“[Puts] the Magna Carta in its proper historical context… Dan Jones triumphantly answers the questions he poses in his Introduction, about how it came to be granted, what it meant at the time, and what it should mean to us today.”
—Andrew Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of Storm of War and Napoleon
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plantagenets, a short, lively, action-packed history of how the Magna Carta came to be.
The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document that dwells on tax relief and greater fishing rights, and how did it gain legendary status?
In this 800th anniversary year, Dan Jones takes us back to 1215, the turbulent time when the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty between England’s King John and a group of self-interested, violent barons who were tired of his high taxes and endless foreign wars. The treaty would fail within two months of its confirmation.
But this important document marked the first time a king was forced to obey his own laws. Jones’s Magna Carta follows the story of the Magna Carta’s creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England and is a book that will appeal to fans of microhistories of pivotal years like 1066, 1491, and especially 1776—when American patriots, inspired by that long-ago defiance, dared to pick up arms against another English king.