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Reviews 169 develop a negative view of John? Like many other questions, this remains unanswered. Glenn Burgess Department of History University of Canterbury Nedlands, Robin, The Hundred Years War, London, Routledge, 1990; cloth; pp. xvi, 300; 2 genealogical tables, 1 plan, 8 maps, 24 plates; R. R. P. AUSS34.95 [distributed in Australia by the Law Book Company]. One has a certain sympathy for an author who attempts a popular history of the Hundred Years W a r and assumes that potential readers know nothing about either the political background to the war or the meanings of such essential terms as 'feudalism', 'fief, and 'homage'. Worse still, readers suspected of a fervent xenophobia when it comes to medieval battles, wild romanticism when it comes to chivalry, and an insatiable desire for gothic novelties in order to leaven the lump of all the political and dynastic dough. Teachers of history are often confronted with problems of this sort. Where can such an author begin? Nedlands chooses 1066. From there he can hardly avoid frequent digressions and false-starts. His book is peppered firstiy with reminders to himself to 'begin at the beginning' and not to 'run ahead of ourselves', and secondly with diversions: 'At this point it might be as well to ...'. Such rhetorical devices are perhaps acceptable in a book destined for the popular market. However, even in such a book, the abbreviated style of history-writing in which rulers are summarily categorized as 'fine', 'honest' (Louis IX), 'fearless of everything ... except horses' (Philip Augustus), 'unfortunate' (Edward II), and 'amiable' (Geoffrey of Anjou), and in which information is abbreviated so breathlessly as to render it a litde comical, is inexcusable. For example, 'One of the more notable facts about medieval kings was their extreme youth' (p. 21) and 'After Alexander III of Scodand had ridden his horse off a cliff in 1288 Scodand was without a monarch.' (p. 26). However much one may sympathise with the author's problems, it must be said that this book contains nothing for the scholar or serious student because the source material is woefully inadequate and out-of-date. And for the 'popular audience', although the book is immaculately presented and reasonably priced, readers wiU be repelled by the school text-book style of politico-miUtary history in which so much of this book is couched. Nicholas Wright Department of History University of Adelaide ...


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