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The Hundred Years War, Second Edition Paperback – Aug 16 2003


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Review

Praise for the first edition:
"This is a useful work, in which both narrative and commentary are well maintained."--Christopher Allmand, The Historical Association

About the Author

Anne Curry is Professor of History, University of Reading.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
A Tour de Force Jan. 26 2003
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you think of the Hundred Years War, epic English victories like Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt would probably come to mind. However despite these impressive military triumphs, the fact is that the French ultimately won the series of wars that stretched out over a 116-year period. Anne Curry, an English expert on the Hundred Years War, brings her considerable knowledge of the subject to bear in Osprey's Essential Histories volume #19. Quite simply, this volume is a tour de force in that the author presents a complex subject with insight and depth. Unlike some of the other volumes in this series, The Hundred Years War 1337-1453 represents a real research effort and not just a condensation of other sources. This is one of the best volumes that Osprey published in 2002.
As usual, The Hundred Years' War 1337-1453 begins in standard Osprey format with a short introduction, a chronology, a background to the war and the opposing sides and how the war began. The narrative of the war itself is 38 pages in length. Final sections are portrait of a soldier (one French and two English), the cruel nature of the war (attacks on civilians, raids on England), portrait of a civilian (the remarkable female poet and historian Christine de Pizan), how the war ended and conclusions. The author has provided a substantial bibliography as well as genealogical tables for both the French and English nobility. There are a total of ten maps (English lands in Gascony, campaigns in Northern France in 1340, campaigns in the north in 1341-1359, the campaign of 1346, the campaigns of the Black Prince, the second phase of the war, the Agincourt campaign, campaigns of 1415-1428, English garrisons in Normandy, and the defeat of the English) in this volume and they add great value.
The Hundred Years War was unusual for its protracted nature, although this was frequently interrupted by truces. The English, who began the war with modest objectives and expanded them when fortune favored their cause, crushed one French army after another in the early phases of the war. Much of French fell under English control by 1415 and it appeared that the French monarchy was in eclipse. Anne Curry does a wonderful job detailing how the French gradually turned the war around, beginning with the incredible campaigns of Joan of Arc. The French were not the complete blockheads that recurrent defeats would suggest, but were capable of learning from past mistakes. During the 1430s, the French monarchy oversaw the creation of the first standing army in Europe since the Romans. The French were also quick to adopt and efficiently organize artillery, which was used to help smash English armies at Formigny and Castillon (battles that are all but forgotten but which helped to decide the war). The author also does a splendid job detailing the war finances and economies of both sides. French revenue grew ten-fold during the course of the war as the French monarchy organized a robust tax system. However, the English fought the war on an economic shoestring and their revenues declined as the war dragged on. Indeed, the English often conquered land that was devastated and incapable of producing revenue for some time. In the end, the English lacked the money to sustain large armies in France and they were eventually overwhelmed. The author rightly calls this war a defining moment in European history, where large standing armies become possible and royal authority was forced to construct more complex fiscal structures than had existed under parochial feudalism.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent overall reference. Feb. 11 2006
By oakheart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Curry's book provides an excellent overall reference for this long and varied conflict. Different sections cover the politics leading up to the outbreak of war, the overall campaigns of the various phases of the war, brief individual histories of three mid-level combatants including Bertrand du Guesclin, and a summary of the effects of the war. The material is well-organised and clearly written, and the maps illustrate the overall geopolitical context. Readers interested in detailed accounts of the battles should look elsewhere, but Curry's volume is an excellent overall reference.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Another good osprey publication June 20 2008
By Douglas E. Libert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great concise 90 page overview of the Hundred Years War.Lots of pictures and maps.The War is broken up into 4 different phases showing how it changed from the first to the last phases with the English finally pushed out.If the French could take any consolation,the Wars of the Roses broke out in 1450 as a direct result of the Hundred Years Wars. Unfortunately however the French had their own civil war which also came about from the Hundred Years War,but at least the major English armies were tied to their own islands.The only good it seems that came about was the final extinguishing of continental land claims by English Kings.These claims were in existence since the time of William the Conqueror and even before.Instead of using war outright as policy to keep an influence on the continent,the English will now use diplomacy and politics to maintain a continental influence. War comes only when the other 2 fail.At any rate England will refuse to be isolated and continental ties are the lifeline.This is a well researched pamphlet style book,a superb general overview.
0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I ordered this but got something else June 22 2013
By Laura O'Shea - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I dont know if this book is good or not. I ordered it but got a book on the 7 years war of France and the UK in the late 1700's. I have to order it again but haven't gotten around to it yet
5 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Boring Jan. 13 2006
By Mark P. Ardin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read history books to learn all about world history and I expect this to be an enjoyable experience. I bought this book because the other reviewer gave it 5 stars. I guess I am looking for a Reader's Digest version of this series of wars that explains everything in layman's terms (and it wouldn't hurt if there was a little excitement or inspiration in it). I am next going to read the Seward book on this subject (because it is inexpensive and it has 5 stars ratings) and then I will compare the 2 books. No one should buy this book if it is only your first or second book on the 100 Years War and you are not a history student and dont know that much about French and English history. This book was just very boring. After I read the Seward book, I will re-read this book and see if I can give it more stars or not.


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