For all the flaws of Britain’s history there is also a lot of fascinating things to be proud of which are fascinating and still have an affect on our lives today, not just in the UK but in other parts of the world also. One of these things was the creation of the Magna Carta.
The creation of the Magna Carta is fascinating in that we can still see its influence when it comes to lawmaking and the judicial process today.
David Starkey’s book on the the origins of the Magna Carta looks at the architects of the Charter and the people who had a certain degree of influence on its formation and what it became.
Magna Carta: The True Story Behind the Charter is a matter of a fact history of the creation of the Magna Carta if not an academic one, despite this we learn about the struggles that were gone through in order for it to appear. As well as this, David Starkey also dedicates a section in the appendix on how the Charter was revised in 1215, 1216 and 1225.
Again David Starkey’s book is not an academic text which you’ll easily notice in that it is easy to read and doesn’t assume you have a vast amount of knowledge on English history (I imagine so at the least, I personally find history fascinating and will read any form of book available about any period of history, within reason). It also assesses some of the myths that have arisen around the creation of the Magna Carta and facts that you may not have been aware of beforehand. For example King John did not sign into existence the Magna Carta because the chances are he couldn’t read or write, he stamped his seal of approval instead. Also the Charter was approved Runnymede because the local terrain would not allow for a pitch battle between King John’s men and the Barons at the time.
This book was released in 2015 marking the 800 year anniversary of its original formation. I actually met David Starkey when he was promoting his book in 2015 at the Chester Literature Festival, he did a talk about the Charter at the Chester Town Hall and his enthusiasm for the related topic really shone through, you’ll notice this when he talks about a desired part of history if you’ve seen him on the TV or in the Internet. He is also well known for not pulling his punches and not being afraid to say what he thinks. When I met him however, he was an absolute gentleman and was kind enough to sign a copy of his book for me. [Extra note 3rd July 2020: It’s been sad to hear he’s been in the news recently for some comments he made, despite this, it’s still a good book he’s written]
David Starkey writes in a clear non patronising way and he has something which I like to see in any history related book I read which is pictures and photographs. I know it is not wholly relevant but it always help in visualising the world in which is being talked about.