'Bad' King John has the unenviable widespread reputation of being the worst king ever to sit on the throne of England. While many historians have tried to portray the king in a more positive light, Sean McGlynn shows that John's reputation for evil and incompetence is well deserved and founded on clear evidence. Here was a king who lost an empire, murdered his young nephew, starved a political opponent's wife and son to death, fled from battle, preyed on the wives and daughters of the great barons and ended his reign in 1216 with London and half of England under the control of a French invasion force. Sean McGlynn's new and original research also shows for the first time how these troubled times saw the emergence of a popular hero who is the most likely real-life inspiration for the Robin Hood stories. John's reign was one of high drama, personal intrigue, cruel violence and constant warfare that led to open rebellion against his rule and resulted in June 1215 in the most famous document in English history, Magna Carta, the 800th anniversary of which is being celebrated this year.
Sean McGlynn is the author of four history books including the widely praised Blood Cries Afar: The Forgotten Invasion of England 1216. He is a regular contributor to The Spectator, BBC History Magazine and History Today and reviews for leading academic journals (over 100 books for prestigious English Historical Review). He has been interviewed over fifty times across the UK and abroad and recently featured on BBC Radio 4's history programme Things We Forgot to Remember with Michael Portillo. Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he is currently Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern History at the University of Plymouth and History Lecturer for the Open University. He lives just outside Bath.