Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Just the Facts: Book Discussion Recap from October 19

Thankfully, the scarecrows in front of the Broadway entrance to the library did not scare people away from the book discussion last night.  Neither did I see any crows.  Many thanks to the nine people who attended last night.  Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

Our book last night was The Greatest Knight:  the remarkable life of William Marshal, the power behind five English thrones by Thomas Asbridge.  William Marshal was born sometime in 1147, the third son of a minor Anglo-Norman aristocrat.  According to the laws of primogeniture, he was entitled to little, if anything of his father’s small holdings and had to make his own way in the world, attaching himself in service to a lord as a knight, a professional soldier.  What ensued was a real life Game of Thrones, full of war, treachery, alliances, chivalry, and heroism.  When his life ended an astounding, for the time, seventy-two years later, he was the very wealthy earl of Pembroke and the regent of England, protecting the rights and kingdom of the child king Henry III.  In between, he fought in many battles, including the Crusades, competed in countless tournaments, bedded an English queen, fathered a dynasty of his own, oversaw the birth and signing of the Magna Carta, and faithfully served five English kings.  In an era when loyalties changed for a bag of silver or a tract of land, William Marshal stood as an icon to loyalty and service.  Our discussion was active and varied and much less bloody than medieval combat.  We spoke about feudalism, the Magna Carta, chivalry, the rights of the Church versus those of monarchs, the status of common people,  and much more.  A good time was had by all.

Our next meeting will be on November 16th at 7:00 pm.  The book to be discussed, Marco Polo:  the journey that changed the world by John Man, is available at the Circulation Desk.  All are welcome.

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