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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sumption and his War, 28 Mar 2010
Sumption's first book on the Hundred Years War is great. He protrays his subjects with such vigor and imagination. Edward III, Philip VI, William of Hainualt...all of these men fly off the page onto a storyboard that is bloody, but is great. Edward III is a military leader who is a calculating politican who makes disatrous mistakes in the first phase of the war, then remerges as the aribtor of Europe after Crecy and Calais; Philip VI is the weak minded, suspicious King of France who is victorius at first but then is draw downhill by his mistakes and Edward's impending greatness. Truly this is a superb work.

This book gets five stars all the way. It is the greatest book on the first phrase of the Hundred Years war. Everything was simply fascinating. At to it readability and you can't deny that Sumption has skill. I just wish he would quit his court job and produce more of these wonderful books.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, scholarly account of the 100 years war., 14 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This is a highly readable and well written account of the 100 years war. It is detailed (this volume stops just after the battle of Crecy) - not boring - yet a well informed read. The opening chapter describing medieval Paris is great (especially if you know modern day Paris).The book gives you a very good feel for the machinations of medieval politics and the difficulties of campaigning in war.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious stuff., 24 April 2013
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D. Walker (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Was pointed to this by Bernard Cornwell's thrill-a-minute novels. Was shocked to learn that the general reality was just as savage and insane. A read which should cure any reader of patriotism and make him/her appreciate life in the west even in what we think of as difficult times. (But it'll be too slow for you if you just want a thrill-a-minute read - it's thorough gives full background).
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb stuff; not to be missed, 16 Mar 2002
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Andrew Howell "andyhowell3" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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Trial by Battle is even more capivating than Trial by FIre. Sumption's text is a dream to follow, always engaging and thoroughly human. While I have always been interested in the Hundred Years War I had never really appreciated the depths to which the French crown had sunk, a catastophe to equate with many modern day disaster areas..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Monumental work, 27 May 2014
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This review is from: Hundred Years War Vol 1: Trial by Battle: Trial by Battle v. 1 (Kindle Edition)
The lists of references speak for themselves. Most impressed by the level of detail and dispassionate presentation of the conflict between two medieval kings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 29 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Hundred Years War Vol 1: Trial by Battle: Trial by Battle v. 1 (Kindle Edition)
this is one of the best factual history books i have read ,it tells it as it was no glamourising just the nitty gritty
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5.0 out of 5 stars The complete story of the hundred years war, 15 Mar 2013
This review is from: Hundred Years War Vol 1: Trial by Battle: Trial by Battle v. 1 (Kindle Edition)
This is the first volume of a three volume of sumptom s account of the war and is very detailed and readable it covers the period from the start of the war to the fall of Calais
Recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vol 1 of 'The Hundred Years War' J. Sumption, 1 Feb 2013
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I have all three volumes-a Christmas present! So far I have almost finished Vol 1 and I have enjoyed reading it since it goes into rather more detail than a single volume can hope to achieve. A flowing narrative style with, where necessary, detailed analysis of a financial/political/tactical situation/problem.
A fine book and I am confident that Vol 11 and 111 will prove equally interesting, enjoyable and illuminating of a fascinating period of our history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger than fiction, 5 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Hundred Years War Vol 1: Trial by Battle: Trial by Battle v. 1 (Kindle Edition)
This is a wonderful history book, better than any fantasy story I've read. As Sumption says in his intro, he believes that the facts can speak more clearly than reams of analysis and this is proven completely true. The narrative of events is clear and fast, and is always a joy to read. I'm not widely read in history, and completely new to this period, but I love the legal and economic details Sumption brings to and focuses on in this book, it gives a reality to the players and events that I would otherwise find completely unbelievable but instead find just damn amazing.

On the Kindle there is the extremely rare (scanning?) error, like "Edward III" becomes "Edward Ill" (ill), but nothing serious. Maps are quite readable, though the family trees might need good eyes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IN THE BEGINNING, 1 Dec 2011
By 
Stephen Cooper (South Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hundred Years War Vol 1: Trial by Battle: Trial by Battle v. 1 (Kindle Edition)
'Trial by Battle' was the first volume in Jonathan Sumption's truly monumental history of the Hundred Years War. It tells the story from 1328 down to 1347 and the capture of Calais. The author was a don in Oxford, then a leading Queen's Counsel at the English Bar. Now, he has been made a judge of the Supreme Court, a post which it is believed he will take up once the Abramovich trial in London is over. He is obviously well used to digesting large amounts of information and summarising them in cogent form. This explains why the book is so comprehensive and so authoritative.

As he tells us in the Preface, Sumption's objective is to write 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 book is hugely enjoyable, if you are interested in the richness of history and human life and endeavour, and not prejudiced against the Middle Ages, on the grounds of supposed obscurity or obscurantism.

Stephen Cooper
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