Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle that Made England

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Little, Brown and Company, 2006 - History - 445 pages
"Two armies face off across a sodden plateau in northeastern France, each waiting for the other to make the first move. On one side are the English, suffering from dysentery and starvation, their numbers devastated. Arrayed against them is a rested and well-fed French army, a sea of burnished armor and menacing weaponry primed to slaughter the foolish invaders. Nevertheless, the charismatic and brilliant English king, twenty-eight-year-old Henry V, defies conventional military wisdom and leads his "band of brothers" forward. His troops are outnumbered six to one." "What follows is one of the most remarkable battles in history, celebrated for almost six centuries as the classic triumph of the underdog in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Immortalized by Shakespeare and by contemporary historians, the battle of Agincourt has been embellished and edited by the quill of unbridled nationalism. Now, drawing on a wide range of primary sources and original research, medievalist Juliet Barker casts aside the myth and shows us the truth behind Henry's invasion of France and the showdown at Agincourt. She paints a narrative of the entire campaign, from the preparations to the reaping of the spoils. We are there in the English camps as common men struggle to secure buckles and laces with numb fingers; in the French front lines as petulant noblemen squabble over positions in the vanguard; and in the deep mud as heavily armed knights stumble and struggle under a barrage of arrows so thick and fast that it darkens the skies." "Barker also takes us beyond the battlefield to bring into focus the dynamics of medieval life in peace and war. We meet ordinary and extraordinary people such as Margaret Merssh, a female blacksmith who forges arms in the Tower of London; Lord Grey of Codnor, who pawns his own armor to pay his soldiers' wages; and Raoul de Gaucourt, the gallant French knight who surrenders himself into English custody simply because the code of chivalry compels him to do so."--BOOK JACKET. Also includes information on archers, armour, chivalry, coats of arms, gunpowder, heralds, horses, knights, men at arms, prisoners, ships, tournaments, Tower of London, wine, women, etc.

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User Review  - Medievalgirl - LibraryThing

This was another of my 'essay reads' which has sat on my shelf for years but only started when needed for an assignment. I have not yet read the book in its entirety , but I am already engrossed. What ... Read full review

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User Review  - john257hopper - LibraryThing

Detailed and well written account of the whole campaign around this most famous battle and its aftermath. The battle itself is only one 25 page chapter out of a nearly 400 page book, but the narrative ... Read full review

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