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Hundred Years War Vol 3: v. 3

Hundred Years War Vol 3: v. 3 [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Sumption
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Sumption ... maintains a fluent narrative line that is strong enough to impart a mass of detail without losing impetus. This is a truly absorbing book, which carries the reader into the turmoil of the 14th century with discreet guidance and commentary.' --Guardian

'Majestic ... [Sumption's] narrative is lucid, he is brilliant on politics and finance, and his scholarship is impeccable. If you want a history of the 100 years' war, then this is it, and will surely remain it for decades to come.' --Sunday Times

Book Description

The epic and acclaimed history series reaches its third volume.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4861 KB
  • Print Length: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction (2 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055MVHZA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,445 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Anyone who has read the first two volumes of this monumental history will not need much convincing to open up this long awaited third instalment. I can quickly reassure you that Sumption's famed balance of meticulous research, readable prose, and plain good story telling is still very much in evidence.

It is a depressing period of the war for English readers, with the French resurgent under Charles V, De Guesclin, and their strategy of avoiding pitched battles. It is the story of repeated and expensive chevauches failing to find their enemy in the field and yielding little except disgruntled taxpayers and the taste of defeat, all the more bitter for those who could remember Crecy and Poitiers. It is the story of rampaging Gascon routiers, Iberian intrigues, and the rebellions of ordinary townspeople from Essex to Flanders.

One of the main pleasures of this volume is the filling out of characters who usually remain peripheral in more abridged histories of the period, but who were genuinely big players - most notably the various royal uncles of the two young kings, Richard II and Charles VI. Gaunt (who never hides in the pages of history) is of course the dominant character, and his plans to make good his claim to be King of Castille make a wonderful read.

The only word of caution with this book (and, indeed, series) is that it's probably not for the casual reader of history. To call it detailed would be an understatement, so be prepared, as each new campaign dawns, to wade through the accompanying tax receipts before you get to the juicy bits. The 'Men at Arms' chapter towards the end, addressing the society of the combatants more generally, is also a rather unwelcome hiatus, which might have been better broken up and spread amongst the others.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good Volume 1 Jun 2009
This is the third in a series by Sumption. The first thing that you notice with all Sumption's books is that his writing style is crisp and flows with ease from one topic to the next. The number of sources he consulted is indeed impressive. This volume is a great asset to anyone's library. As a medieval maritime historian specialising in the transportation of armies I do, however, have several reservations on some of Sumption's comments on this aspect of his book. He still seems to follow the argument that he makes in his earier volumes that the English merchant marine was small in size. This argument has recently been challenged and in my view he seriously underestimates the avaliability of English maritime resources. This can, sometimes, lead to contradictorary suggestions by him in his work. For example, he notes how sophisticated the English were in transporting armies, and how the French failed to freight similar forces to England, but he then goes on to criticise the English administrations failure in maritime affairs. These,however, are trifles when compared to the enormous work that has gone into this book. It is the more impressive because it is also readable and accessible. Great work!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't get bogged down, enjoy the story 27 May 2013
By roddyb
One tip for enjoying these wonderful books by Sumption is not to worry if you get somewhat a little lost over details occasionally. It is a very intricate history and you could spend much time re-tracing names of persons or places. On the first read, it is better just to motor on and enjoy the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History as it should be. 27 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is history as it should be. The full story; not just selected evidence to back up a theory. Brilliant follow up to parts 1 and 2. I hope part 4 will not be long.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FEAST 14 May 2011
'Divided Houses' is the third volume of Jonathan Sumption's history of the Hundred Years War. It is unlikely to be the last, since the author set out, twenty years ago, to write a history of the entire War, and he has only reached the Revolution of 1399. The fact that the author has now been made a judge of the Supreme Court is unlikely to stop him.

As he told us in the Preface to his first volume, Sumption's objective is to write a grand narrative, based primarily on documentary rather than chronicle sources: he considers the chronicles `episodic, prejudiced, inaccurate and late'. He also aimed to eschew analysis, as well as the scholarly debates which so often sidetrack historians. He appears to have explored all the printed primary sources (together with a good number of the unprinted ones) and to have read all the secondary authorities; and to have pursued his researches in several countries: England, France and Spain at the least.

The author's style is not that of Edward Gibbon: he is too much the modern, workmanlike barrister for that, driving home his case by the patient accumulation of detailed evidence; but he paints a fine picture. Read this book.

Stephen Cooper
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review 12 Aug 2011
By Bob
One of a brilliant series of books on the subject. I already have Vol 2 and would definitely advise anyone wishing to learn more about this conflict to buy these volumes. Full of detail - much more than I expected - on both the politics and military aspects of the war. I shall certainly be purchasing other volumes from the series as they are published.
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