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Edward III and the Triumph of England

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Edward III and the Triumph of England Empty Edward III and the Triumph of England

Post  Guest on Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:16 pm

There aren’t enough books on Edward III. Decades of neglect have left his achievement obscured by huge clouds of pungent hot air generated by Victorian scholars, who were determined to label him a high-taxing, anti-free-trade warmonger. In my opinion he ranks among the most important leaders in the history of the western world for the impetus he personally gave to projectile warfare and the idea of nationalism. Although Barber does not directly deal with these aspects in his book, he too recognises that the achievement of the English under Edward was truly remarkable. Therefore this new book on England’s great king is to be welcomed. 
Having said that, it is quite an odd book. I imagine that most non-specialist readers who notice the title would prefer a dramatic blow-by-blow account of the Battle of Crécy, not a detailed historiographical analysis of the varying chronicle accounts of the encounter. Yet in that analysis lies a point of originality: it may only contain drama in respect of the chronicle entries quoted, but it is a fascinating series of views of military conflict. Similarly, in terms of the author’s personal interpretations, every so often Barber defends a reading on the grounds that it is simply what he believes: ‘I believe that [Edward’s Round Table] is all part of his campaign to establish his rights in France’ and ‘I believe that [the reference to Lyonnel du Glat in the romance Perce-forest] is a flattering reference to Edward’. Normally you would instinctively reject something put forward as a mere belief; but here such speculations have their place.


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