The Hundred Years War, Volume 2: Trial by Fire (The Middle Ages Series)

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9780812218015: The Hundred Years War, Volume 2: Trial by Fire (The Middle Ages Series)
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A succession of catastrophes in the middle years of the fourteenth century brought France to the brink of destruction. The bankruptcy of the French state and a bitter civil war within the royal family were followed by the defeat and capture of the King of France by the Black Prince at Poitiers. A peasant revolt and a violent revolution in Paris completed the tragedy. In a humiliating treaty of partition France ceded more than a third of its territory to Edward III of England. Not for sixty years would the English again come so close to total victory.

Yet the theme of the volume is not destruction, but survival. France's great cities, provincial towns and rural communities resisted where its leaders failed. They withstood the sustained savagery of the soldiers and the free companies of brigands to undo most of Edward III's work in the following generation. England's triumphs proved to be brittle and short-lived.

Based on a wide range of contemporary sources, both printed and unprinted, The Hundred Years War, Volume 2: Trial by Fire is the absorbing continuation of Jonathan Sumption's monumental history of the Hundred Years War.

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Review:

What do most of us know of the Hundred Years War? The famous victories at Agincourt, Crecy, and Poitiers, and that it actually went on--intermittently--for a great deal longer than a hundred years. Fortunately, Jonathan Sumption is on hand to remind us that there was a great deal more to this period of medieval history that was instrumental in establishing the national consciousness of both England and France. Trial by Battle is not for the faint-hearted. Its 650 pages cover only the period from the death of Charles IV, the last Capetian King of France, to the surrender of Calais to the English in 1347. At this rate, it will take at least another six volumes to get to the end. But for those who take a deep breath and decide to go for it, Sumption more than repays the effort. He takes a decidedly old-fashioned approach to history, being short on analysis and long on narrative, but there is nothing old-fashioned about his style. He has avoided the academic pitfalls of turgid prose and inaccessibility to produce a work of great readability that challenges many traditional assumptions.

To read many historians, the Hundred Years War was a glorious period of nobility and chivalry. Sumption gives the lie to this. He shows the war to be venal, savage, and mercenary. Soldiers often gave more thought to their captives than they did for their cause, as huge ransoms could be extracted for their release. We're only talking noble hostages, mind. The ordinary foot soldier had no monetary value and was usually butchered on the spot. The same applied to civilians. This wasn't a war where human life was sanctified and the fighting was restricted to the battlefield. It had all the subtlety of the bombing of Dresden, but as the fighting was almost entirely restricted to mainland France, England created a wave of terror to force the locals into submission. "Not a man or woman of substance dared to wait in the towns and castles or in the country around; wherever our army appeared, they fled away," wrote one English observer. Sumption's readers are likely to have precisely the opposite reaction. --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

A former history fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, Jonathan Sumption is the author of The Hundred Years War, Volume 1: Trial by Battle, The Hundred Years War, Volume 3: Divided Houses, and The Hundred Years War, Volume 4: Cursed Kings, all available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A succession of catastrophes in the middle years of the fourteenth century brought France to the brink of destruction. The bankruptcy of the French state and a bitter civil war within the royal family were followed by the defeat and capture of the King of France by the Black Prince at Poitiers. A peasant revolt and a violent revolution in Paris completed the tragedy. In a humiliating treaty of partition France ceded more than a third of its territory to Edward III of England. Not for sixty years would the English again come so close to total victory. Yet the theme of the volume is not destruction, but survival. France s great cities, provincial towns and rural communities resisted where its leaders failed. They withstood the sustained savagery of the soldiers and the free companies of brigands to undo most of Edward III s work in the following generation. England s triumphs proved to be brittle and short-lived. Based on a wide range of contemporary sources, both printed and unprinted, The Hundred Years War, Volume 2: Trial by Fire is the absorbing continuation of Jonathan Sumption s monumental history of the Hundred Years War. Seller Inventory # AAS9780812218015

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Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A succession of catastrophes in the middle years of the fourteenth century brought France to the brink of destruction. The bankruptcy of the French state and a bitter civil war within the royal family were followed by the defeat and capture of the King of France by the Black Prince at Poitiers. A peasant revolt and a violent revolution in Paris completed the tragedy. In a humiliating treaty of partition France ceded more than a third of its territory to Edward III of England. Not for sixty years would the English again come so close to total victory. Yet the theme of the volume is not destruction, but survival. France s great cities, provincial towns and rural communities resisted where its leaders failed. They withstood the sustained savagery of the soldiers and the free companies of brigands to undo most of Edward III s work in the following generation. England s triumphs proved to be brittle and short-lived. Based on a wide range of contemporary sources, both printed and unprinted, The Hundred Years War, Volume 2: Trial by Fire is the absorbing continuation of Jonathan Sumption s monumental history of the Hundred Years War. Seller Inventory # AAS9780812218015

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