The Black Prince Hardcover – 13 Jul 2017
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'The Black Prince is one of the great romantic heroes of the Hundred Years War and in Michael Jones he has a worthy biographer. This is a clear-eyed and thrilling vision of the man behind the legend and a splendid introduction to one of the most fascinating periods in medieval history' Dan Jones
'Jones has done an excellent job ... It is not easy to make somebody so far back in history really come alive, but this book has pulled it off extremely well. It is supplemented with several pages of maps, battle plans and a detailed timeline' The Bookbag
'Michael Jones superbly brings to life the campaigns and battles which made the Black Prince's name ... The hero and the villain were one man and Jones does justice to this complexity' The Times
'Splendid ... Jones convincingly argues that Edward should not be too readily condemned [...] with great skill and lightly worn erudition ... Will enthral a wide audience' Spectator
'Get to know the heir of Edward III in all his guises in this accomplished volume' Historical Trips UK
'Fascinating ... restores one of our great heroes to his rightful position' Daily Mail
'Sure to enlighten and entertain thanks to the author's use of new archival research and his pacy, atmospheric writing style' History Revealed
'Michael Jones researches as a historian but writes as a novelist. His characters are fresh and realistic ... Even readers who know nothing of this period of history will be captured by this warm and lively portrait of the Black Prince' Philippa Gregory
'Offers a thoughtful, rounded picture of a man who led not solely by virtue of birth, but through personality and achievement, too' The Tablet
'A gripping read; it has that 'just one more chapter' quality that keeps you going late into the night ... A compelling and humane portrait of a medieval warrior, bringing the Black Prince and his world triumphantly to life' David Santiuste
'A thoroughly riveting biography of Edward of Woodstock' Military History Monthly
'Pacy, vivid and extremely readable...Jones's book will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers' Times Literary Supplement
'A fascinating biography' BBC History Magazine Book of the Year (2017)
'Compellingly readable...Jones has given us a superb new study of the Black Prince' History
'A fine biography...informed and insightful' Wall Street Journal
A major new biography of the Black Prince: hero of the battles of Crécy and Poitiers and England's greatest medieval warrior.See all Product description
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There were only two other Medieval English contestants for greatest knights, greatest exponents of chivalry and greatest Battle Commanders, Sir William the Marshal and Richard the Lionheart. Very sad his brave son Richard II was murdered by the Usurper Bolingbroke, aka Henry !V, father of Henry V, another failed dynasty. Well written and well researched book. Couldn't put it down.
A well researched and moving account of a man of dedication, bravery, triumph and tragedy. Another medieval figure clouded by contemporaries, Michael has done sterling work to analyse the man’s known character and facts in order to rule out the myths.
A fitting portrait for one of of England’s true greats. A must read for any medieval fan.
The book goes way beyond Froissart (who once formed the basis of all accounts of the so-called Hundred Years War), not least because it makes extensive use of French sources, archival and others. It is particularly remarkable for its demolition of the Froissart-based myth that the Prince was responsible for slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians at Limoges in 1370. On the other hand, Jones will have nothing to do with Ian Mortimer’s eccentric theory that King Edward II was not murdered in Berkeley Castle in 1327 (whether by means of a poker placed in the fundament or by other foul means).
There is much in this book apart from the famous battles and campaigns (Crécy, Poitiers, Nájera). So, we have the best explanation of why the nickname of the Prince’s wife (the ‘Fair Maid of Kent’) was to say the least ironic; and we have a moving evocation of the long but luxurious years Queen Isabella spent at Castle Rising. But the heart of the book has to be Jones’s treatment of the relationship between chivalry and warfare. Here, he shows how the two did indeed go hand in hand, because of the importance of leadership and morale, as well as training and discipline - the old Roman virtues to extolled by Vegetius, whose book was often read by the medieval military aristocracy. To my mind, Jones’s is the best description of the chivalric (not to say chivalrous) way of life that we have - and I would rank him above Richard Barber or the late Maurice Keen. I also prefer his exciting account of the Black Prince’s Raids of 1355 and 1356 to the somewhat clinical but classic account of H.J.Hewitt.
The description of the Prince’s difference of opinion with his father Edward III about the wisdom of intervening in Spain in 1367 was new, to me; and it is important. Traditionally, the Prince is described as an outstanding general and warrior, but a poor statesman; but it turns out that he did not want to intervene in Castile - it was his father who did, and was therefore ultimately responsible for the disaster which ensued. This changes everything.
Much as I liked the book, I was left with one ‘Big Question’, though it is not one which I would expect the author to have tackled. Why is it that one never hears a good word nowadays about the building of the British Empire in the 19th century; but we are all still lost in admiration for the courage shown by the Black Prince and by Henry V, in their vain attempts to devastate and conquer France in the Middle Ages? Is it because we don’t really care what the French think? Contrast the hostile views of the Empire, emanating from India, Africa, and elsewhere.