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4.0 1
by Juliet Barker

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Barker tells the dramatic story of the thirty years when England ruled France at the point of a sword. Henry V’s second invasion of France in 1417 launched a campaign that would place the crown of France on an English head. The appearance of a visionary peasant girl, Joan of Arc, was able to halt the English advance, but not for long.


Barker tells the dramatic story of the thirty years when England ruled France at the point of a sword. Henry V’s second invasion of France in 1417 launched a campaign that would place the crown of France on an English head. The appearance of a visionary peasant girl, Joan of Arc, was able to halt the English advance, but not for long.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
England’s little-studied conquest of France during the Hundred Years War is absorbingly recounted by Barker. In 1417, Henry V invaded France to annex Normandy, which he believed to be his rightful inheritance. The fallout of this invasion played out over the next 30 years, as Henry conquered Normandy, and France’s weak, fitfully mad Charles VI conceded in giving his daughter Katherine to wed Henry, who became regent of France. The next few years saw the deaths of both Henry and Charles, England’s attempt to extend its rule beyond Normandy, and, in 1424, the rise of a peasant girl named Jehanne d’Arc, who led a group of disaffected French against the English at Orléans and crowned Charles VII king of France. Although Henry V’s son, Henry VI, again tried marriage—to Margaret of Anjou—to protect his French kingdom, he actually gave up lands, strengthening the hand of Charles VII, who in just 12 months swept the English away. With her crisp storytelling and meticulous historical research, Barker (Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England) vividly narrates a tale of political intrigue and military strategy that reveals power-hungry English kings and the fierce defense of France by one of its most famous heroines. 3 maps. Agent: Andrew Lownie, Andrew Lownie Literary Agency (U.K.). (Feb.)
Wall Street Journal
Barker weaves strands of contemporary evidence into a fluent account of a complex but fascinating era. There is a steady succession of treaties, marriages, murders, massacres, famines, sieges, battles and skirmishes, but Barker has an eye for the kind of detail that can illuminate the mindset of the long-dead.
— Stephen Brumwell
Barker weaves together the threads of an extremely complicated story, involving infighting among English notables for positions in France, the major roles of Burgundians (creating essentially a French civil war) and Scots in the fighting, and the double-dealing of many French leaders. The continuous fighting caused enormous destruction and population loss, especially in Normandy, and very few participants gained honor in the struggle, although Charles VII comes across here as a more effective leader than how he is usually portrayed. Highly detailed with valuable information on the huge human and financial resources England invested during the war's final decades, the book is nonetheless engaging and well written.
— F. J. Baumgartner
Washington Times
[A] lucid guide to this very complicated period...Barker's narrative combines high drama and low humor. It could be argued that both the origin and end of the English Kingdom of France was a dynastic comedy of errors...Barker is both learned and lucid in bringing alive the characters, the struggle and the ultimate futility of it all.
— Aram Bakshian, Jr.
Library Journal
While most readers are familiar with the great battles and principal characters of the notoriously lengthy Hundred Years' War (1337–1453), which raged between England and France, the turbulent 30-year period of English rule on the continent has until now received little attention. In the aftermath of the peace established by the 1420 Treaty of Troyes, England set a course on maintaining its newly acquired territory in the face of continued resistance and internal divisions. Picking up where she left off in her last work, Agincourt, British literary biographer and medievalist Baker delves deeply into the world of the mentally disturbed Henry VI of England, the indecisive French dauphin who would become Charles VII, and the saintly Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc. She has produced a first-rate, fluid account of this little-understood period in European history. VERDICT Baker's narrative treatment is packed with details of an administrative, military, and political nature, leaving no aspect of the turbulent period untouched but making for a less than stimulating adventure for readers unless they come to the topic hungry for these details. Yet Conquest fills a gap in the historiography and may be invaluable for serious students and scholars of the era.—Brian Odom, Pelham P.L., AL

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Harvard University Press
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What People are Saying About This

Suzi Feay
[T]his is a tale of warlords and ruthless killers … the ideals of chivalry were left in the mud at Agincourt and this book is inevitably darker in tone than its predecessor. Still, a baffling, tragic and wasteful episode has now been turned into military history of a high order. For England and Saint George!
Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday
Andrew Holgate
[T]he story of how Henry V swept all before him, how his relatives under the infant Henry VI bickered over his conquests, how Joan of Arc rallied the French and how Charles VII won his country back, makes for engrossing reading.
Andrew Holgate, The Year's Best History Books, Sunday Times
Dominic Sandbrook
Juliet Barker takes the story to 1450 in her compelling Conquest: The English Kingdom of France … which tells how England threw away Henry's legacy in a sorry tale of lost battles, political bickering and financial mismanagement. Plus ça change, indeed.
Dominic Sandbrook, History Books of the Year, Daily Telegraph
Bernard Cornwell
Juliet Barker's new book is a magnificently readable account of the last four decades of [the Hundred Years' War] … I thought Agincourt was a superb book, but Conquest is even better. Once upon a time there was an English kingdom in France and Juliet Barker has brought it to extraordinary life.
Bernard Cornwell, Mail on Sunday
Jonathan Sumption
The story is worth telling and Barker tells it superbly well. Her judgements are shrewd. Her understanding of the complex politics of the period is impressive. She writes in a spare, elegant style … There was a need for a good history of the failed enterprises of the English. Juliet Barker's book supplies it handsomely.
Jonathan Sumption, Literary Review

Meet the Author

Juliet Barker is the author of Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England, and one of Britain's most distinguished literary biographers and medievalists.

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Conquest: The English Kingdom of France 1417-1450 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Panoply More than 1 year ago
This book has a very good narrative flow and describes the times in an unusual (for a history book) and engaging way. The focus on Joan of Arc is pronounced, but this is a part of the charm of this book.