There can be few military victories so complete, or achieved against such heavy odds, as that won by Henry V on 25 October 1415 against Charles VI's army at Agincourt. In the words of one contemporary French chronicler, it was the 'most disgraceful event that had ever happened to the Kingdom of France'. Christopher Hibbert's wonderfully concise account draws on the unusual number of contemporary sources available to historians to describe in lucid detail not only what happened, but how it happened. His classic account of the crushing defeat of the French at Agincourt combines historical rigour with a vigorous and very readable narrative style.
For over a hundred years England repeatedly invaded France on the pretext that her kings had a right to the French throne. France was a large, unwieldy kingdom, England was small and poor, but for the most part she dominated the war, sacking towns and castles and winning battles - including such glorious victories as Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, but then the English run of success began to fail, and in four short years she lost Normandy and finally her last stronghold in Guyenne. The protagonists of the Hundred Year War are among the most colourful in European history: for the English, Edward III, the Black Prince and Henry V, later immortalized by Shakespeare; for the French, 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 did at last drive the English out.
What history records as the Hundred Years War was in fact a succession of destructive conflicts, separated by tense intervals of truce and dishonest and impermanent peace treaties, and one of the central events in the history of England and France. It laid the foundations of France's national consciousness, even while destroying the prosperity and political preeminence which France had once enjoyed. It formed the nation's institutions, creating the germ of the absolute state of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In England, it brought intense effort and suffering, a powerful tide of patriotism, great fortune succeeded by bankruptcy, disintegration, and utter defeat. The war also brought turmoil and ruin to neighboring Scotland, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Master military historian John Keegan’s groundbreaking analysis of combat and warfare The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at the "point of maximum danger." Without the myth-making elements of rhetoric and xenophobia, and breaking away from the stylized format of battle descriptions, John Keegan has written what is probably the definitive model for military historians. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles representative of three different time periods, he manages to convey what the experience of combat meant for the participants, whether they were facing the arrow cloud at the battle of Agincourt, the musket balls at Waterloo, or the steel rain of the Somme. “The best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy
with reflections political, historical, civil, physical and moral on the reigns of the kings, their characters and manners, their successions to the revolution 1688 : Drawn from authentick memoirs and manuscripts