Trial by Battle: The Hundred Years War 1 by Jonathan Sumption
English | 1999 | ISBN: 0571200958 | 672 Pages | PDF | 25.2 MB
'Trial by Battle' was the first volume in Jonathan Sumption's truly monumental history of the Hundred Years War. It tells the story from 1328 down to 1347 and the capture of Calais. The author was a don in Oxford, then a leading Queen's Counsel at the English Bar. Now, he has been made a judge of the Supreme Court, a post which it is believed he will take up once the Abramovich trial in London is over. He is obviously well used to digesting large amounts of information and summarising them in cogent form. This explains why the book is so comprehensive and so authoritative.
As he tells us in the Preface, Sumption's objective is to write grand narrative, based primarily on documentary rather than chronicle sources: he considers the chronicles `episodic, prejudiced, inaccurate and late'. He also aimed to eschew analysis, as well as the scholarly debates which so often sidetrack historians. He appears to have explored all the printed primary sources (together with a good number of the unprinted ones) and to have read all the secondary authorities; and to have pursued his researches in several countries: England, France and Spain at the least. The book is hugely enjoyable, if you are interested in the richness of history and human life and endeavour, and not prejudiced against the Middle Ages, on the grounds of supposed obscurity or obscurantism.
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