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Great and Glorious Adventure, A: A Military History of the Hundred Years War [Hardcover]

Gordon Corrigan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 July 2013
In this succinct history of a conflict that raged for over a century, Gordon Corrigan reveals the horrors of battle and the machinations of power that have shaped a millennium of Anglo-French relationships. "The Hundred Years War was fought between 1337 and 1453 over English claims to both the throne of France by right of inheritance and large parts of the country that had been at one time Norman or, later, English. The fighting ebbed and flowed, but despite their superior tactics and great victories at Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, the English could never hope to secure their claims in perpetuity: France was wealthier and far more populous, and while the English won the battles, they could not hope to hold forever the lands they conquered. The real and abiding significance of the war lies in the fact that, at its end, the English had become English, as opposed to Anglo-French, and France too had set out on the road to nationhood. (Both countries would subsequently become the very best of enemies.) The war also sparked a real revolution in the English way of waging war, with increasing professionalism and the use of technology to make up for lack of numbers - factors which remain relevant throughout the subsequent history of the English, and then the British, army and which are still critical to it today. Military historian Gordon Corrigan's new history of these epochal events is brisk, combative and refreshingly straightforward, and the great kings, men and battles of the period receive the full attention and reassessment they deserve."

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848879261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848879263
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.4 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Gordon Corrigan was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1962 and retired from the Brigade of Gurkhas in 1998. A member of the British Commission for Military History, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, he speaks fluent Nepali and is a keen horseman. His most recent books include Mud, Blood and Poppycock; Blood, Sweat and Arrogance and The Second World War.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Felas, let's go! 13 Sep 2013
I picked up this book written by a retired officer of the Royal Gurkha Rifles and enjoyed it very much. As an introduction to the Hundred Years War it is excellent. Being an ex soldier, he is very good on logistics and tactics and writes with a soldier's appreciation of the task undertaken by the English Plantagenet kings who crossed the channel in pursuit of their 'just rights and inheritances'. Indeed, at many points he conveys a longing to have been part of the campaigns of Edward III, the Black Prince and Henry V. However, for the informed reader it lacks the depth of a book such as, say, Agincourt, and really should be subtitled 'A Very Short Military History of the Hundred Years War' - coming in at just over 280 pages the whole thing. (That the deeds of the Plantagenet kings resonate with the French into modern times, he cites a standing order of General Charles de Gaulle that while travelling around the country he was never to be within thirty kilometres of Agincourt).

With regard to the lack of depth, indeed lack of scholarship, at one point he is critical of Henry V's offer to the 18 year old Dauphin to settle the dispute in 'trial by combat'. Pointing to the age difference as being unfair he calls Henry's challenge schoolboyish. Well, the Black Prince fought pitch battle at Crecy aged 16, Henry V took an arrow in the face at Shrewsbury aged 18 - and continued fighting, Edward IV won Towton aged 19 ... surely that is one of the reasons the English were able to dominate in the French wars: the French monarchs were seriously underpowered vis-a-vis their Plantagenet counterparts. It was only on the accession of a seriously underpowered Plantagenet king that the French were able to gain the upper hand and eject the English from their territory.

As an introduction to the subject it is ideal, but, as I previously stated, I can't see it fully satisfying the knowledgeable reader - hence 3 stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Proudly biased 7 April 2014
By David Wineberg TOP 1000 REVIEWER
What was wrong with the French? Why didn’t they just let the English take over their lands? Why did they have to keep fighting? Why did they want to push the English back across the Channel? These are the puzzling questions that led English kings to keep crossing the Channel for over a century to try to get the French to let them rule. All they wanted was everything. Three million Brits wanted control over 16 million French. King after king led sorties and sieges - that succeeded. But the English never consolidated their victories by occupying and administering (until about 90 years into it). They swept through the land, destroying anything that was not sufficiently defended, and moved on, returning control to the natives who were left. Then they came back and laid it waste again. And again. This is the essence of the Hundred Years’ War.

It was made a little more difficult because of the Scots who had a treaty with France to come to their aid in the case of an English invasion. The Scots fulfilled their commitment by gleefully attacking northern England, and running away when the English came after them. Even the capture of their king didn’t stop them. It was a labour of love. And it kept English troops in the north, when they were needed on the continent. Eventually, the Scots fought alongside the French in France, such was their love of England.

The English had an advanced military strategy. They had banks of archers who did nothing but shoot arrows into the air – six per minute each. This resulted in a rain of tens of thousands of arrows that not only killed and maimed, but frightened the horses into rearing and fleeing. The English liked to set up where it was advantageous, dig holes and trenches to slow the enemy, and wait to be attacked.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction 25 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gordon in his own inimatable style gives a clear exposition of the Hundred Years War. For those who want to know about this period it really is an excellent and pithy introduction. For those that know then it's worth reading as well. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best One Volume History 10 May 2014
of the Hundred Years War that I have read - and I have read several.

Corrigan writes clearly and entertainingly about a quite confusing period of history. As the title makes clear his focus is on the military but he does not ignore other aspects such as religion and social factors.

I think some of the comments made in the 3 star reviews are a little harsh. Corrigan does not pretend to write a balanced account of the conflict; it is intended for the general reader not specialists, and as such he does an excellent job.
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