Introduced by Bernard Cornwell
The infamous battle examined from all angles by one of Britain’s most acclaimed historians.
This revised and updated edition features redrawn maps and full colour pictures that help shed light on this story of knights and knaves, as well as a new preface and appendices by the author and an introduction by Bernard Cornwell, who drew much of the material for his fictional account of the battle from Barker’s book. Agincourt is a lively, accessible narrative that reveals the chivalry and brutality of a time when kings still fought on the battlefield.
‘Juliet Barker combines scrupulous scholarship with an imaginative sympathy to bring the world of Agincourt to vivid life’
One of the most famous episodes in British history, the battle of Agincourt has been described as both a triumph and a slaughter. After 600 years of debate and research there is little doubt that Henry V’s overwhelmingly successful victory against the French, with an exhausted, vastly outnumbered army, is a slice of history that will continue to captivate.
Juliet Barker presents the battle from all angles: the king, the common man who would fight for him, and the slow road to war. The Henry V who emerges through the pages of this book is determined and canny – a man who was convinced of his God-given right to the throne of France, but well aware it would not simply fall into his lap. As well as examining the political manoeuvring and the extensive preparations that culminated in the violent conflict on St Crispin’s day, the author reveals the far-reaching repercussions of the bloodshed. Barker’s account is immediate and fresh, with an eye for the human story amid the machinations: from the desperate words of the chaplain who stood witness – ‘in fear and trembling, with our eyes raised to heaven we cried out that God would have compassion upon us’ – to the remarkable skill and endurance of the British archers, who could fire up to 15 aimed arrows a minute, Agincourt brings history to life in strikingly human terms.
Juliet Barker is a British historian specialising in the middle ages and literary biography, who gained a doctorate in medieval history from St Anne’s College, Oxford. She is renowned for her biographies The Brontës (1994), which won the Yorkshire Post book of the Year award, and Wordsworth: A Life (2000). In 1999 she was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the University of Bradford in recognition of her outstanding contribution to literary biography, and in 2001 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of literature. Barker is also an expert on chivalry and medieval English tournaments. Her works include The Tournament in England 1100–1400 (1986), Conquest: The English Kingdom of France 1417–1450 (2009) and England, Arise: The People, the King and the Great Revolt of 1381 (2014).
Bernard Cornwell, OBE, is a British writer of historical novels. He studied at London University before joining the BBC where he became the head of current affairs television in Northern Ireland. He then moved to the United States and became a writer. Cornwell is the author of Azincourt (2008) and 1356 (2012) which were New York Times bestsellers. His other titles include The Starbuck Chronicles (1993–6), The Warlord Trilogy (2011), The Grail Quest Series (2000–3), The Sharpe Series (1981–2007) and the Warrior Chronicles (2004– ) which, like the Sharpe novels, have been adapted into a television series.
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Review by PAULALOUD on 17th Feb 2016
"Well-done! This is a wonderful account of Agincourt, the events leading up to it and some of the key people involved, particularly Henry V. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it the perfect ba..." [read more]
Review by mfujdala on 10th Dec 2015
"This is a beautiful book about a fascinating subject. Henry V is at once more and everything Shakespeare depicted. Well written and impeccably researched, Baker’s historical perspective, presentin..." [read more]