Beautifully written, even though it is over fifty years old originally. Well-researched and always interesting, just as Eleanor herself was always interesting.
My only concern is that I would not recommend this text as a first read about Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is quite in-depth and may be intimidating for those who are not huge history nerds like myself - there are so many people in and out of Eleanor's life that it is hard to keep track if one does not already have a solid foundation.
Still, I recommend it highly, absolutely, 100%. Such a fascinating woman in a time when women were never more than an afterthought in the successes of their husbands. Eleanor had many successes in her own right, and outlived two husbands and eight of her ten children (with Henry II). As for her two daughters with Louis VII, I can not say, as history has not given us much information about them. Wonderful, wonderful book.
The scholarship of the book is unquestionably extensive and probably exhaustive. There is a lot of information, most of it pertinent, some of it pretty irrelevant to any but the most deeply involved reader.
I evemtia;;u quickly of the style that attempts to imitate the chroniclers she relied on for her research and that inhibits understanding. Her personalization through constantly referring to the Angevin, Plantagenet, Capetian or Poitevin nature or character is silly and unnecessary. Despite the Roman Catholic Church's and especially their pope's involvement in the politics and even warfare, her apparent affection for the institution is troubling and makes one question her reliability in other matters.
The book is a fine read if exhausting in some of the tedious accounts of marriages and petty local politics. It is a credit to the author that what appears to be the magnum opus of her life's work has stood up so well for more than a half-century. She captures well the sweep of the historical trends that included 2 crusades and huge geopolitical changes in northwestern Europe. The reader appreciates better the life and role of what is certainly the most adept and important woman of her period, when women were not even recognized as people.
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