing on stage, fighting in the trenches or exploring the wild. This vivid and unique history brings to life and full colour the female experience in a century of extraordinary change.
Each chapter will be introduced by a woman who works in that field today and the book includes photographs of Queen Victoria, Edith Cavell, Josephine Baker, Mildred Burke, Eva Peron, Eleanor Roosevelt, Virginia Woolf, Clara Schumann, Martha Gellhorn, Simone de Beauvoir, Agatha Christie, Frida Kahlo, Emmeline Pankhurst, Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, Hattie McDaniel and Gertrude Bell; as well as revolutionaries from China to Cuba, Geishas in Japan, protestors on the Salt March, teachers and pilots, nurses and soldiers.
Reviews for The Colour of Time:
'[The Colour of Time] does something simple yet extraordinary. It takes black-and-white photos of historic events and colours them in. The effect is transformative' Telegraph
'Purists argue that colourising black and white photographs is sacrilege, but the world has always been in colour. Truth be told, monochrome is a contrivance. Human experience is always colourful' The Times
'A splash of colour is all it took to bring these historic black and white photos back to vivid, breathtaking life... Astonishing' The Sun
'Both revelatory and familiar. Amaral's skills bring 19th- and early 20th-century photographic images to wholly unexpected and vivid life... Jones offers perceptive commentary, contextualising the events and people depicted with concise skill, meaning that this fine book is hugely readable' Observer