- Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War
Of the 256 entries in this encyclopedia, 104 are biographical, 30 cover individual battles, and 21 deal with particular peace treaties, truces, or peace conferences. Only 13 treat sieges or captures of fortified places; for example, there is an entry for Harfleur (1415), but not for Rennes (1356–57), St.-Sauveur-le-Vicomte (1375), Caen (1346, 1417), Harfleur (1440, 1450), or Calais (1436). Other entries cover a diverse range of topics, both expected (artillery, siege warfare, archers, chevauchée) and unexpected (Dordrecht bonds, Shakespeare). Aside from the disproportionate attention given to battles over sieges, the entry list is well conceived. There are also a few general maps; some genealogies; chronological lists of battles, sieges, campaigns, rulers, and popes, constables and marshals, and holders of select noble titles; and a handy 22-page overall chronology. Another appendix contains entries that briefly discuss some of the main sources for the war, principally chronicles and chroniclers. These entries are a useful addition, though they would have been more helpful to the target audience if they consistently indicated whether the works are available in English translation (as, for example, Monstrelet's and Waurin's chronicles and the Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris all are) and cited the most recent editions. The bibliography is reasonably extensive and fairly up-to-date, though given its topical organization it is hard to understand why the rather few scholarly articles included were separated into their own section rather than placed under the subject headings. The few pictures scattered throughout the book seem to have been chosen more to decorate than to illustrate and inform.
The entries (which are unusually uniform in length, averaging around 750 words) were all written by Wagner. The are easy to read, concise, informative, and generally factually accurate. Each entry is followed by suggestions for further reading.
The preface of the book makes clear that its focus is more on presenting the facts than on highlighting the results of recent research work. The [End Page 913] book is intended to be a convenient reference source for basic information, and it meets that goal well. I will keep my copy handy near my desk.
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