Richard Cavendish

A Brave Tale

The Hundred Years War

By Robin Neillands

Routledge 315pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Hundred Years War: Trial by Battle

By Jonathan Sumption

Faber & Faber 670 £20 order from our bookshop

 

Is it a pity that the English didn’t win the Hundred Years War? If the English kings, who ruled more of France than the French kings, had made good their claim to the lot, there might have been no French Revolution, no Napoleon, no Russian Revolution and perhaps no world wars . The French would now play cricket, with the same panache as they play rugby. The English would hold their liquor better, wear berets and enjoy a sensible education system.

The English and French national identities are generally agreed to have been the principal products of the longest war in the history books, as the rival dynasties of England and France wrangled like obstinate dogs over the bone of succession to the French throne.

Chicago_Dec2016

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