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Hundred Years War Vol 2: Trial By Fire [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Sumption
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the second volume of his celebrated history of the Hundred Years War, Jonathan Sumption examines the middle years of the fourteenth century and the succession of crises that threatened French affairs of state, including defeat at Poitiers and the capture of the king.

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Amazon Review

It's almost as if the nine years that have passed since the publication ofTrial by Battle, the first volume of Jonathan Sumption's ongoing history of the Hundred Years War, never happened, so seamlessly does Trial By Firecontinue the narrative.

Trial by Fire documents the continuing relentless domination of France by Edward III from the fall of Calais in 1347 to his decision in 1369 to add the French coat of arms to those of England on his seals in celebration of his apparent triumph. Along the way we see the French reduced to a squabbling rabble after the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 which resulted in revolutions in Paris and the countryside. Sumption is too shrewd an observer to tell such a one-sided history and he is at pains to point out that however impressive the English victories may have seemed, the scale of them was largely illusory and short-lived.

Whatever the perception of the Hundred Years War as an epic conflict between two nation states, the reality was far more complicated. Both the English and the French camps were made up of a series of uneasy and shifting alliances. So who actually won never became clear--at least not until long after the swords had been sheathed. For instance, after King John II had been captured at Poitiers, the French were forced into a humiliating treaty which handed over much of France to King Edward. But John conveniently, or inconveniently, depending which way you look at it, died shortly after and his successor Charles V decided there were good reasons to no longer recognise the agreement. Seen like this, Edward's decision to add the French coat of arms to the English looks more like an empty gesture than an expression of all-conquering might.

As with the first volume, Sumption writes with engaging simplicity, making sense of the apparently pointless and bringing together a cast of thousands into a homogenous digestible whole. -- John Crace

Book Description

Hundred Years War Vol 2: Trial by Fire is the second volume of Jonathan Sumption's hugely acclaimed history of the Hundred Years War, covering the middle years of the fourteenth century, including the French defeat at Poitiers and the capture of the king.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4748 KB
  • Print Length: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction; Main edition (6 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00623K0JA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,643 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 5 Feb. 2010
Well written and interesting to read, History as it should be leaving you to want more, good value for your money
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is something of an epic made more so by the copious footnotes and references- not in my opinion necessary to this extent, for who reads them? However it takes the reader back vividly to the on-off carnage, treachery and misery of a Europe significantly devastated by this war. I enjoyed it.
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive work 12 April 2002
Vol II of Mr Sumption's history of the Hundred Years War is as much of a delight as its predecessor. His knowledge of his subject is exhaustive, yet he never allows his narrative to become bogged down or convoluted, even when explaining the most intricate political manoeuverings. Clarity and ease of comprehension are obviously two of Mr Sumption's goals, and he succeeds completely in both respects.
I found the in-depth analysis of the revolt of the Parisian commoners (following the disastrous Battle of Poitiers and the capture of the French King by the English) of particular interest. I have read several one-volume histories of the War and I do not recall any of them making more than passing reference to this episode. Obviously, in a multi-volume history Mr Sumption has more space in which to fully explain events, yet the revolt is of great importance to understanding the social and economic disasters that befell France as a result of this period of the War. It is also illuminating in respect to the later history of Paris and that city's "tradition" of revolution. Similarly, the attention to the ravages of the notorious companies brings home forcefully the sufferings experienced by France and her people.
Although this is an excellent book, I could not in good faith recommend it to those who have only a passing interest in the subject - one of the several good one-volume histories would be sufficient to cover the major events of the War. For those who want a more in-depth understanding, however, I do not believe that Mr Sumptions's work has been bettered.
Like the earlier reviewer, I am eagerly awaiting Volume III and sincerely hope that Mr Sumption will not wait so long to produce this next volume as he did between Volumes I & II. I am sure I am not the only person who wishes that he would retire from the Bar and concentrate on history (although our motives are probably different).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hundred Years War 22 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very enjoyable and easily readable book which is full of good historical information and interesting insights into a world-changing era. It can be used for serious research into particular topics or events, or simply dipped into for entertainment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive history 13 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
No more to say, really. Incredible detail, readable, scholarly. It's a must for anyone interested in this period. On top of this, of course, the history itself is tremendously exciting.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the stunning work of Volume 1 30 Dec. 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sumption simply takes off with Volume II in the same style that one so many admirers in the first volume.
'Trial by Fire' takes us through the lowest ebb of the French crown: John II a prisoner in London; 'companies' of mercanaries terrorising and laying waste to the country. Edward III was probably the strongest monarch in Europe at that time and yet, by the time of his death, had not pressed home his advantage in any kind of decisive manner.
Sumption takes us through the strategy and thinking of the English Crown while also showing how much of the activity done in his name was really beyond his control and, perhaps, not in his long term interest.
This is amazing stuff. Easy to read, informative and exciting.
I can't wait 'till volume III !!!!
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With Vol 1 this is a wonderful survey of this period of history. Meticulously researched and written in a manner designed to engage the reader. It is how history should be written and how many modern historians-such as Dan Jones, Frank McGlynn, John Guy and David Baldwin to mention a few-now write. It is an exhaustive history which causes you to engage in this fascinating period of our history and relations with our neighbours, the French.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sumption's brilliant storytelling illuminates an obscure period of...
I took 5 critically acclaimed novels on holiday, but by far the most absorbing and compelling read was Cursed Kings. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Ms M. Waller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
nice reas
Published 4 months ago by Patricia McCarthy
5.0 out of 5 stars Poor editing, and references a nuisance at the end ...
Poor editing, and references a nuisance at the end of each chapter. However I dont think this detracts from an awesome hisyorical read. buy it now
Published 11 months ago by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars A SECOND HELPING
'Trial by Fire' is the second volume in Jonathan Sumption's truly monumental history of the Hundred Years War. Read more
Published on 1 Dec. 2011 by Stephen Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Edward III would stop at Nothing
The 2nd volume of The Hundred Years war by Jonathan Sumption was even better than the first if you ask me. Read more
Published on 22 Aug. 2010 by Edward Rex
5.0 out of 5 stars An historical masterpiece
Sumption's three volume masterpiece, of which this is the second,is simply breathtaking in its scope,depth,and erudition,besides being extremely well-written. Read more
Published on 11 Oct. 2009 by J. C. Dietmann
4.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing and very detailed study
Sumtion's treatment of the 100 years war brings to life a period of history which is frequently dissected by UK students into just the three major pitched battle victories of... Read more
Published on 14 May 2006 by Andy M
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