The Hundred Years' War 1337–1453

The Hundred Years' War 1337–1453

by Anne Curry

This war is of considerable interest both because of its duration and the number of theatres in which it was fought.

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Curry classifies her book as being in the realm of international relations and clarifies that it is a diplomatic rather than a military study, focused particularly on war aims and on attempts to effect a settlement. Due to her approach, the book is very expansive and looks at the war from a high level, focusing on key events and figures. Curry structures The Hundred Years War in four distinct parts: The study of the Hundred Years War throughout time by historians, the origins of the war, the later stages of the war, and the wider context of the war. Although the book includes these useful additions and has a glossary to explain certain concepts of medieval times, it seems that Curry assumes that the reader is familiar with the war and the period in which it was fought. She makes several points in this section that are helpful in understanding the period and relevant to the study of history in general. She states that the original histories provide the most important, often the only, sources for subsequent historians. This raises the question of whether or not Currys book is a necessary addition to the host of other historical accounts and interpretations of the Hundred Years War. As previously stated, Curry assumes that the reader of her study has some level of understanding of the time period and war itself. It provides insightful context to and commentary on the events that make up the Hundred Years War. Curry eventually answers she poses at the start of the book. Although her conclusions about the war itself are limited, Curry adds to our understanding of war in general, which is one of main reasons why her book is worth reading. She also exemplifies this point when writing about the importance of Scotlands relationship with England in Anglo-French relations during the period. This is an important point that Curry stresses throughout the book and one not that should not be forgotten as historians continue to study various conflicts. Currys history also provides with a better understanding of war by examining the role of prior peace settlements in later conflicts. When writing about the Hundred Years War specifically, she explains that peace settlements throughout the conflict were the result of the specific circumstances which produced them and that they became untenable when circumstances changed. The Hundred Years War attempts to answer questions that do not immediately seem relevant to the study of history and war, but upon further reflection do provide insight into how we should look at both.

A good introduction to the subject and an excellent companion to the Osprey medieval titles, like the one on the English Chevauchée in France of the Raid series.

They were often the target of cavalry raids or of routiers, unemployed soldiers who supported themselves by pillage.

It reminded me of other short history books I've read that seem geared toward college students.