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Sir Ranulph Fiennes' dynamic account of the Battle of Agincourt gives a unique perspective on one of the most significant turning battles in English history. On 25th October 1415, on a French hillside near the village of Agincourt, four men sheltered from the rain and prepared for battle. All four were English knights—ancestors of Sir Ranulph Fiennes—and part of the army of Sir Ranulph Fiennes' dynamic account of the Battle of Agincourt gives a unique perspective on one of the most significant turning battles in English history. On 25th October 1415, on a French hillside near the village of Agincourt, four men sheltered from the rain and prepared for battle. All four were English knights—ancestors of Sir Ranulph Fiennes—and part of the army of England's King Henry V. Across the valley, four sons of the French arm of the Fiennes family were confident that the Dauphin's army would win the day . . . Sir Ranulph Fiennes explains how his own ancestors were key players through the centuries of turbulent Anglo-French history that led up to Agincourt, and he uses his experience as expedition leader and soldier to give us a fresh perspective on one of the bloodiest periods of medieval history. With fascinating detail on the battle plans, weaponry, and human drama of Agincourt, this is a gripping evocation of a historical event integral to English identity. Six hundred years after the Battle of Agincourt, Sir Ranulph Fiennes casts new light on this epic event that has resonated throughout British and French history. 16 pages of color and B&W illustrations


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Sir Ranulph Fiennes' dynamic account of the Battle of Agincourt gives a unique perspective on one of the most significant turning battles in English history. On 25th October 1415, on a French hillside near the village of Agincourt, four men sheltered from the rain and prepared for battle. All four were English knights—ancestors of Sir Ranulph Fiennes—and part of the army of Sir Ranulph Fiennes' dynamic account of the Battle of Agincourt gives a unique perspective on one of the most significant turning battles in English history. On 25th October 1415, on a French hillside near the village of Agincourt, four men sheltered from the rain and prepared for battle. All four were English knights—ancestors of Sir Ranulph Fiennes—and part of the army of England's King Henry V. Across the valley, four sons of the French arm of the Fiennes family were confident that the Dauphin's army would win the day . . . Sir Ranulph Fiennes explains how his own ancestors were key players through the centuries of turbulent Anglo-French history that led up to Agincourt, and he uses his experience as expedition leader and soldier to give us a fresh perspective on one of the bloodiest periods of medieval history. With fascinating detail on the battle plans, weaponry, and human drama of Agincourt, this is a gripping evocation of a historical event integral to English identity. Six hundred years after the Battle of Agincourt, Sir Ranulph Fiennes casts new light on this epic event that has resonated throughout British and French history. 16 pages of color and B&W illustrations

30 review for Agincourt: The Fight for France

  1. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Considering that there are several very good new studies of Agincourt, there is absolutely no reason for this book to exist. Fiennes reminds us multiple times that he's an explorer, dammnit, not a historian, which is why he uses not a single citation from the tired 1970s secondary sources, uses the first 150 pages of the book as a glib, irresponsible tour through English history (no, the Normans did not operate "like the STASI"), focusing on the roles of his ancestors, who are helpfully always l Considering that there are several very good new studies of Agincourt, there is absolutely no reason for this book to exist. Fiennes reminds us multiple times that he's an explorer, dammnit, not a historian, which is why he uses not a single citation from the tired 1970s secondary sources, uses the first 150 pages of the book as a glib, irresponsible tour through English history (no, the Normans did not operate "like the STASI"), focusing on the roles of his ancestors, who are helpfully always listed in italics. This is very bad Great People history--totally ignoring anyone who is not a noble (with the exception of Fiennes' discourse on peasants and crotch-rot and how it was really just too bad for those shepherds he and the SAS killed in Oman in 1962 because they could have been lookouts), as well as the momentous demographic, economic, environmental and political changes which shaped the war and the English reaction to it. Fiennes' bizarre belief that being *a direct descendant of Charlemagne* (like literally millions of other people) gives him some special narrative historical powers is obnoxious.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This guy really doesn't want you to forget that he's talking about his ancestors. We get it. This guy really doesn't want you to forget that he's talking about his ancestors. We get it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    This book, while interesting in a general sense, quickly becomes apparent that it is a monument to the authors ego. The history itself is rather generalized in the interest of time, but for a casual reader is plenty to understand what is happening. My problem with this book is that I just don't care about the author. I'm sure he is an interesting and fine person; but his insistence on telling barely relevant personal anecdotes comes off as bragging. Really. In a book posing as a historical analys This book, while interesting in a general sense, quickly becomes apparent that it is a monument to the authors ego. The history itself is rather generalized in the interest of time, but for a casual reader is plenty to understand what is happening. My problem with this book is that I just don't care about the author. I'm sure he is an interesting and fine person; but his insistence on telling barely relevant personal anecdotes comes off as bragging. Really. In a book posing as a historical analysis of a major European geopolitical event, the author feels the need to tell us how he went on an Arctic expedition, using the qualifier that he understands how hard it is to raise money now (relating to King Henry's challenges). It is in incredibly poor taste and is quite sophomoric. It seems the author is trying to impress me with his barstool stories. Just tell me about the damn battle. I can accept talking about the authors relatives, but increasingly it became an excuse to talk about the author himself. He seems to think that a general audience cares a fair amount about his family history. Related to the battle? It is interesting. Related to him? Yawn, and double yawn. The author is a merely competent historical writer: sadly, he suffers from "the world revolves around me" syndrome.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This was not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting a more in depth analysis of the battle itself, and perhaps some detailed history leading up to the battle. Instead, we had a very light touch on about four hundred years of history, with details being saved for focusing on the author's ancestor's involvement. I am not sure why I care about the author's family - I realize some of them were key players, but not more than any others. To highlight them, with italics always, seemed to be a ver This was not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting a more in depth analysis of the battle itself, and perhaps some detailed history leading up to the battle. Instead, we had a very light touch on about four hundred years of history, with details being saved for focusing on the author's ancestor's involvement. I am not sure why I care about the author's family - I realize some of them were key players, but not more than any others. To highlight them, with italics always, seemed to be a very odd choice. I hadn't read the details on the march leading into the battle of Agincourt before, so that was an interesting back drop to the battle itself. The battle should've been won by the French for so many reasons (namely sheer numbers), but the battle went to the English due to: (1) Poor battle formation on the part of the French (their side was hemmed in by woods on both sides, making more for a funneling effect of the soldiers); efficient battle formation for the English - long, thin line with longbow archers placed effectively to aim right where the French funneled (2) Lack of French leadership - too many generals, so to speak - and none of them with enough status over the others to take clear charge. It reminds me a little bit of the Confederacy at Gettysburg. Additionally, the French leaders that were there were recently in the midst of civil war (and soon to continue it). You can't fight well alongside those you don't trust. Also, all of the leaders wanted to be in the vanguard, leaving the rearguard essentially leaderless. The crossbowmen and archers were also poorly placed. (3) Surprise charge/attack by the longbowman (mainly Welsh, for the English side) to put finality on the battle, when the French attempted a last charge. With arrows low and the range not quite right, the Welsh used hand-to-hand combat to turn the tide on a mostly disorganized French. I hadn't heard of that part before.

  5. 5 out of 5

    judy

    What are the words people usually use to point out that the English can be quirky, eccentric etc.? Either the author or the publisher who put him up to this fits the bill. Fiennes may be the best explorer who ever lived--Arctic and Antarctic not to mention Everest, 7 marathons on 7 continents, OBE (of course) and huge amount of money raised for the Heart Foundation. So this non-historian is treating us to speeding through English history from 1066 (actually he is related to Charlemagne but doesn What are the words people usually use to point out that the English can be quirky, eccentric etc.? Either the author or the publisher who put him up to this fits the bill. Fiennes may be the best explorer who ever lived--Arctic and Antarctic not to mention Everest, 7 marathons on 7 continents, OBE (of course) and huge amount of money raised for the Heart Foundation. So this non-historian is treating us to speeding through English history from 1066 (actually he is related to Charlemagne but doesn't go back that far) to Agincourt in 1415. And? you ask. Because this bit of English history is littered with his direct ancestors--all of whom were in direct contact with the King. Therein lies the difficulty. As he makes his way though events (including the 100 Years War), Fiennes lets us know who his relatives are via italics. I believe the publisher wanted him to do this as a way of giving the book a unique slant. Needless to say, this is fine if you're an English history fan. Throwing in a bunch of names when you're already having trouble keeping the important ones straight doesn't work well for us Yanks. In addition to that, he sometimes drops in a paragraph about his own adventures. This is a book for those who know him and love him. I'm sure there are many--but maybe not on this side of the pond.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    The long long history of separation between France and Britain. Agincourt was one battle over the decades, I'm still not sure why it is singled out. The read however is fascinating, if for no other reason than the author Fiennes describes his ancestors on both sides of the channel - fighting each other, for one royal member or another. It puts into perspective just what OLD Money really is. The long long history of separation between France and Britain. Agincourt was one battle over the decades, I'm still not sure why it is singled out. The read however is fascinating, if for no other reason than the author Fiennes describes his ancestors on both sides of the channel - fighting each other, for one royal member or another. It puts into perspective just what OLD Money really is.

  7. 4 out of 5

    alphonse p guardino

    I saw this book some time ago as a newly published hardcover at Barnes & Noble when it was published in 2015. Did not buy it until long after, when I came across it in paperback. It then sat in my “too be read” stack for at least a year. In all that time I did not read any reviews of the book until this past Monday (May 10, 2021) AFTER finishing it. In some ways I wish I’d read the reviews BEFORE buying the book! The actual battle of Agincourt is only a very short section of the book. Most of the I saw this book some time ago as a newly published hardcover at Barnes & Noble when it was published in 2015. Did not buy it until long after, when I came across it in paperback. It then sat in my “too be read” stack for at least a year. In all that time I did not read any reviews of the book until this past Monday (May 10, 2021) AFTER finishing it. In some ways I wish I’d read the reviews BEFORE buying the book! The actual battle of Agincourt is only a very short section of the book. Most of the rest is an account of the authors ancestors and how they tied into the royal families of England and France going back to the time of the Norman Invasion. That account delivers a rough outline on English history from just before the conquest to the reign of Henry VI (son of the victor of Agincourt). Many times I found the ancestor name dropping a bit confusing. In more than a few reviews I read after the fact people mentioned not finishing the book for that very reason. Those reviews (on Amazon) gave the book 1 star. Maybe because I’ve developed an ability to skim past BS, I was able to finish. Guess I would have joined the crowd giving this book a 1 star rating. Except that it revealed to me something that is not a secret of any kind, yet I do not recall seeing mentioned at all in the many histories and historical novels I’ve read of the Plantagenets. For those of you in the same boat I could call this a spoiler. But how can history have spoilers? The one thing I learned from this book was that Prince Hal, the future King Henry V, took an arrow to his face at the battle of Shrewsbury. And far better accounts and descriptions can be found on line than in this book. I highly recommend using your favorite search engine and reading through the results. There’s even an excellent video on how the four inch long bodkin arrow head, which had completely penetrated Prince Hal’s sinuses, was removed.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert Nugent

    Fiennes' English-epic, 'Agincourt: The Fight for France' is a worthwhile read for anyone seeking an overview of English royal affairs circa 1066-1450 AD. From William the Conqueror to Edward III and Henry V, Fiennes' presents an easy-to-read overview of England from the Battle of Hastings to the end of the Hundred Years' War. That said, the text was really anything but Agincourt, which was hardly a chapter of the entire book, and doesn't go into any greater detail than most works which include th Fiennes' English-epic, 'Agincourt: The Fight for France' is a worthwhile read for anyone seeking an overview of English royal affairs circa 1066-1450 AD. From William the Conqueror to Edward III and Henry V, Fiennes' presents an easy-to-read overview of England from the Battle of Hastings to the end of the Hundred Years' War. That said, the text was really anything but Agincourt, which was hardly a chapter of the entire book, and doesn't go into any greater detail than most works which include the battle. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I felt slightly cheated, as if I had been drawn into it by means of a buzzword. A more accurate way to refer to the book would be 'The Fiennes' Family History.' Fiennes goes into plenty of detail recounting the history of his ancestors and their doings within the courts of England and France, which provided the book with an intriguing personal spin that you certainly would not get from any other author. While at times this droned on, I appreciated the flavor it added to what I was reading. Ultimately, I would consider this book a success and worth the read, however misleading the title may be. I think the experienced historians of the time period could give Fiennes' 'Agincourt' a pass, but for the newcomer, I think this book is a perfect point of entry to England's exciting medieval history and a fun read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tom Emory Jr.

    Place this book somewhere between history and ancestry since the author, Ranulph Fiennes, traces the The 100 Years War through the participation of his ancestors, both English and French. Agincourt, widely seen as a climactic battle in history (thank you, William Shakespeare), is almost a footnote in this book. The Fiennes family (damn large and damned involved in everything) appears on nearly every page as warriors, leaders, advisors, friends, bureaucrats, battle casualties, execution victims, Place this book somewhere between history and ancestry since the author, Ranulph Fiennes, traces the The 100 Years War through the participation of his ancestors, both English and French. Agincourt, widely seen as a climactic battle in history (thank you, William Shakespeare), is almost a footnote in this book. The Fiennes family (damn large and damned involved in everything) appears on nearly every page as warriors, leaders, advisors, friends, bureaucrats, battle casualties, execution victims, etc., to every important person, including the kings of Britain and France. With the exception of the inclusion of Fiennes family, this book, while enjoyable, did not add a lot to my prior knowledge of Agincourt or The 100 Years War. On the flip side, Sir Ranulph Fiennes is a fascinating person and personality with a history worthy of a book. NOTE: If you have problems with names in Russian novels, avoid this book. Russian novels actually are easier. The names, families, titles of the Fiennes and the connections to each other are incredibly complex. The book must be read with a finger stuck towards the front of it so you can easily flip to the color-coded Fiennes family tree. SECOND NOTE: After reading the book and writing a brief review, I read some other readers' reviews. I had no idea so many of us would hold similar opinions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kieran Lancaster

    I think those complaining about the main feature of the book are being a bit too harsh. Yes, he mentions his ancestors a fair bit, they do seem to be very prominent in the course of history. But that's pretty much a given, its in the title of the book. Personally, I thought it was a unique slant on telling the story of the battle, the hundreds year war and previous events. It was pretty easy to understand, and I didn't get confused with name dropping here there and everywhere as is possible in o I think those complaining about the main feature of the book are being a bit too harsh. Yes, he mentions his ancestors a fair bit, they do seem to be very prominent in the course of history. But that's pretty much a given, its in the title of the book. Personally, I thought it was a unique slant on telling the story of the battle, the hundreds year war and previous events. It was pretty easy to understand, and I didn't get confused with name dropping here there and everywhere as is possible in other books. It gave a good overview of events, was easy to read, and was quite interesting too. Maybe it's just because I haven't read about the hundreds year war before. But for me, it was an easy to read book which gave enough detail about the war and battle to be enjoyable. It wasn't some 500 page marathon with paragraphs of quotes which are barely understandable using 14th century grammar and spelling. It's not perfect, he can go on occasional tangents about who's related to who in his family tree, which is in all honesty a bit confusing. And explaining some of his own exploits, isn't bad per say, but dropping in a paragraph and carrying on as before, it doesn't really add anything.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paul Langenwalter

    A cliff notes version of the Plantagenet dynasty, written through the lens of the Fiennes family. A bit self serving and aggrandizing. You don't actually get to Agincourt untill about 3/4 the way through the book. Not a particularly serious peice of historical non fiction although in the authors favor he notes that several times. Wasn't what I had set out to read, but was still worth the time spent. A cliff notes version of the Plantagenet dynasty, written through the lens of the Fiennes family. A bit self serving and aggrandizing. You don't actually get to Agincourt untill about 3/4 the way through the book. Not a particularly serious peice of historical non fiction although in the authors favor he notes that several times. Wasn't what I had set out to read, but was still worth the time spent.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    An excellent version of a rather personal part of the Fiennes family history!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ross Whitford

    Quiet, slow and dull. A love letter to his own family more than anything else. Do yourself a favor and pass.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven Batty

    Enjoyed the book for what it is.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Rennie

    I was really looking forward to reading this book, but must confess that I was disappointed in the end. The book is no doubt an accurate historical reflection of events, but the constant reference to the Fiennes family grew heavy and I am sure that others must have been involved. To give the account a story, then perhaps a single character should have been followed but in the end, there were so many references to so many different people, that I was frequently confused and had to go back to rerea I was really looking forward to reading this book, but must confess that I was disappointed in the end. The book is no doubt an accurate historical reflection of events, but the constant reference to the Fiennes family grew heavy and I am sure that others must have been involved. To give the account a story, then perhaps a single character should have been followed but in the end, there were so many references to so many different people, that I was frequently confused and had to go back to reread a section. Perhaps it was just me, but as a purely historical account it no doubt has its place.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Randolph Fienes has reached both poles and the summit of Mt. Everest. He has seen action as a soldier. His life (See: "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous") is on a par with people like Wilfred Thesiger. Though he isn't a particularly able historian, his book about Agincourt (2/3 family history intertwined with a general history of Saxon-Norman-French conflict) has a couple of strengths. One is the family connection. His family was involved in English history in a way that few are; e.g., one of the Fiennes Randolph Fienes has reached both poles and the summit of Mt. Everest. He has seen action as a soldier. His life (See: "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous") is on a par with people like Wilfred Thesiger. Though he isn't a particularly able historian, his book about Agincourt (2/3 family history intertwined with a general history of Saxon-Norman-French conflict) has a couple of strengths. One is the family connection. His family was involved in English history in a way that few are; e.g., one of the Fiennes was Eustace of Boulogne, who was William the Conqueror's second-in-command at Hastings and who fought for and against William afterwards, and was married to the sister of Matilda, whose rivalry with Stephen of Blois, led to a decade-long period of civil war and anarchy. Godfrey de Boulogne was a prominent leader of the First Crusade. Geoffrey de Mandeville was the worst of the English barons who took advantage of the anarchy that marked Stephen and Matilda's time to change sides repeatedly and amass personal holdings. There were Fiennes on both sides at Agincourt. Sometimes the emphasis on family gets old (e.g., "Fiennes to the fore" as a chapter title), but mostly it gives a very personal touch to the historical events under discussion. A lot of other families could do the same, I'd guess, but they haven't, so Fiennes's personal connections are interesting. Another strength of the book lies in how Fiennes sometimes uses his own personal history (such as his time with the Omani Scouts, or undergoing demanding physical exertions en route to the South Pole that help him relate to the exertions of Henry V's small army as it slogged across France) to relate to bigger events. Having said all that, I'd like to know more about the actual battle (or about Crecy, for that matter). Why were the French unable to change their tactics meaningfully? They fought the English for more than sixty years without showing that they could cope. And why did the English heroics not matter much in the long run? The personal context for the book could have set up a deeper analysis of the actual military events. Though a charming book, it could be retitled.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Colin Darby

    I knew of Ranulph Fiennes as an eccentric but renowned explorer and SAS veteran and expected his take on Agincourt to reflect this background. I was instead deeply disappointed. the battle itself only occupies about fifty pages of about three hundred, and much more space is given to the conduct of his ancestors and relatives, sometimes including tangential information that makes it sound like his own family is the only reason anything ever gets done in western Europe. If it had been written as a I knew of Ranulph Fiennes as an eccentric but renowned explorer and SAS veteran and expected his take on Agincourt to reflect this background. I was instead deeply disappointed. the battle itself only occupies about fifty pages of about three hundred, and much more space is given to the conduct of his ancestors and relatives, sometimes including tangential information that makes it sound like his own family is the only reason anything ever gets done in western Europe. If it had been written as a straightforward history of the Fiennes family's involvement with English history it would have been interesting enough, but rendering every single relation in italics and spending only a sixth of your book on your supposed topic is less a history and more an exercise in genealogical masturbation. It gets two stars rather than one because it makes no glaring errors in its history (minor details like claiming the famously chaste Godfroi de Bouillon as an ancestor aside). However, this should not be mistaken as anything like an endorsement. It's not offensively bad but it is lazy and self-absorbed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Graham Tapper

    Though the book is primarily titled "Agincourt", it is mostly about Fiennes' ancestors and their relationship to royalty, from Charles Martell in the 8th century through Charlemagne and, to the point where the family divided at the time of Duke William of Normandy and his bid for the throne of England, with William's descendants. From which you will gather that the Fiennes are a "French" family, from the town of that name, in Northern France (Pas de Calais). However at that time, France, as such, Though the book is primarily titled "Agincourt", it is mostly about Fiennes' ancestors and their relationship to royalty, from Charles Martell in the 8th century through Charlemagne and, to the point where the family divided at the time of Duke William of Normandy and his bid for the throne of England, with William's descendants. From which you will gather that the Fiennes are a "French" family, from the town of that name, in Northern France (Pas de Calais). However at that time, France, as such, did not actually exist. It was primarily a number of Dukedoms, with the leading figure of each feeling that they had the right to unify and rule over all of the area we know today as France. They were a warring lot and the Fiennes family mirrored them, especially after the half that went to England in 1066 decided to stay there and become "English". The bulk of the book covers the times we know from British history as The Hundred Years War. This era was dominated by the repercussions of the Great Plague, which had devastated the population of the British Isles and resulted in a period of lawlessness unknown before or since. The Fiennes were ever close to the throne in both countries and much involved in all of the disputes between the French and the English royalty over the legitimacy of claims to lands in France such as Normandy, Aquitaine, Gascony and, ultimately to the throne of a unified France. Fiennes proves himself to be a master storyteller of the calibre of Simon Schama. The book is a real page-turner, which is something you don't often find in a history book, only in historical novels of the likes of those of Bernard Cornwell. You can't say much better than that.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan Vine

    I think the best phrase to describe this book is 'learned but batty'. Much of the book is a straightforward and quite enlightening chronicle of events leading up to Agincourt, starting in 1066 with the Norman conquest. Every now and then, it is punctuated with a few paragraphs of 'he was the grandson of Maud Fiennes and the third cousin of five or six other people called Fiennes of whom you were supposed to be keeping track' or 'Henry's situation reminds me of when my wife and I had to equip a p I think the best phrase to describe this book is 'learned but batty'. Much of the book is a straightforward and quite enlightening chronicle of events leading up to Agincourt, starting in 1066 with the Norman conquest. Every now and then, it is punctuated with a few paragraphs of 'he was the grandson of Maud Fiennes and the third cousin of five or six other people called Fiennes of whom you were supposed to be keeping track' or 'Henry's situation reminds me of when my wife and I had to equip a polar expedition with two helicopters, three icebreakers and 500 bottles of liniment'. Still, it's a good read and I have put it down this evening (24th October) at the point when the two armies are about to fight. I will read the remaining pages tomorrow, the 25th October, St Crispin's Day, 600 years after the battle of Agincourt.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Johan

    Indeed before the description of the actual battle of Agincourt starts you have to work your way through a lengthy description of the history up to that point starting around 1066. In general informative, I had to take other history books next to this text to find the logic of some developments and to keep track of the main lines. It is true that this part of history gets pretty complicated because of the many opposing clans and interests, but it is not getting any clearer by introducing many ch Indeed before the description of the actual battle of Agincourt starts you have to work your way through a lengthy description of the history up to that point starting around 1066. In general informative, I had to take other history books next to this text to find the logic of some developments and to keep track of the main lines. It is true that this part of history gets pretty complicated because of the many opposing clans and interests, but it is not getting any clearer by introducing many characters in the book with the justification that these were kinsmen of the author. Overall a useful view of the Hundred Years War that may trigger an interest to read more about it, as many questions remain after having finished this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Brown

    An easy and reader friendly study of the events that led up to the battle of Agincourt. We start prior to 1066 when most of the leading families rose to power in France and England. And we follow the various leaders and power brokers through the steps that led to England and France being again at war. But this is also a rah-rah book about the Fiennes family and how it fought on both sides, ruled Jerusalem for a time and almost single handedly created the English and French countries. ( That is a An easy and reader friendly study of the events that led up to the battle of Agincourt. We start prior to 1066 when most of the leading families rose to power in France and England. And we follow the various leaders and power brokers through the steps that led to England and France being again at war. But this is also a rah-rah book about the Fiennes family and how it fought on both sides, ruled Jerusalem for a time and almost single handedly created the English and French countries. ( That is a bit of sarcasm on my part as the author spent way too much time on his family efforts at time. ) This is a nice detailed look at a specific event with a lot of "ego" thrown in.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    As 2015 marks the 600th anniversary of the legendary battle, a slew of books have been released to coincide with this. Fiennes is more known as an explorer but he now turns his hand to writing military history. Fiennes is descended from Norman invaders and his family therefore fought on both sides of the Hundred Years War. Reading about his ancestors, I was amazed at how many were connected to royalty and were present during key moments in medieval history. Enjoyed this for the different angle o As 2015 marks the 600th anniversary of the legendary battle, a slew of books have been released to coincide with this. Fiennes is more known as an explorer but he now turns his hand to writing military history. Fiennes is descended from Norman invaders and his family therefore fought on both sides of the Hundred Years War. Reading about his ancestors, I was amazed at how many were connected to royalty and were present during key moments in medieval history. Enjoyed this for the different angle on a particular period in history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Harry Cunningham

    Enjoyable and interesting account of the hundred years war leading up to and after the battle of Agincourt. As it focuses on the journey of the Norman Fiennes family on both sides of the war, the writing could be heavy with family detail but as sir Ranulfs family were so entwined, at the highest levels and played important parts throughout the key stages of the war it is quite an engaging read. The most fascinating aspect of the book is how family dynasties can stay so influential over such long Enjoyable and interesting account of the hundred years war leading up to and after the battle of Agincourt. As it focuses on the journey of the Norman Fiennes family on both sides of the war, the writing could be heavy with family detail but as sir Ranulfs family were so entwined, at the highest levels and played important parts throughout the key stages of the war it is quite an engaging read. The most fascinating aspect of the book is how family dynasties can stay so influential over such long periods of time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie

    *I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway* Ranulph Fiennes has that blunt, snarky, thoroughly British style that I adore. He starts with William the Conquerer and goes through Agincourt to the end of the Hundred Years War. Usually I loathe histories where the author refers to his own family's part but in this case it works really well. Fiennes were all over medieval English and French history and it's amazing to me to read about it from their descendent. Excuse me while I go read 50 more books on *I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway* Ranulph Fiennes has that blunt, snarky, thoroughly British style that I adore. He starts with William the Conquerer and goes through Agincourt to the end of the Hundred Years War. Usually I loathe histories where the author refers to his own family's part but in this case it works really well. Fiennes were all over medieval English and French history and it's amazing to me to read about it from their descendent. Excuse me while I go read 50 more books on this part of history. I'm hooked.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Ranulph Fiennes is connected to just about every family who fought as knights in this battle. His telling of history is precise and very readable. Perhaps the most useful reason for reading this was that for the first time I understood why some family histories are so important and so linked to place. Fiennes is no snob but he is clearly and properly, proud of, and emotionally connected to, a genealogy that has helped make him who he is. I enjoyed this book very much.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alastair Hill

    Interesting look into the reasons behind the Hundred Years War but lack of focus and clarity doesn't give a clear picture. Brings up that he is an explorer far too often and flits between over detailing portions alongside skipping past certain events with barely a mention. I didn't read the last few chapters as I'd just had enough at that point which is very rare. There are far more interesting and engaging books about Agincourt. Interesting look into the reasons behind the Hundred Years War but lack of focus and clarity doesn't give a clear picture. Brings up that he is an explorer far too often and flits between over detailing portions alongside skipping past certain events with barely a mention. I didn't read the last few chapters as I'd just had enough at that point which is very rare. There are far more interesting and engaging books about Agincourt.

  27. 4 out of 5

    kerrycat

    My first book in 2016 is sadly, the rare DNF. Just too much of the 'look at me, I'm related to Charlemagne' about it. The author might not realize that many of us are, and we don't need to make a fuss about it. Perhaps there was something new, something revealing in these pages, but this was so off-putting that I couldn't keep going. (DNFs get no rating from me) My first book in 2016 is sadly, the rare DNF. Just too much of the 'look at me, I'm related to Charlemagne' about it. The author might not realize that many of us are, and we don't need to make a fuss about it. Perhaps there was something new, something revealing in these pages, but this was so off-putting that I couldn't keep going. (DNFs get no rating from me)

  28. 5 out of 5

    William

    Chatty and personal best describe the author's approach to depicting the Battle of Agincourt. Fiennes uses his own many experiences to explain the preface to the battle, the terrible battle itself, and also its aftermath. This book is especially interesting because Fiennes traces his own ancestors' role in the historical events. The details presented are never boring but rather entertaining. Chatty and personal best describe the author's approach to depicting the Battle of Agincourt. Fiennes uses his own many experiences to explain the preface to the battle, the terrible battle itself, and also its aftermath. This book is especially interesting because Fiennes traces his own ancestors' role in the historical events. The details presented are never boring but rather entertaining.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue Robinson

    Thank goodness this book is readable, because keeping up with Fiennes' extended family of ancestors involved is daunting enough. It's an interesting take on the whole lead-up to the battle of Agincourt, and I can understand what happened more clearly now, but some of his facts differed to my understanding of the current thinking. But that may just be me. Thank goodness this book is readable, because keeping up with Fiennes' extended family of ancestors involved is daunting enough. It's an interesting take on the whole lead-up to the battle of Agincourt, and I can understand what happened more clearly now, but some of his facts differed to my understanding of the current thinking. But that may just be me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scott Wilson

    An excellent look , not just at the battle of Agincourt, but at the entire history of the Hundred Years War. Fiennes, who is descended from many of the major players on both the English and French sides, relates the convoluted history of the Anglo-Norman monarchy in an interesting way, bringing out the personalities of those who shaped history. Perhaps the best history book I've read this year. An excellent look , not just at the battle of Agincourt, but at the entire history of the Hundred Years War. Fiennes, who is descended from many of the major players on both the English and French sides, relates the convoluted history of the Anglo-Norman monarchy in an interesting way, bringing out the personalities of those who shaped history. Perhaps the best history book I've read this year.

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