Book Review: The Battle of Agincourt edited by Anne Curry & Malcolm Mercer

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]

October, 2015 was the 650th anniversary of the French defeat at Agincourt during the Hundred Year’s War. The Battle of Agincourt is a new volume released by the Royal Armories in commemoration of the battle featuring all new scholarship and the latest research on the battle and the campaign of which it was a part.

First as always, some details about the book itself. This is a coffee table sized book with 273 pages of text separated into 3 parts consisting of 19 individually authored chapters. It has 19 pages of notes, a bibliography, list of figures and objects, as well as an index. The three topical parts of the book are the road to war, the battle, and aftermath and legacy. Each chapter is essentially an individual academic article that presents the state of knowledge and current research about the subject of the chapter. It is similar to books with conference proceedings in that respect. The difference here is that unlike most compendiums of conference proceedings this book is very well written and the individual articles are very readable and not dry at all. The editors of this volume did an excellent job.

The chapters are essentially each standalone articles but together the sums of the articles in the book really are greater than the parts. Each article is a detailed look at the state of knowledge about the aspect of the battle under discussion. The level of detail within the articles is at times amazing and I was astounded by how much knowledge of the battle had advanced since the last I examined it closely while completing my undergrad degree.

The s3econd part of the book is about the battle itself and the chapters range from a narrative account of the battle to the results of recent archaeology at the battle site. I found the section on the battle itself to be the most interesting especially Matthew Bennett’s narrative description of the battle and Robert Woosnam-Savage’s chapter on the weaponry used at the battle.

All in all this is an excellent book that commemorates the 650th anniversary of a battle that has been celebrated and remembered for centuries. The quality of the scholarship within and the excellent job of the editors has made this book both extremely informative and eminently readable. If you want to know more about this pivotal battle then this book is an excellent place to start. An outstanding work.