England of the Plantagenet kings was a turbulent place. In politics it saw Simon de Montfort's challenge to the crown in Henry III's reign and it witness the deposition of Edward II. By contrast, and as relief, it also experienced the highly successful rules of Edward I and his grandson, Edward III. Political institutions were transformed with the development of parliament, and war, the stimulus for some of that change, was never far away. Wales was conquered and the Scottish Wars of Independence started in Edward I's reign, while Crecey and Poitiers were English triumphs under Edward III.
Beyond politics, the structure of English society was developing, from the great magnates at the top to the peasantry at the bottom. Economic changes were also significant, from the expansionary period of the thirteenth century to years of difficulty in the fourteenth, culminating in the greatest demographic disaster of historical times, the Black Death.
Embracing politics and government, kingship, the structure of society, France, Scotland, and Wales, as well as areas such as the environment, management of the land, and crime and punishment, Michael Prestwich's magisterial survey casts the Plantagenet past in a new revealing light.