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12 Værker 1,892 Medlemmer 52 Anmeldelser

Om forfatteren

Helen Castor is a historian, writer, and broadcaster. She is the author of Blood and Roses, winner of the English Association's Beatrice White Prize, and presents BBC Radio 4's Making History. She is a fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, and lives in London.

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This would probably have been better titled as something like Joan of Arc and Her World or The High Politics of Fifteenth-Century France and Joan of Arc's Role Within It or something like that—much less catchy, but more true to how this is a fairly conventional military/political history of a certain period of the Hundred Years' War and Joan's role within it, rather than a biography per se. (Joan herself doesn't appear until almost the halfway mark.)

Helen Castor is clear about this from the get go, and it is absolutely true and fair to say that with the kind of sources we have surviving from the Middle Ages, it's really impossible to write a biography that lets you "know" the person. What we can know about Joan of Arc is how people reacted to her, what they thought of her and the political uses they made of her. Castor is careful in her use of the documentary record and her overview of the political/military events is useful.

But I found myself wishing that Castor had been a tad more inventive in her approach to Joan, brought in more insights from women's/gender history, contextualised Joan more in terms of the other "prophetesses"/visionaries/heretical women of the times. (She briefly references Ermine de Reims, and although this book was published the year before Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinki's work on Ermine, that was the kind of comparative subject I was hoping to see more of. For the kind of book this is, it's fine, but I don't think this is destined to be the go-to popular study of Joan.
… (mere)
siriaeve | 7 andre anmeldelser | Jul 13, 2024 |
Wonderful! Castor provides details about the queens before Elizabeth I, writing with such an engaging quality that it makes her book absolutely captivating.

The book opens with the death of Henry VIII’s young son King Edward VI in 1553 when all potential heirs were female meaning England would have a female reigning monarch for the first time. Then Castor goes back to provide biographies of Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou who were all queens in the names of their husbands or sons. And although Matilda reigned briefly, “Bloody” Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon was the first queen to rule in her own right.

Outstanding! Highly recommended.
… (mere)
VivienneR | 28 andre anmeldelser | Mar 20, 2024 |
It took 21 hours to read this aloud to my wife in segments before bed.

I really liked this one but it's gonna take me a bit to write a decent review.
xaverie | 28 andre anmeldelser | Apr 3, 2023 |
When I first read this book, I hated it.

Honestly, the writing style is pretty boring, but the info is good, so i'll let it pass...
thereadingpal | 28 andre anmeldelser | Jun 14, 2022 |



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