Monday, June 11, 2012

Conquest is Hard!

Conquest: The English Kingdom of France 1417–1450 by Juliet Barker

Summary: Author of the best-selling AGINCOURT, Juliet Barker now tells the equally remarkable, but largely forgotten, story of the dramatic years when England ruled France at the point of a sword. Henry V's second invasion of France in 1417 launched a campaign that would put the crown of France on an English head. Only the miraculous appearance of a visionary peasant girl - Joan of Arc - would halt the English advance. Yet despite her victories, her influence was short-lived: Henry VI had his coronation in Paris six months after her death and his kingdom endured for another twenty years. When he came of age he was not the leader his father had been. It was the dauphin, whom Joan had crowned Charles VII, who would finally drive the English out of France. Supremely evocative and brilliantly told, this is narrative history at its most colourful and compelling - the true story of those who fought for an English kingdom of France.

Review: A very thorough and detailed history of England's involvement in France. 

I have mainly read about the Tudors and related people during the 16th century. While that is a fascinating subject (Henry the Eighth did have six wives after all), there is so much to that time period. It was a time of religious upheaval and shifting alliances. Conquest is expensive, more expensive than I had ever dreamed. And hard too. You may have the money, but you may not have the needed troops or vice versa. Supplies are always needed and can you keep your troops in line. 

Conquest provides an incredibly detailed history. I get the feeling that Barker included all possible information that she possibly could. Fact after fact are fact is provided. I learned quite a lot about this time period and am eager to learn more. I plan on reading  Barker's Agincourt so I can learn what brought about this series of events. This book could get a bit dry at times and I sometimes had a hard time keeping track of all the people and players. I would have liked a glossary although the chronology of events is very useful. One of the coolest facts I learned was that Joan of Arc's popularity only lasted a couple of years. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy history, especially English or European history.

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