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on 19 August 2013
Probably the best equipped and easily the largest Scots army of the middle ages swept down on Northern England in 1513, whilst meanwhile young king Henry of England is away campaigning in France with the main English army. The Scots king James IV, full of ambition, saw this as his opportunity to fully establish Scotland as a separate state, get himself recognised as a monarch of the first division in Europe, and to teach his brother-in-law Henry and the English a lesson.

An English army not much bigger than half its size moves quickly to oppose the Scots. What happened next was one of the most brilliantly fought short campaigns in the history of Britain. The English leader Thomas Howard, an experienced veteran warrior, didn't hesitate, he dramatically turns a tactical disadvantage with a single master stroke of manoeuvre into advantage, by putting the Northern English army between the Scots army and Scotland, and thus also robbing them of their well prepared defensive positions. This was going to be no shadowing exercise, if the Scots wanted to return to Scotland they had to fight. What followed next was bloody indeed, the King of Scots, and almost all the Scots nobility died. How and why this happened is fascinating. But for the brilliance of Howard, the impetuosity of King James, and the military toughness and competence of the Northern English levies with the bill and the bow it might have all ended very differently.

This is a good Osprey, it covers all the areas of the campaign and battle well. But perhaps it does not lay quite enough blame at the feet of James and his ambition for the catastrophe. Following this disastrous battle Scotland was of little military consequence again for almost 150 years. That really shows the terrible magnitude of these events.
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on 24 February 2016
A very good introduction to the Battle of Flodden in 100 pages, the main characters, their background, their route to the battlefield, and the site today. If you know little or nothing about this battle then I can recommend this book.

However, I have marked it down for the following reasons:
the author is an apologist for King James and suffers from the anti-English sentiment that seems to be inculcated everywhere these days (for example, you will learn that Henry VIII's expedition to France was merely a "lust for glory" but James invaded England because he "no
longer had any room ... for manoeuvre");
the colour artwork is not to my taste and not up to Osprey's usual standards - in a book of this size with a set number of colour pages, every plate counts (for example, page 78 is given over to a full page colour painting of a camp follower dead in a ditch - murdered by those horrible English of course - a colour plate showing period costume or liveries or banners would be much more useful);
it may be a feature of the digital print-on-demand of my edition, but many of the author's numerous and otherwise very good black and white photographs look as though they were taken on a moonless night.

If you accept these gripes, then I would still recommend it!
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on 30 September 2013
The book went astray in the post but the supplier was very prompt in sending a replacement. Full marks for that. The book, like all Osprey books, is well written and gives a very clear description of the battle.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 June 2007
It was the first thing I read about this battle and I was immediately taken by the story. The author got it right from the beginning and kept the pace until the end. The book is very clear, wery well written, with details where they are needed (and only where they are needed), with excellent description of the leaders of both armies and of the tactics used in the border warfare between England and Scotland.

The battle itself is well presented, with good maps - although the editors of Osprey failed to notice that in the first of the big maps there is a huge mistake - the description states "rout of English left wing" instead of "right wing". That is one more sign of declining quality of editing in Osprey recent publications, but compared to the overall good quality of this book it is just a minor glitch.

Color plates are honest, although the style is really not my favourite. I think that for such a great battle better illustrations would be really a good idea - maybe one day, when the book is reissued. In this one, frankly, the plate describing the last fight and death of James IV, king of Scotland is - in my modest opinion - unworthy of this tragic moment.

But even with the artwork somehow wanting this is still a good, solid book worth four stars.
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on 12 April 2016
Excellent service and excellent book to read about the borders and the conflict that went on for over three hundred years
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on 26 February 2013
An excellent publication - it has all the relevant information, relative to the battle; complimenting other Flodden related Osprey publications.
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