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Agincourt

The King .The Campaign. The Battle.

by Barker, Juliet

When Henry V and his ‘band of brothers’ defeated the assembled might of French chivalry on a rainy October day in 1415 it was a defining moment in English history. The battle of Agincourt became part of the nation’s self-image. For six centuries it has been celebrated as the triumph of the under-dog in the face of overwhelming odds, of discipline and determination over arrogance and egotism, of stout-hearted common men over dissolute aristocrats. But what is the truth behind the battle upon which so many legends have been built?

In this landmark study of Agincourt, prize-winning author Juliet Barker draws upon a huge range of sources, published and unpublished, English and French, to give a compelling account of the battle. But she also looks behind the action on the field to paint a portrait of the age, from the logistics of preparing to launch one of the biggest invasion forces ever seen at the time to the dynamics of daily life in peace and war. She shows how the chivalry and piety which underpinned medieval society, and the contradictions inherent in trying to uphold them, were reflected in the fate of those caught up in the brutal power struggles of the period. A mad king, murderous dukes, scheming bishops, knightly heroes, surgeons, heralds, spies and pirates, the story of Agincourt has them all.

Rich in detail and drama, vividly and beautifully written, this is popular history at its best.

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Comments

Irish Times . Review

  • "...a lively history. Accessible and scholarly, it is full of entertaining anecdotes and is a barometer for good history writing."
  • Irish Times


Reviews: Irish Times

Evening Standard - Review

  • "Juliet Barker is a talented and versatile historian, best known as the author of a fine collective biography of the Bronte sisters. But she first made her name as a medievalist, and this remarkable history of the battle of Agincourt marks a triumphal return to the period . . . This book is a model of how to write scholarly history for a wide audience. Barker's deep understanding of the Middle Ages shows in many fascinating asides about contemporary life. Biographical vignettes of the participants, great and small, liven up her pages. Her style is taut, readable, informative."
  • Jonathan Sumption, Evening Standard


Reviews: Evening Standard

Sunday Express - Review

  • "Juliet Barker's Agincourt "Barker's scholarly but very readable account of Henry V's campaign to revive his claim to the French crown is a benchmark for the way in which history should be written."
  • Sunday Express


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