Top positive review
One Henry comes out well from this - and another Henry not so well.....
on 15 July 2015
I do love Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts one and two but I had always wanted to get around to reading a decent history of the period to see which elements, if any, of the play were anything close to the actual events. The answer it seems from reading this is - much more than I had thought would be the case. One significant difference however is the character and motivation of the then future Henry V. He doesn’t come out of this history at all well.
When reading this book one has to be aware at all times that it’s a biography of Henry IV and the author is clearly very taken with his subject matter. However the arguments are well made with a wealth of research and detail and Henry IV doesn’t get eulogised on every page. Indeed there are several very critical assessments of his prowess as a military tactician (though not his valour and ability as an individual warrior in battle or in the joust).
So, as I said, biased but convincingly well researched and argued and a must read for anyone interested in this king, or even this time period in Europe. It also comprehensively answered my original question.