Friday, February 22, 2013

The Politics of the Maid

The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc by Nancy Goldstone

Summary: The untold story of the extraordinary queen who championed Joan of Arc. 

Politically astute, ambitious, and beautiful, Yolande of Aragon, queen of Sicily, was one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages. Caught in the complex dynastic battle of the Hundred Years War, Yolande championed the dauphin's cause against the forces of England and Burgundy, drawing on her savvy, her statecraft, and her intimate network of spies. But the enemy seemed invincible. Just as French hopes dimmed, an astonishingly courageous young woman named Joan of Arc arrived from the farthest recesses of the kingdom, claiming she carried a divine message-a message that would change the course of history and ultimately lead to the coronation of Charles VII and the triumph of France.

Now, on the six hundredth anniversary of the birth of Joan of Arc, this fascinating book explores the relationship between these two remarkable women, and deepens our understanding of this dramatic period in history. How did an illiterate peasant girl gain access to the future king of France, earn his trust, and ultimately lead his forces into battle? Was it only the hand of God that moved Joan of Arc-or was it also Yolande of Aragon?

Review: An informative history of Joan of Arc, which also provides a basic overview of the Hundred Years’ War

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now, especially after playing Jeanne D’Arc, a videogame for the PSP. Before reading about the Hundred Years’ War, all I knew about Joan of Arc was that she saved France. From my pervious reading, I learned that her time did not last long and she was only able to win a few battles before being captured by the English. It doesn’t sound very impressive, but her story really is impressive. Those few battles she won were very important and helped to spur France on.

This book was such a great read since I had never thought about what brought Joan of Arc out of obscurity. There were other mystics that appeared during this time period, but none had the popularity of Joan. It was Yolande of Aragon who helped bring Joan to the forefront. Yolande wanted to see Charles become crowned as king and would do anything to achieve that goal. I don’t know if Yolande actually believed in Joan or was using her as a pawn. This book makes a lot of assumptions and I’m sure how truthful they actually are. I’ll have to read more about the Hundred Years’ War.


I would recommend this to anyone interested in Joan of Arc or the Hundred Years’ War.

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