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War Cruel and Sharp: English Strategy under…
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War Cruel and Sharp: English Strategy under Edward III, 1327-1360 (Warfare… (udgave 2001)

af Clifford J. Rogers (Forfatter)

Serier: Warfare in History (2000)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
512392,346 (4.88)6
Contemporaries considered Edward III of England "the wisest and shrewdest warrior in the world", but he has not fared so well in the estimation of modern historians, many of whom have argued that he was a fine tactician but a poor strategist. This is despite the fact that by 1360 the English had become the foremost martial nation of Europe; that famous victories had been won at Dupplin Moor, Halidon Hill, Crécy, and Poitiers; and David II of Scotland and Jean II of France were Edward's prisoners, and the French, with the Treaty of Brétigny, had agreed to surrender a third of their kingdom to his sovereign rule in exchange for peace. In War Cruel and Sharp, Professor Rogers offers a powerfully argued and thoroughly researched reassessment of the military and political strategies which Edward III and the Black Prince employed to achieve this astounding result. Using a narrative framework, he makes the case that the Plantagenets' ultimate success came from adapting the strategy which Robert Bruce had used to force the 'Shameful Peace' on England in 1328. Unlike previous historians, he argues that the quest for decisive battle underlay Edward's strategy in every campaign he undertook, though the English also utilized sieges and ferocious devastation of the countryside to advance their war efforts. CLIFFORD J. ROGERS is Professor of History, United States Military Academy, West Point.… (mere)
Medlem:firstofwaylands
Titel:War Cruel and Sharp: English Strategy under Edward III, 1327-1360 (Warfare in History) (Volume 11)
Forfattere:Clifford J. Rogers (Forfatter)
Info:Boydell Press (2001), Edition: First Edition, 480 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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War Cruel and Sharp: English Strategy under Edward III, 1327-1360 af Clifford J. Rogers

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I really enjoyed this - so often newer historical works from academics are overly dry. While it's no novel and has a lot of information in it, Rogers writes quite well and with an entertaining style.

Clifford Rogers provides a detailed analysis of Edward III's campaigns from 1327 through 1360, including his early campaigns in Scotland, through the first invasions of France in The Hundred Years War. He does so in an effort to show that, contrary to what other authors have said, Edward III's campaigns in France were not dominated by an effort to simply devastate the countryside and so undermine the authority of the Valois Kings in France, but rather that he actively sought battles with the French in order to bring about swifter, more decisive conclusions to their conflicts.

While Rogers does not use this work to attempt to dispel the more general thesis that Medieval Military Commanders sought to avoid War at all costs, it certainly invites a re-examination of other campaigns to see how well that theory holds up. And for those who continue to hold the outdated view that medieval warfare lacked strategy, or that military commanders of the time were without understanding of comprehensive military strategy, this serves as yet another nail in that particular coffin.

Keep in mind that this work discusses the campaigns as a whole - with less emphasis on individual battles. If you are looking for detailed battlefield accounts, other works would be more profitable.

I won't provide a blow-by-blow outline of Rogers' narrative. Instead I will note the most positive aspects of this work. First and foremost is the reliance on contemporary and near-contemporary sources. This work is copiously footnoted (and the footnotes are important - take time to read them) with accounts of chroniclers that accompanied the various armies, providing frequent evidence that Edward was actively seeking battle and was extremely disappointed when he couldn't bring the French to one.

Second, Rogers goes into great detail covering the political aspects of these campaigns. He discusses the Franco-Scottish alliance, Phillip VI's confiscation of some of Edward's continental holdings when he was a minor, Edward's rights to the Kingship of France, the Papal efforts toward peace and the various alliances that were formed and broken throughout the 33-year period, and the implications of all of these for the War.

Third, he takes time to explain the historiography of the studies of Edward's political campaigns and goes on to refute the findings of other authors that Edward sought to avoid battle at all costs. I won't swear that he has proven his case as this is not the medieval period I am most familiar with - however he has provided a great deal of evidence in support of his view.

Fourth, he also goes into great detail regarding logistics. He discusses the difficulties Edward had in raising money for the early stages of these wars, the role that finding food and water, and foraging for these while on campaign, played in the various campaigns, and how the vagaries of the ability to supply his force and, most of all to secure lines of retreat, played in how aggressively he tried to bring the French to battle.

My quibbles with this book are few and not of great relevance to its overall aim. First, several times Rogers offers that "The first duty of a good lord was to defend his vassals ..." p13. I am not altogether certain this is true. Quite often the first requirement of a good lord was, IMO, to retain an effective fighting force and the loyalties of his nobles. Now these two are related, but not necessarily the same. Second, I found less evidence for his repeated assertions that Edward III sought battle largely through his faith in "the judgement of God" whereby the victor on the field placed his faith that the army held in God's favor would win. I'm not saying this wasn't a primary focus of Edward - just that I found it less fully proven. Personally I feel that Edward's willingness to seek battle with a numerically superior French army was more due to his possession of a more experienced force, his possession of longbow archers for which France had no good answer and, most of all, his faith in his own ability as a commander.

Beyond this, the book is well-written, it is fairly fast-paced and provides a great deal of detailed information. It provides an excellent new look at the Wars of Edward III in particular, and of Medieval Military Warfare in general. ( )
1 stem cemanuel | Oct 21, 2008 |
An excellent book on the Hundred Years War. Rogers' attempts to overturn the perception that the slash and burn activities of Edward III were simply acts of brutality. Rather they were part of a calculating strategy intended to deprive his French adversaries of support, and force them to fight, preferably on a battlefield of Edward's choosing.

A great read, copious notes worth looking at. ( )
  ksmyth | Aug 22, 2006 |
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Contemporaries considered Edward III of England "the wisest and shrewdest warrior in the world", but he has not fared so well in the estimation of modern historians, many of whom have argued that he was a fine tactician but a poor strategist. This is despite the fact that by 1360 the English had become the foremost martial nation of Europe; that famous victories had been won at Dupplin Moor, Halidon Hill, Crécy, and Poitiers; and David II of Scotland and Jean II of France were Edward's prisoners, and the French, with the Treaty of Brétigny, had agreed to surrender a third of their kingdom to his sovereign rule in exchange for peace. In War Cruel and Sharp, Professor Rogers offers a powerfully argued and thoroughly researched reassessment of the military and political strategies which Edward III and the Black Prince employed to achieve this astounding result. Using a narrative framework, he makes the case that the Plantagenets' ultimate success came from adapting the strategy which Robert Bruce had used to force the 'Shameful Peace' on England in 1328. Unlike previous historians, he argues that the quest for decisive battle underlay Edward's strategy in every campaign he undertook, though the English also utilized sieges and ferocious devastation of the countryside to advance their war efforts. CLIFFORD J. ROGERS is Professor of History, United States Military Academy, West Point.

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