Simon de Montfort and the Rise of the English Nation by Darren Baker
Like his crusading father before him, Simon de Montfort's combination of charisma and fearlessness made him one of the greatest men of his age. This biography follows his life from his birth in France and arrival in England to his defeat and death at Evesham in 1265. Along the way he succeeded in establishing a constitutional monarchy and, in the act he is most famous for, broadening the scope of representation in Parliament. King Henry III's long reign (1216-1272) saw many changes taking place in England and on the Continent, including a re-awakening in national identity not seen since before the Norman Conquest two centuries earlier. Simon de Montfort's recognition and cultivation of this growing awareness was instrumental in his rebellion and takeover of the government. Not for another four hundred years, until the advent of Oliver Cromwell, would England see a revolution led by a figure of comparable stature.