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Crécy: Battle of Five Kings

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A remarkable new study on the Battle of Crécy, in which the outnumbered English under King Edward III won a decisive victory over the French and changed the course of the Hundred Years War. The Battle of Crécy in 1346 is one the most famous and widely studied military engagements in history. The repercussions of this battle - in which England's King Edward III decisively de A remarkable new study on the Battle of Crécy, in which the outnumbered English under King Edward III won a decisive victory over the French and changed the course of the Hundred Years War. The Battle of Crécy in 1346 is one the most famous and widely studied military engagements in history. The repercussions of this battle - in which England's King Edward III decisively defeated a far larger French army - were felt for hundreds of years, and the exploits of those fighting reached the status of legend. Yet groundbreaking research has shown that nearly everything that has been written about this dramatic event may be wrong. In this new study, Michael Livingston reveals how modern scholars have used archived manuscripts, satellite technologies and traditional fieldwork to help unlock what was arguably the battle's greatest secret: the location of the now quiet fields where so many thousands died. Crécy: Battle of Five Kings is a story of past and present. It is a new history of one of the most important battles of the Middle Ages: a compelling narrative account of the Battle of Crécy that still adheres to the highest scholarly standards in its detail. It is also an account that incorporates the most cutting-edge revelations and the personal story of how those discoveries were made.


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A remarkable new study on the Battle of Crécy, in which the outnumbered English under King Edward III won a decisive victory over the French and changed the course of the Hundred Years War. The Battle of Crécy in 1346 is one the most famous and widely studied military engagements in history. The repercussions of this battle - in which England's King Edward III decisively de A remarkable new study on the Battle of Crécy, in which the outnumbered English under King Edward III won a decisive victory over the French and changed the course of the Hundred Years War. The Battle of Crécy in 1346 is one the most famous and widely studied military engagements in history. The repercussions of this battle - in which England's King Edward III decisively defeated a far larger French army - were felt for hundreds of years, and the exploits of those fighting reached the status of legend. Yet groundbreaking research has shown that nearly everything that has been written about this dramatic event may be wrong. In this new study, Michael Livingston reveals how modern scholars have used archived manuscripts, satellite technologies and traditional fieldwork to help unlock what was arguably the battle's greatest secret: the location of the now quiet fields where so many thousands died. Crécy: Battle of Five Kings is a story of past and present. It is a new history of one of the most important battles of the Middle Ages: a compelling narrative account of the Battle of Crécy that still adheres to the highest scholarly standards in its detail. It is also an account that incorporates the most cutting-edge revelations and the personal story of how those discoveries were made.

30 review for Crécy: Battle of Five Kings

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian Willis

    A re-evaluation and study of the battle of Crecy, the 1346 battle in which Edward III vanquished superior numbers and the legendary Black Prince of Wales earned his spurs according to legend. The story for Livingston begins with 1066, the original cross Channel invasion. The victory of the Norman William the Conqueror sets the stage 300 years earlier, when "France" as we know it conquered the British Isles. Fast forward to the deposition of Edward II, father to the III, with the help of his wife' A re-evaluation and study of the battle of Crecy, the 1346 battle in which Edward III vanquished superior numbers and the legendary Black Prince of Wales earned his spurs according to legend. The story for Livingston begins with 1066, the original cross Channel invasion. The victory of the Norman William the Conqueror sets the stage 300 years earlier, when "France" as we know it conquered the British Isles. Fast forward to the deposition of Edward II, father to the III, with the help of his wife's French relatives. When William III comes of age, he asserts a claim to France and sets about getting it. Livingston looks into the necessary details: transportation. supplies, military technology, and strategy. The heart of the book are the details around the battle itself, and Livingston's big axe to grind is a massive claim: that the current assumed battle site is incorrect and that primary sources actually support an alternative site on the edges of the Crecy forest. I was convinced, but academia has a grip on the counter argument. Nonetheless, Livingston is also brave to counter our view of the Black Prince himself, through legend the brave victor of the battle. It turns out that the Prince himself nearly lost the battle and was briefly captured. Despite these contentions, this is a highly readable account of a major conflict that resulted in prolonging the Hundred Years' War and inflaming British and French tensions for centuries to come after laying mainly dormant for 300 years. I found the English strategy intriguing and the death of the King of Bohemia stirring. For medieval military enthusiasts and historians.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Ospery Publishing for a copy of this military history. During the first decade of the Hundred Years' War, on August 26, 1346 English and French led troops met in battle in Northern France. King Edward III was at the head of the English troops, which defeated roundly the forces of French with King Philip VI as their leader. The French lost a a significant amount of nobles, both to death and ransom, and many, many others whose names are not known nor remembe My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Ospery Publishing for a copy of this military history. During the first decade of the Hundred Years' War, on August 26, 1346 English and French led troops met in battle in Northern France. King Edward III was at the head of the English troops, which defeated roundly the forces of French with King Philip VI as their leader. The French lost a a significant amount of nobles, both to death and ransom, and many, many others whose names are not known nor remembered. This notable victory reverberated through European history effecting countries, trade and growth for years afterward. The Battle of Crécy as it came to be known has become one of the most studied and written about military engagements in history. And yet, according to Michael Livingston in his new book Crécy: Battle of Five Kings most of what might be written and stated as fact about the battle might be wrong. June 1346. An English army lands in the Cotentin Peninsula and with little resistance begins to sack and pillage its way through France, closing with Paris. The troops are a motley band, robbing anything they can, breaking surrender agreements, and shipping as much back to England as possible. What can't be toted, is burned. Heading North the British plan to meet with a Flemish force advancing also into France. When plans change due to it being war, the English forces through superior engineering rebuild bridges, cross fords and escape the French long enough to prepare defensive positions by near Crécy. The French, who outnumber the English invaders attack, and are slaughtered. These are known facts, but after this is gets a little difficult to be sure of anything. Using sources from ouside of what has been used before, poem, works translated from Italian, and good old walking the field, Professor Livingston has a few questions. Was the location of the battle as stated, really where it happened? How man men died that day? Many famous Kings were to fight, and in some case die. What were their true fates? Professor Livingston explains all of this walking the field, using satellite imagery. The writing is very good telling the story up to the battle, and filling out the story with new information and how it was acquired, with numerous source notes, and maps to back up his new information. Books like this make it easy to understand how fake news and misinformation, and simple mistakes can arise, and be considered fact. Truth is hard, sometimes a story or just nodding along to someone's extrapolations is easier then going, well that sounds dumb. A very interesting book, both on histroy and how history is sometimes decided, and the work it entails. Recommended for students of the era, people with interest in the Hundred Years' War, military history, and those that enjoy a very good nonfiction tale.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anne Morgan

    An interesting examination of the battle of Crecy and the events leading up to it- events meaning several hundred years of French-English political wrangling over territory leading up to the Hundred Years War and then covering the basics of the War up to Crecy. The author resists the urge to detail every aspect of the Hundred Years War before Crecy and sticks to what he believes is important to show the reader why Crecy happened and why it happened the way it happened. The political, economic, a An interesting examination of the battle of Crecy and the events leading up to it- events meaning several hundred years of French-English political wrangling over territory leading up to the Hundred Years War and then covering the basics of the War up to Crecy. The author resists the urge to detail every aspect of the Hundred Years War before Crecy and sticks to what he believes is important to show the reader why Crecy happened and why it happened the way it happened. The political, economic, and marital explanations building up to the Hundred Years War were impressively as well written and cohesive an explanation as I think anyone could expect considering how expansive a subject it really is. While I wasn't really up for all of the names of the terrain and why that should mean what the author was arguing it should mean I did find his argument for a new location of the actual Crecy battlefield more interesting than I expected to find it and I will be interested to read more in the future if there are any archaeological surveys done based on this theory. Overall an interesting new approach to some of the entrenched beliefs about a legendary battle and its heroes, well written and with excellent research to back up the arguments. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

  4. 5 out of 5

    J.A. Ironside

    RTC ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Palmer

    This book spends more time on what happened before the battle of Crecy and the sources used to document the book than on the battle. I understand it’s important for readers to understand the history and the context around the battle, but anyone reading this book is already familiar with the history of the Plantagenets, the 100 years war, and is more interested in what happened at Crecy than other battles in the campaign.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicolle Roxborough

    The Battle of Crechy in 1346 is one of the most famous of The Hundred Years War and has been written about time and time again. It created heroes and legends and has ingrained itself into the collective consciousness of the English as the epitome of David overcoming Goliath. Yet in this book, Michael Livingston questions all that we thought we knew of the battle and perhaps most importantly of all; how even the accepted location may be wrong. I knew very little on the subject of Crechy before rea The Battle of Crechy in 1346 is one of the most famous of The Hundred Years War and has been written about time and time again. It created heroes and legends and has ingrained itself into the collective consciousness of the English as the epitome of David overcoming Goliath. Yet in this book, Michael Livingston questions all that we thought we knew of the battle and perhaps most importantly of all; how even the accepted location may be wrong. I knew very little on the subject of Crechy before reading this book; at most I could name the opposing sides and roughly when it was. The reason I wanted to read it was because my other half studied History at Oxford and The Late Middle Ages was his specialist subject. When he inevitably started his next lecture (sorry - discussion) on the topic I thought it would be nice if I had some of my own knowledge so I wouldn’t glaze over (sorry - become lost). I always worry that historical non fiction can be a little dry, full of facts and figures with not much else. Thankfully this wasn’t the case here. Livingston has a way of writing which engages you and the beginning of the book was more like the opening to a novel. Wars and battles don’t exist in a vacuum and the author has made a concerted effort to describe the lead up to these events, going right back to 1066 and the Battle of Hastings. I’m grateful he did because this background information is vital to understanding how The Hundred Years War came into being. And I knew very little of it. Everything is laid out in such great detail that I was even able to follow Edward III’s army on a map, from where they landed in France, right through to where they ended up fighting. The research and knowledge that has gone into this book was truly remarkable but it never felt like I was drowning in facts or getting lost in the detail. The actual battle itself doesn’t cover as much of the book as I expected but that didn’t bother me at all and I really enjoyed the whole reading experience. Now when I’m asked who my favourite Mediaeval Knight was (and yes, I have genuinely been asked that question) I might just be able to answer it, or at least give him a name or two. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Tollemache

    For 100 Years War/Medieval history enthusiasts, Michael Livingston's "Crecy" is a fascinating read. After having walked the traditional siting of the Crecy battlefield near the Somme in France, Livingston realized that the topography of that site did not line up with multiple contemporary narratives of the battle or even plain common sense coupled with military logic. This sets up Livingston's case that the actual battle took place some kilometers away, across the river, at the edge of the Crec For 100 Years War/Medieval history enthusiasts, Michael Livingston's "Crecy" is a fascinating read. After having walked the traditional siting of the Crecy battlefield near the Somme in France, Livingston realized that the topography of that site did not line up with multiple contemporary narratives of the battle or even plain common sense coupled with military logic. This sets up Livingston's case that the actual battle took place some kilometers away, across the river, at the edge of the Crecy forest. "Crecy" makes the case that this spot is far more in line with how both Frnech and English narratives at the time describe the location of the pivotal battle. Livingston also provides maps made in the decades/century of the battle that have places names of indicative of the battle overlaying his proposed revisionist location. ML also notes that in decades of archaelogical/metal detector surveys of the traditional site not a single artifact tied to the battle has ever been found, which defies belief. ML also makes use of his extensive cataloging of primary documents to dispel many popular myths of the battle, particularly those surrounding the Prince of Wales, the Black Prince, who it itunrs out almost turned the stunning victory into a disasterous defeat by leading the vanguard of his father's (King Edward III) army in breaking formation and advancing to engage the enemy. Several accounts at the time suggest the Prince was even captured for a brief moment before the King's lords rescued him. Even the English accounts hint at this event while going overboard to laud the Black Prince. A very satisfying read

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris Miller

    The specialist or the general reader can read this book, which will challenge the thinking of both. I do seem to give out a lot of five-star ratings; however, I do try to "call 'em as I see 'em," and this book is one of the best. He gives an excellent, quick, meaningful review of England from the Conqueror to Edward III. He presents arguments for and against his position and then rallies the facts, details, and logic to support his position. It is a thought-provoking and enjoyable read. Well don The specialist or the general reader can read this book, which will challenge the thinking of both. I do seem to give out a lot of five-star ratings; however, I do try to "call 'em as I see 'em," and this book is one of the best. He gives an excellent, quick, meaningful review of England from the Conqueror to Edward III. He presents arguments for and against his position and then rallies the facts, details, and logic to support his position. It is a thought-provoking and enjoyable read. Well done.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ron Nurmi

    This is really two books in one covers the Battle of Crecy the other covers how a historian writes history. Michael Livingston explains how the traditional site of the battle is more than likely incorrect and he explains how he determined the correct site with the use of historical evidence. I enjoyed this book and now accept that the site I visited in July 1989 was not where the battle took place.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Fichter

    Only about the last third of the book is devoted to the actual battle of Crecy, so readers who want more focus on this specific battle should probably look for another title.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ernest Spoon

    Entertaining. Vivid. A new perspective. Excellent.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Max Frankwicz

    Splendid narrative about Crecy and how history is not a straight forward thing but changes with every discovery and theory.

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Shep

  14. 5 out of 5

    Will

  15. 4 out of 5

    Holly Dare

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marie Brain

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rickard Brivald

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eric Liknes

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alain Langlois

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Campbell

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Alexander

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Pendergast

  25. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  26. 4 out of 5

    John

  27. 4 out of 5

    George Peppard

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dan Stinton

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Peacock

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

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