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A good, short introduction to a Norman king that I knew very little about previously I enjoyed the use of the relatively scarce primary source material, which was well applied and made me want to follow up some of the chronicles indetail, and as with all the books in this series that I ve read, the images at the centre made a valuable contribution to the points made in the book My criticisms would be that the ending was very abrupt, and I feel like as a total Norman novice the events A good, short introduction to a Norman king that I knew very little about previously I enjoyed the use of the relatively scarce primary source material, which was well applied and made me want to follow up some of the chronicles indetail, and as with all the books in this series that I ve read, the images at the centre made a valuable contribution to the points made in the book My criticisms would be that the ending was very abrupt, and I feel like as a total Norman novice the events leading up to and following on from his death could have been expanded upon This is an excellent account of the life and reign of William Rufus Written with verve and style it isinterested in the character assassination of William than his actual assassination and is skilful in negotiating the minefield of contradictory sources and myriad motivations Following on from his father, the conqueror was always going to be a tall order though Gillingham emphasises both his military skill not least in spending the right money at the right time to achieve a military v This is an excellent account of the life and reign of William Rufus Written with verve and style it isinterested in the character assassination of William than his actual assassination and is skilful in negotiating the minefield of contradictory sources and myriad motivations Following on from his father, the conqueror was always going to be a tall order though Gillingham emphasises both his military skill not least in spending the right money at the right time to achieve a military victory The problem of his brothers Robert and Henry was never far from view as was the need to retain command of an empire across the channel coupled with hostility closer to home in Scotland andproblematically in Wales Gillingham also finds time to focus on other aspects of Williams character that were criticised not least, his supposedly deviant sexual proclivities This is all dealt with carefully and with out lapses into prurience Indeed, Gillingham is crystal clear on the sources he islikely to trust and the pros and cons of contemporary chroniclers Overall, despite the brevity expected from this series, Gillingham manages a wide ranging discussion of many aspects and provides a useful bibliography The death of Rufus is dealt with in a few lines and he is true to his word in seeing this aspect as a possible distraction from the very real achievements of a life lived as a Norman king We cannot say whether or not Rufus was assassinated we can beconfident that he was the target of an attempted character assassination William II seems to be one of the most overlooked monarchs in British history There is not much information about him as an individual and he is mostly remembered for his conflict with the Church He was also a king overshadowed by his father and his achievements, depicted by his contemporaries and his own brother as an oppressor and thus, with no otheWe cannot say whether or not Rufus was assassinated we can beconfident that he was the target of an attempted character assassination William II seems to be one of the most overlooked monarchs in British history There is not much information about him as an individual and he is mostly remembered for his conflict with the Church He was also a king overshadowed by his father and his achievements, depicted by his contemporaries and his own brother as an oppressor and thus, with no other surviving evidence, remembered as an angry and unpopular king This book, however, offers compelling insight into William s military exploits and skill, giving us a glimpse of his ambition and schemes We cannot be certain about his character, but his actions prove that he was a competent and resourceful ruler He engaged in numerous campaigns and became thoroughly exprienced in warfare He might not have been particularly admired in England, but in France he was quite popular He employed a chivalrous style of fighting and was quite merciful, an aspect of his character which proved dangerous for him in the end For me, this book was a first since I d never read anything about William Rufus before I hope that at some point in the future, historians will be in a better position to evaluate this almost forgotten king and present acomplete image of his reign Reading the book made me wonder about all the things that he could have accomplished if his life hadn t ended so soon An interesting, clear headed and informative book about a king other historians don t write about. Master historian John Gillingham paints an illustrious picture of a king famous for being assassinated by devoting notthan a couple of paragraphs to his demise The author focuses instead on William Rufus hidden record as a powerful ruler much in the model of his father, his rule shaped by the complexity of the new Anglo Norman world he inherited Gillingham dispenses a professional assessment of the ways in which the king s near contemporary monastic biographers sought to damage his char Master historian John Gillingham paints an illustrious picture of a king famous for being assassinated by devoting notthan a couple of paragraphs to his demise The author focuses instead on William Rufus hidden record as a powerful ruler much in the model of his father, his rule shaped by the complexity of the new Anglo Norman world he inherited Gillingham dispenses a professional assessment of the ways in which the king s near contemporary monastic biographers sought to damage his character and legacy to further their own narrative praising the archbishop he was often at odds with A very enjoyable short read on a less well documented monarch Gillingham clearly makes good use of the limited source material available and provides a concise yet insightful overview However, it was slightly disappointing purely because I had thoroughly enjoyed the biography in this series on Henry II far , but this by no means makes this a bad read Definitely one for those wishing to learnabout early medieval kings. A good, solid, and short account of King William II or William Rufus, filled with the lively prose of the John Gillingham. 3.5 5I wanted to like this a bit , but it was very interesting I ve mainly heard not great things about William II or William Rufus And I like that Gillingham decided to take the line that it s wrong He s mainly seen as preface to Henry I and, even in this biography, it felt like it was going that way. `DOWNLOAD E-PUB ☠ William II (Penguin Monarchs): The Red King ↾ William II , or William Rufus, will always be most famous for his death killed by an arrow while out hunting, perhaps through accident or perhaps murder But, as John Gillingham makes clear in this elegant book, as the son and successor to William the Conqueror it was William Rufus who had to establish permanent Norman rule A ruthless, irascible man, he frequently argued acrimoniously with his older brother Robert over their father s inheritance but he also handed out effective justice, leaving as his legacy one of the most extraordinary of all medieval buildings, Westminster Hall