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on 27 March 2018
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on 30 January 2013
I wanted to know a bit more about the Black Prince, and this book certainly does strive to fulfil that requirement without becoming too academic.
One person found this helpful
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on 29 January 2015
Medievil history, just can't get enough of it. It is amazing how much has survived from parchments to arms.
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on 9 February 2013
I found this book very difficult to read . It contains too much pointless detail , as if the author is trying to impress us with his mastery of the subject. I would not recommend the book to anyone unless they are studying for a history exam dealing with the fourteenth century.
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on 30 June 2014
Fascinating read
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on 1 April 2000
Barber's book is a highly readable historical biography of a much romanticised figure. Edward "The Black Prince" (as he subsequently became known) was the son of Edward III of England and a hero of the Hundred Years War. Much of the book, however, is devoted to the more personal details of the Prince, such as the increasing responsiblities he was given as a child, and that as an infant he kept pet hares. It is this intimacy which brings the book to life, and which also makes it an accessible introduction to both the Hundred Years War and the the ruling elite of the time.
Barber quotes enough sources to give his assertions credibility without getting bogged down in arguing finer points. In this, the book is ideal for someone like myself with a serious interest in medieval history without an academic background in it. However, in remaining readable to the lay person the book has probably left itself open to criticism from pedantics. Some military historians, for example, may be sceptical of the detail in which the battles are described. Readers of fantasy fiction, though, would be a lot more dissapointed than that- this is still a serious history book.
17 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 24 August 2007
Prince Edward, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine, generally known as the Black Prince, is one of the legendary figures of English history who has gone down in history as the victor of three great battles and a model of chivalry and courtesy. In 1337, Edward became the first Duke to be created in England when he was given the title Duke of Cornwall. His title as Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester are still the traditional titles of the heir apparent.
The badge of three feathers of the PoW is thought to have originated with Edward. According to legend, the Black Prince obtained the arms from the blind John I of Bohemia, against whom he fought in the Battle of Crécy in 1346. After the battle, the prince went to the body of the dead king (whom he admired for his bravery) and took his helmet, lined with ostrich feathers. The feathers and the dead king's motto made up the prince's new badge and came to be used by subsequent Princes of Wales. The origin of both the feathers and the motto may have a less romantic history, with indications that the arms were inherited by the prince from his father. Although Edward is almost always now called the "Black Prince", there is no record of this name being used during his lifetime. He was instead known as Edward of Woodstock, after his place of birth. The "Black Prince" sobriquet "is first found in writing in Richard Grafton's "Chronicle of England" (1568.). Its origin is uncertain; according to tradition, it derived from an ornate black cuirass (piece of body armour) presented to the young prince by Edward III at the battle of Crécy. Although another theory attributes it to his dark temper.

So who is the man behind the hero-like figure? Does legend and reality match? It is not easy to get to the real Prince Edward. Richard Barber tries to do that, tries to get away from the romanticised version. Separating legend and reality is done as well by using a fairly dry language. It is therefore in my view not an easy read and if you look for a more romanticised description of his life than you better read a novel. It is a serious and readable study. It gives you much about the Black Prince and triggers your interest to study further. I liked it, but maybe I did not really enjoy it. A wee bit too dry for me.
3 people found this helpful
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on 2 November 2003
This book has been accused of being too 'simplistic' and narrative based, because it doesn't dwell on details of military strategy etc. I think this is because Barber is concerned with keeping the reader interested at all times. This he certainly achieves, making for a very easy read. After reading David Green's book 'The Black Prince' however, I saw that Barber wasn't as great as I had at first thought.
Basically, if you're not a historian (or crazy about military details) then you will find nothing wrong with this book and simply enjoy reading it. The other thing it does well is teach a huge amount very quickly and easily - so if you're a student this is the one to read first!
4 stars because it's not the best, but it doesn't get a great deal better.
14 people found this helpful
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