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From 1337 to 1453 England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. Though it was a small, poor country, England for most of those "hundred years" won the battles, sacked the towns and castles, and dominated the war. The protagonists of the Hundred Years War are among the most colorful in European history: Edward III, the Black Prince; Henry V, who was later immortalized by Shakespeare; the splendid but inept John II, who died a prisoner in London; Charles V, who ...
From 1337 to 1453 England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. Though it was a small, poor country, England for most of those "hundred years" won the battles, sacked the towns and castles, and dominated the war. The protagonists of the Hundred Years War are among the most colorful in European history: Edward III, the Black Prince; Henry V, who was later immortalized by Shakespeare; the splendid but inept John II, who died a prisoner in London; Charles V, who very nearly overcame England; and the enigmatic Charles VII, who at last drove the English out. Desmond Seward's critically-acclaimed account of the Hundred Years War brings to life all of the intrigue, beauty, and royal to-the-death-fighting of that legendary century-long conflict.
1. Valois or Plantagenet? 1328-1340
2. Crécy 1340-1350
3. Poitiers and the Black Prince 1350-1360
4. Charles the Wise 1360-1380
5. Richard II: A Lost Peace 1380-1399
6. Burgundy and Armagnac: England's Opportunity 1399-1413
7. Henry V and Agincourt 1413-1422
8. John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France 1422-1429
9. 'The Witch of Orleans' 1429-1435
10. 'Sad Tidings' 1435-1450
11. The End: 'A Dismal Fight' 1450-1453
Appendix: A Note on CurrencyChronology
Posted March 31, 2009
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First, this is a truly magnifent work which can be easily read and understood and which paints the entire period with a broad brush with delicate strokes. It is a bit unbalanced in that it usually paints the "enemy" in a very disparaging light. After reading this book, I no longer know how "chivalry" was or is defined. My idea of chivalry did not include the raping of women, killing of captives, and killing of babies. My idea of chivalry would have precluded such acts and would have caused truly chivalrous knights to have interceded on the behalf of the victims of such acts. This book also shows how petulant a king could be if he perceived that he had been wronged by deprivation of his inheritance ( i.e., all or a portion of France). It did not matter that thousands would die and massive treasure spent to gain or re-gain that inheritance. Then he justifies it by claiming that "it is God's will that he have the questioned lands." Woe is me. I had always thought of the great kings as being above this kind of thinking and behavior. It seems amazing to me how easy it is for people to validate and excuse the need to murder, after all "God decreed it." Somehow, I believe that those suffering from such delusions made it to the permanent barbeque rather than the streets of gold. The author does a very commendable service with his diagrams and descriptions of the various battles. One of the most interesting characters is "Old John" Talbot who seems to have done a magnificent job until finally being overcome. One of the most chivalrous acts was indeed performed by Charles V when he refused to allow the desecration of Talbot's tomb saying that no one could defeat him in life and it would be wrong to attack him after death. CharlesV clearly meant that Talbot had earned respect and honor during his life and should be honored and respected in death. The author clearly shows what happens when a divided country attempts to take on a military objective which is not fully supported and financed by that country. One wonders whether or not the King's goal ever became a national goal. The only real unification clearly obvious was based on the motivation of greed after treasures from the defeated realm began to pour into England. The author also writes in a very interewsting way about "greater and lesser men." The last time I was on a battlefield (actual), all men bled red. When you are down and someone dashes to your rescue, you do not look up and inquire about his income level or land holdings before allowing him to drag your behind to safety. If a poor man dies attempting to save your life, is he a "lesser man?" Anyway, it is a great book and I would recommend that it be among the first, if not the first, that you read when taking on English history.
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Posted July 23, 2010
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Posted February 15, 2012
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