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Late Medieval England, 1399-1509. (Reviews).

Late Medieval England 1399-1509. A.J. Pollard. Longman. [pounds sterling]50.00. 454 pages. ISBN 0-582-03134-6. This latest title in Longman's History of Medieval England is by an historian widely recognised as one of the leading experts in the field. His aim is to 'bring together the product of a good part of half a century's research . . . by many historians'. Our understanding of the 'long' fourteenth century has been radically altered by this new research. The format is the traditional 'king-centred' one; it begins with Henry IV's usurpation of the Throne and ends with the death of Henry VII. If the format is traditional the approach adheres to the 'new learning' and rejects the traditional Whig interpretation of the period as one of chaos and instability. The text is divided into three parts. The first discusses the politics under Lancastrian rule (1399-1461); the second is a more discursive study of English society during the whole period of the book; the third looks at the political conflicts under the York and early Tudor dynasties. While this period was, he concludes, 'politically unsettled, it was socially stable'. The century was different not because it saw military conflicts but because these were of a dynastic order which affected government. The real end of the 'middle ages' came with the Reformation, not before.
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2002
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