Sir Steven Runciman profiles a fabled Englishman, concerned with the political and military relationships between East and West.
It is remarkable that the two medieval English kings whose glory has shone brightest down the ages are the two who most eagerly sacrificed the interests of their kingdom for grandiose foreign wars. Neither Richard I nor Henry V concerned himself much with the welfare of England. Both regarded the country as a source of wealth and power to be expended upon battles abroad. During a reign of ten years, King Richard spent less than six months in England. His wars and their consequences involved his subjects in costs that could only be met by heavy financial exactions; and the chief merit of his reign was that it tested the administration developed by his father Henry II and that it enabled one of the ablest of English statesmen, Hubert Walter, to improve and strengthen the governmental system.