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England, France and Aquitaine (Hardback)

From Victory to Defeat in the Hundred Years War

Military P&S History > British History

By Richard Ballard
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781526768599
Published: 29th May 2020



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This is a narrative history of England and France during the Hundred Years War, from the triumphs of Henry V to the defeat of England and the loss of Gascony and Bordeaux – a huge blow to English prestige. It is a military history with technical detail, linked to high politics, courtly intrigue, dynastic ambition, and economic interest(the Bordeaux wine trade). The story develops after the death in 1422 of two kings: Henry V of England, soon after his military triumphs, and Charles VI of France. Both had historic claims to the French crown. Henry V was succeeded by Henry VI, still an infant, and Charles VI by Charles VII. The contrast could hardly have been greater between Henry VI, a scholarly and religious figure, often suffering from mental illness, in an age when kings were expected to be aggressive leaders and effective military commanders, and Charles VII – an increasingly able politician, soldier and, in modern parlance, a ‘hard man,’ who personified the 15th century concept of kingship. Intermittent but constant warfare continued until the English defeat at Castillon and the complete loss of Gascony after the siege of Bordeaux, both in 1453. The Peace of Picquigny in 1476 between the next kings, Edward IV and Louis XI, brought an end to this decisive episode in the Hundred Years War, foreshadowing England’s future total withdrawal from France.

The 100 Years War was fought because the English Kings had a firm claim to large parts of France. The English had a number of spectacular victories but this preoccupation with France held England back from greater opportunity. – Very Highly Recommended

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Review by Jason Hubbard

This will really appeal to the historians amongst us, and it may be of interest to some war gamers looking for background regarding the war for campaign planning.

Irregular Magazine | Spring Issue 2021

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the period. It will also be a worthwhile read for the casual reader as it's not overly academic and is not a dry history as some tend to be. I think it deserves 4 mushrooms.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Richard Ballard looks at the fortunes of Richard II and Charles VI of France in a fascinating account of that war...

Books Monthly

I certainly knew more coming out than going in while enjoying the journey, which I think is the test for narrative history.

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Beating Tsundoku

This is an absorbing book that filled in so many gaps in my knowledge of the relationship between France and England in this period. It succeeds wonderfully in bringing us the many characters who were involved in the often confusing machinations to gain power, prestige, land and riches. In the same way as the difficulties that characterised the Lancastrian – Yorkist disagreement in England we find the key players changing sides, avoiding commitment, losings lands and titles and being forgiven as the realities of the situation demanded diplomacy and pragmatism on both sides. The striking point is that the participants, especially Charles VII, were ready to play the long game to build the necessary alliances. Recommended.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Richard Ballard

Richard Ballard is an historian of France who specialises in cultural, social, economic and personal histories, so essential for making the backdrop of huge political movements, from revolutions and war, come to life. The period of early modern France was a zenith of French glory as typified and personalised by Louis XIV. This approach makes for absorbing reading for both specialists, students and, above all, for general readers. The author's range is wide and he has published on late medieval France during the period of the Hundred Years War and the French Revolution, all full of fascinating experiences at multiple levels, and from Paris to the provinces. He brings history into personal and even every-day contact. He writes with flair and is a good read, while deeply researching in French archives - national and provincial - and rare sources. He has long been resident in the Charent-Maritime and is now in the Avenue de Saint-Cloud at Versailles, good for archive access and modern French cultural life. He read history at Oxford and taught history at Eton College, Wells Cathedral School, Haileybury College and Westminster School. His publications include The Unseen Terror: The French Revolution in the Provinces; A New Dictionary of the French Revolution and England, France and Aquitaine: From Victory to Defeat in the Hundred Years War (Pen and Sword 2020). He is a gifted illustrator and has provided drawings of architectural buildings and features to support photographs.

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King Henry VIII and Emperor Charles V both ruled for almost forty years at a time when momentous changes in society, politics and religion were taking place in England and across Europe. Richard Heath takes a fresh look at these two individuals and the importance of their relationship in determining both their immediate policies and the future of their lands. Although always rivals for status, Henry and Charles, despite their very different temperaments, had much in common. Both had been brought up as devout Christians and in the chivalric tradition. Ties between their lands (by 1520 Charles was…

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