Idolized in his lifetime and immortalized by Shakespeare, Henry V is the military genius whose armies crushed the French at Agincourt against huge odds, and who went on to conquer north-western France, marrying the king’s daughter and becoming heir and regent. But Desmond Seward sweeps away the myths and idolatry to reveal Shakespeare’s hero-king as a cruel, intolerant bigot. He shows the ruthlessness of a man who called himself ‘the scourge of God’ when reproached for massacring French Christians: how he slaughtered prisoners of war, and whose blind ambition arose from his determination to prove his tenuous claim to the throne of England usurped.
Henry V, argues Seward, created a distrust between England and France that has lasted to this day.
Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at Ampleforth and St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He is the author of many books including The Monks of War: The Military Religious Orders, The Hundred Years War, The Wars of the Roses, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry V as Warlord, Josephus, Masada and the Fall of Judaea (da Capo, US, April 2009), Wings over the Desert: in action with an RFC pilot in Palestine 1916-18 (Haynes Military, July 2009) and Old Puglia: A Portrait of South Eastern Italy (Haus August 2009). Forthcoming is The Last White Rose: the Spectre at the Tudor Court 1485-1547 (C...
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