At the same time, however, several points should be conceded. Like the lecturing professor I've mentioned a time or two now, there’s an awful lot of knowledge packed into Cantor's head. Reading The Last Knight may be a scattershot, shotgun affair, but there’s a lot of information packed into its slender pages. Some of it may be debatable (for example, whether Gaunt's "legacy" really ought to include any particular blame for the institution of slavery, which did not occur for almost two hundred years after his death). And there's considerable grist for thought about Gaunt, a man who could never be king and who was largely demonized by Shakespeare as the founder of the Lancastrian branch of the royal family. Cantor suggests that Gaunt did far less to unseat his nephew, Richard II, than many have contended, and that Gaunt was in fact doing his best to prop his nephew up until his death. After his death, however, Richard was not so fortunate: Gaunt's son deposed Richard and became Henry IV.
There is a measure of fascination associated with watching how the many strands of social culture can intersect. I question some of Cantor's assumptions about Gaunt as the "playboy warrior," largely because Cantor's conclusions are frequently based on supposition or speculation rather than actual fact. Flawed though it may be, however, one can still learn a great deal about the Middle Ages and English nobility from The Last Knight.