4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Felas, let's go!,
This review is from: Great and Glorious Adventure, A: A Military History of the Hundred Years War (Hardcover)
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.