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Paperback Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England Book

ISBN: 0316015040

ISBN13: 9780316015042

Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

From a master historian comes an astonishing chronicle of life in medieval Europe and the battle that altered the course of an empire.

Although almost six centuries old, the Battle of Agincourt still captivates the imaginations of men and women on both sides of the Atlantic.

It has been immortalized in high culture (Shakespeare's Henry V) and low (the New York Post prints Henry's battle cry on its editorial...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


I read a lot of history and I think that this is one of the best history books ever. It was well written, concise and had significant detail explaining items I have wondered about for ages. I understand Henry V now more than ever. The author is top shelf and to be commended for her amazing work and effort. Excellent! Five Stars +

Understanding Agincourt

If you love history this is a great book. I bought it as a gift and had to read it first. I'm so glad I did. Gave you a great background and understanding of the times.

Excellent read

I cannot begin to imagine the difficulty in writing history that can be read easily. Authors who are able to do this have a special gift. I have bought many books over the years that are dry as dust and hard to chew. The author of this book does an excellent job in making the nitty gritty details stay alive and the pages easy to turn.

It was a different world

I've been interested in Agincourt from high-school medieval history when we were told, tho' not quite accurately, how Englishmen with their longbows, eventho' greatly outnumbered, defeated the French armored knights and changed the practice of warfare. Then forty-some years later, I saw Branagh's 1989 film of Shakespeare's Henry V and was stirred by the king's Crispin's day speech the morning of the battle. So I ordered Barker's book before it was released in the US and when it arrived, first read Chapters 14 & 15 about the battle itself, then Chapters 9 thru 18 about the whole campaign and its aftermath, and finally Part I `The Road to Agincourt'. But rather than impulsively reading about the battle first, I'd now recommend reading the book from the beginning to understand the battle's background. It's a fascinating book which Barker has thoroughly researched in order to give a comprehensive context. But she gives more details than I wanted to know about many of the players, their names and lineages, including many of those killed in the battle. I found it confusing trying to follow who was supporting, opposing or betraying whom, since I'm not intimately familiar with the geography and aristocracy of England and France (the book was first published in England). What it illustrates was the medieval mentality regarding land and nobility which wouldn't begin to change until 260 years later when in America it was proclaimed "... that all men are created equal ..." It also portrays their unquestioned belief in God's Providence which for many today still hasn't changed. On the other hand, she also explained many interesting details about the preparations for the campaign and contemporary technology. For example, I was pleased to learn how longbows and arrows were made and used (pages 86-9) and how an arrowhead, lodged six-inches deep into Henry's face during the battle of Shrewsbury, was extracted afterwards (pages 31-2). A seeming inconsistency is that the battle and the book are referred to as `Agincourt', but the castle near where the battle took place is called `Azincourt'. After the battle when Henry asked the French herald the castle's name, Barker quotes Henry on page 296 as saying (in French?) "... this battle will now and for ever be known as the battle of Azincourt." That's how it's spelled in National Geographic's Atlas too, but she doesn't explain how it got Anglicized to Agincourt. This book is a tribute to Henry V. Having read Barker's account of Agincourt, I'll have to get the DVD of Branagh's film and rewatch it with much greater understanding. A warning: After reading this hardcover book, I loaned it to friend and when she returned it months later, the spine was cracked its full lenght seperating the pages into two booklets. She's a gentle person who doesn't abuse books, so I examined the crack carefully. Apparently to save a pittance, the printer/binder didn't use a backstrip! So be careful.

Great History and Great Writing

A beautiful narrative overview of Henry V and Agincourt. Highly readable and very informative. Enough detail to bring this era to life for those with little background in it, yet not overwhelming in terms of detail. The author does a wonderful job bringing many of the important personalities to life.
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