England, France and Aquitaine (Kindle)
From Victory to Defeat in the Hundred Years War
This is a narrative history of England and France during the Hundred Years War, from the triumphs of Henry V to the defeat of the English and loss of Gascony and Bordeaux - a huge blow to English prestige and economic interest. This is a military history with technical detail, linked to high politics, courtly intrigue, dynastic ambition, economic interest (wine trade and Bordeaux). The story revolves around the death of two Kings, Henry V of England, soon after his military triumphs, and Charles VI of France, in 1422. Both had historic claims to the 'French fiefs'. Henry was succeeded by Richard II, and Charles was succeeded by Charles VII. The contrast could hardly have been greater between Richard, a diffident, scholarly and religious figure, in an age when kings were expected to be aggressive leaders and military commanders; and Charles - an able politician, soldier and, in modern parlance, a 'hard man', who embodied the 15th century concept of kingship. Intermittent but constant warfare continued until English defeat in 1476 and the loss of Gascony and Bordeaux, and the Peace of Picquigny brought to an end a decisive episode in the Hundred Years War, foreshadowing England's future total withdrawal from France.
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.Beating Tsundoku
Read the full review here