Seven Kings of England Critical Essays

Geoffrey Trease


(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Trease has written a colorful and fast-paced survey of English history with the lively biographical profiles included in the Seven Kings of England. Although written in an informal and pleasant style suitable for young readers, the book is more than a tapestry of people, places, and events; it is also a careful accounting of historical details that corrects false statements and reinterprets reputations and the forces behind events.

In his foreword, Trease states that “the particular seven kings in this book have been chosen for the dramatic quality in their lives and the interest (though not always the excellence) of their characters.” He adds that he also considered it important that a variety of periods be represented: Saxon, Norman, Plantagenet, Stuart, and modern. Trease notes that he did not include a Tudor king but had represented that family well in his companion volume, The Seven Queens of England (1953).

Even though the chapters in Seven Kings of England are brief, Trease offers the young reader much detail and information about each of the rulers. He includes many stories and anecdotes that add flavor and humanity to the factual information. Each of the kings becomes a flesh-and-blood person, not simply a name in a history book. Trease accomplishes this feat by including descriptions of the rulers, both physical and emotional, as well as information about family relationships. Nevertheless, he avoids...

(The entire section is 421 words.)