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Malcolm Vale: Agincourt, 19 May 2016

The Hundred Years War, Vol. IV: Cursed Kings 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 909 pp., £40, August 2015, 978 0 571 27454 3
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by Anne Curry.
Oxford, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 19 968101 3
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The Battle of Agincourt 
edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer.
Yale, 344 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 300 21430 7
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24 Hours at Agincourt: 25 October 1415 
by Michael Jones.
W.H. Allen, 352 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 7535 5545 3
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Agincourt: Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer 
by W.B. Bartlett.
Amberley, 447 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 1 4456 3949 9
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... in the Tower of London. The accompanying lavishly produced catalogue, edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer, contains 24 contributions from a distinguished cast of historians, including three from France. Rowena Archer, in a piece on war widows, notes the appalling casualty rate in some French noble families. The Craon family from Anjou, which had a ...

He Who Must Bear All

John Watts: Henry V at Home, 2 March 2017

Henry V: The Conscience of a King 
by Malcolm Vale.
Yale, 308 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 0 300 14873 2
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... escape for a king K.B. McFarlane called ‘the greatest man that ever ruled England’, but as Malcolm Vale points out in the preface to his new book, it may have been formative in other ways: for all his military success, Henry would fight only one more battle, and there was much more to this king than prowess in arms. The book, which ...

Like Oysters in Their Shells

Malcolm Gaskill: The Death Trade, 18 August 2022

All the Living and the Dead: A Personal Investigation into the Death Trade 
by Hayley Campbell.
Raven, 268 pp., £18.99, March, 978 1 5266 0139 1
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... Mao or one of the Kims, once the farewells are over it’s time for burial or cremation. At Arnos Vale cemetery in Bristol, Campbell meets gravediggers Mike and Bob, known locally as ‘Burke and Hare’. They use a mini-digger if there’s access; otherwise it’s most of a day toiling with spades. They share tricks of the trade: fine soil for scattering ...

Knowledge Infinite

D.J. Enright, 16 August 1990

The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... The essayists approach the subject from varying angles, and not all of them approach very close. Malcolm Baker writes on tomb sculpture, ‘the static intermediary between the earthly and the eternal’, where the stone figure of the Commendatore is undeniably a case in point. Peter Gay explores the opera’s ‘hidden agenda’, long ago exposed to the ...

Whig History

Sheldon Rothblatt, 21 January 1982

A Liberal Descent: Victorian Historians and the English Past 
by J.W. Burrow.
Cambridge, 308 pp., £19.50, October 1981, 0 521 24079 4
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... in any way apologetic) and has a personality at the centre. It has some of the qualities of George Malcolm Young’s Portrait of an Age: Victorian England – superb broken-field running and coiled argument humanised by a delight in words and conversation. It is – ironically, for Burrow is a Cantabridgian – more Young than Herbert Butterfield on the eve of ...

My God, the Suburbs!

Colm Tóibín: John Cheever, 5 November 2009

Cheever: A Life 
by Blake Bailey.
Picador, 770 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 330 43790 5
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... you unsure whether to laugh or cry: ‘She strikes a match and lights the six candles in this vale of tears.’ For Cheever, the house, the simple suburban house, was a sort of hell. Yet this was where he lived, and the idea of losing it, or being left alone in it, was a further depth of hell that he dreaded. In his journal for 1963 he brooded over ...

Courage, mon amie

Terry Castle: Disquiet on the Western Front, 4 April 2002

... toward billets, reserve trenches and other staging-areas behind the lines. ‘This in fact,’ Malcolm Brown writes in Tommy Goes to War, ‘was the classic progress “up the line”: train to the railhead, after which the Tommy had to fall back on the standard means of troop-transportation in the First World War – his own feet.’ All the famous ...

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