Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Agincourt:
Shakespeare is full of –it.
A new look at one of the most famous battles in history.
Fact for Non-History People:
Henry V was shot in the face with an arrow at an earlier battle when he was Prince of Wales. Clearly, he survived, but damn, it a rough surgery.
Fact for History Nerds:
The ransom for the French King when he was captured in 1360 was around $800 million in today’s dollars.
My Take on Agincourt:
This is going to sound weird to start a review with this compliment but here it goes. Michael Livingston’s Agincourt has perfect tone. Allow me to explain.
Livingston takes a look at one of the most famous battles in history and, le gasp, argues historians have been wrong about a few things for years! Yes, people, we have ourselves a nerd fight.
Now may be the point where you are asking, “But how much fun can there be in historians arguing about stuff?” Generally, I find books arguing historical points can be rather tedious. This is where Livington’s tone is so important. First, he writes in a very “non-scholarly” voice. I felt like he and I were sitting having a beer and he was telling me non-nonchalantly his ideas. Second, he doesn’t call anyone a fool for the misinterpretations he’s uncovered. History can be pretty difficult to discern and Livingston himself points out he might be wrong, or we may never know the right answer. (Seriously, though, how can someone not mention a castle on a battlefield? This question will make sense when you read it. I promise.)
Finally, Livingston sticks to the important parts and doesn’t get bogged down (like the French) in too many details. This book is a quick read, focuses on what you need to know, and makes arguments while keeping the narrative moving. I loved it and this is accessible to even non-history nerds.
(This book was provided as an advance copy by Osprey Books.)
A fantastic book for anybody, not just military history nerds. Buy it here!
If You Liked This Try:
- Marc Morris, A Great and Terrible King
- Michael Jones, The Black Prince: England’s Greatest Medieval Warrior
- Justin Pollard, Alfred the Great
- Kirstin Downey, Isabella