AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY OF BRITAIN THE HUNDRED YEARS WAR, Pen & Sword Books Ltd, Timothy Venning
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The so-called 'Hundred Years War' is one of the stock clichés of almost a century of fraught Anglo-French relations. In the popular memory, there is a long tradition of mutual antagonism between the nations on either side of the Channel. In this tabloid-fuelled myth, it seems appropriate that the two kingdoms fought one another for over a century. However, this itself is a myth, as there were long periods of truce throughout.
Continuing his exploration of the alternative paths that British history might so easily have taken, Timothy Venning turns his attention to the Hundred Years War between England and France. Among the many scenarios discussed are: what would have happened if the Black Prince had not died prematurely and left the 10-year-old Richard to inherit the crown? What if Henry V had recovered from the dysentery that killed him at 35? What if Joan of Arc had not emerged to galvanize French resistance at Orleans? Could the English have won in the long term or, conversely, have been decisively defeated sooner?
While necessarily speculative, all of the intriguing scenarios discussed are done so within the framework of a deep understanding of the major driving forces that shaped British history. As well as helping the reader to understand why things panned out as they did, this thought-provoking volume also explores what might have been - in a fascinating period that still arouses strong passions on both sides of the Channel.
Dr Timothy Venning is a freelance researcher and author whose previous works include If Rome Hadn't Fallen and An Alternative History of Britain: The Anglo Saxon Age. His fascination with the 'what ifs' of history was first kindled as a child at primary school. He currently lives in Lymington, Hampshire.
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