Synopses & Reviews
A History Book Club selection
What history records as the Hundred Years War was in fact a succession of destructive conflicts, separated by tense intervals of truce and dishonest and impermanent peace treaties, and one of the central events in the history of England and France. It laid the foundations of France's national consciousness, even while destroying the prosperity and political preeminence which France had once enjoyed. It formed the nation's institutions, creating the germ of the absolute state of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In England, it brought intense effort and suffering, a powerful tide of patriotism, great fortune succeeded by bankruptcy, disintegration, and utter defeat. The war also brought turmoil and ruin to neighboring Scotland, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Trial by Fire, the second volume of Jonathan Sumption's monumental history of the Hundred Years War, takes up the story in 1347, the year the Truce of Calais was negotiated. When the French repudiated the truce in August 1349 it was to initiate a series of engagements with the English until Edward's last campaign in 1360. After this point the strength of the English companies in France declined, and their presence became a serious diplomatic embarrassment. At the same time, the fragmentation of French society became apparent as violent groups of Bretons, Bearnais, Navarrese, Germans, and above all Gascons roved the land. It was not until the marriage of Philip of Burgundy and Margaret of Flanders, in 1369, that the consolidation of France's territories was achieved.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Table of Contents
v.1. Trial by battle -- v.2. Trial by fire.