Sunday, April 17, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Battle of Agincourt Edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer

344 Pages
Yale University Press
November 17, 2015


Published in partnership with the Royal Armouries, this comprehensive, sumptuously illustrated volume provides a defining reassessment of England’s legendary victory on the fields of Agincourt on October 25, 1415. Dramatized by William Shakespeare in Henry V, the Battle of Agincourt changed the course of the Hundred Years War and Britain’s relationship with her longtime enemy, France. In a remarkable work commemorating the 600th anniversary of arguably the most iconic military engagement of the medieval era, a wide range of experts examine the battle in its political, cultural, and geographical contexts, detailing strategies, tactics, armor, weapons, and fighting techniques while exploring the battlefield experiences of commanders and ordinary soldiers alike. In addition, this all-encompassing study offers deep analyses of many artifacts and aspects of the battle and its aftermath that have rarely been covered in other histories, including medicine and hygiene, the roles of faith and chivalry, the music of the times, and the experiences of women.

My Review

I was absolutely amazed when I received "The Battle of Agincourt." It is an absolutely beautiful, hardcover book that is filled with full color, crystal clear images related to Agincourt. The pictures are of different artifacts from the time period, paintings of those involved, photos of armor and weapons, and more. And, it's not 10 pages of color pictures stuck in the middle of the book, like many nonfiction novels. No, this book has these amazing pictures throughout! On basically every page there is a picture, as well as a description along with it. I spent quite a bit of time flipping through it in order to see the beautiful pictures before I even began reading it!

However, when I started to read it, I was just as impressed and as engrossed with what I was reading as I had been with the pictures. It is a nonfiction book, but information is not presented in a boring or text book like fashion. The facts are presented in a linear fashion, and you do not need to be a historian in order to easily follow along, and learn more about this battle and time period than you would have ever thought possible. I cannot even fathom the amount of research that had to have gone into this amazing book. It is the type of book that I will keep on a table in my living room, as a 'coffee table book', so that I can share the amazing photos with friends and family. Even those who are not huge history buffs can appreciate how nicely put together it is.

It is impossible to give this book less than five out of five stars. It has everything that a nonfiction book should have. If more nonfiction books were like this one, than I would spent less time lost in my historical fiction books, and more time learning about fascinating times and places in history. Reading "The Battle of Agincourt" has stirred my interest in this period in history, and I will most definitely be on the lookout for more books from this time!


“An exceptional study to mark the 600th anniversary of the victory of an invading English army over its French foes in the Battle of Agincourt . . . [A] comprehensive, one-volume survey of the battle and its significance.”—Choice

'A thought-provoking collection of studies by outstanding specialists of one of the most remarkable military campaigns of England's medieval history.'—Jonathan Sumption, author of The Hundred Years War

'A completely absorbing account of the how and why of Agincourt – strongest, and indeed unrivalled, in all aspects of the battle's historical context – and the political and social conditions surrounding it.'—Robert Hardy, author of Longbow: A Social and Military History

"Agincourt is a battle of totemic importance. This book is not only a worthy contribution to a significant anniversary in its own right, but also an essential addition to scholarship on medieval military history."—Jeremy Black

About the Authors

Anne Curry is Professor of History and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Southampton. Malcolm Mercer is Curator of Tower History at the Royal Armouries Museum. 

Purchase This Book