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A controversial biography reassessing of the life and career of one of England's best known heroic kings. The wild and headstrong prince of Shakespeare's Henry IV, blossoms in Henry V, into a veritable hero-king: an epic embodiment of military valour, concerned for the welfare of his subjects and, above all, an archetypal man of action. Such a portrayal reflected not only Shakespeare's Tudor sources but contemporary estimates of King Henry V. To his earliest biographer, a royal chaplain and well-informed insider, he was a model Christian prince, clearly carrying out God's wishes both at home and abroad; the chronicler Thomas Walsingham, writing in 1422, judged him a pious, prudent and warlike ruler; and, to the humanist Tito Livio in 1437, he was an energetic, just and shrewd military commander who, at Agincourt, fought 'like an unvanquished lion'. Modern historians have perpetuated the flattery of chroniclers but should they? Was the real Henry V a national hero, a jingoistic bigot, or neither?

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780752430461
ISBN-10: 0752430467
Format: Hardback
(250mm x 160mm x 10mm)
Pages: 255
Imprint: The History Press Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Apr-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » There are few greater heroes in English history than the battle-winning Henry V. The man of action and determination who, colossus-like, strode across northern France and crushed noble France on the field of Agincourt. Many biographers have tended to follow this rather simplistic, two-dimensional line. But, as Keith Dockray reveals in this fascinating book, the real Henry V was a far more complex character. In Dockray's new biography the Shakespearian hero steps aside to reveal a fuller-picture of a prince who was loved and feared in equal measure. A pious and prudent monarch, an able administrator and a ruler of 'high understanding' he, in his short life and shorter reign, won Europe-wide admiration. For all that, however, his legacy to England was a mixed blessing, plunging England into more war with France and, ultimately, civil war at home. (Kirkus UK)

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