1) The Hundred Years War, Volume 1:

1) The Hundred Years War, Volume 1: Trial by Battle – Jonathan Sumption
University of Pennsylvania Press | 1999 | EPUB

A succession of catastrophes in the middle years of the fourteenth century brought France to the brink of destruction. The bankruptcy of the French state and a bitter civil war within the royal family were followed by the defeat and capture of the King of France by the Black Prince at Poitiers. A peasant revolt and a violent revolution in Paris completed the tragedy. In a humiliating treaty of partition France ceded more than a third of its territory to Edward III of England. Not for sixty years would the English again come so close to total victory. France’s great cities, provincial towns and rural communities resisted where its leaders failed. They withstood the sustained savagery of the soldiers and the free companies of brigands to undo most of Edward III’s work in the following generation. England’s triumphs proved to be brittle and short-lived.

2) The Hundred Years War, Volume 2: Trial by Fire – Jonathan Sumption
University of Pennsylvania Press | 2001 | EPUB

A succession of catastrophes in the middle years of the fourteenth century brought France to the brink of destruction. The bankruptcy of the French state and a bitter civil war within the royal family were followed by the defeat and capture of the King of France by the Black Prince at Poitiers. A peasant revolt and a violent revolution in Paris completed the tragedy. In a humiliating treaty of partition France ceded more than a third of its territory to Edward III of England. Not for sixty years would the English again come so close to total victory.

Yet the theme of the volume is not destruction, but survival. France’s great cities, provincial towns and rural communities resisted where its leaders failed. They withstood the sustained savagery of the soldiers and the free companies of brigands to undo most of Edward III’s work in the following generation. England’s triumphs proved to be brittle and short-lived.

Based on a wide range of contemporary sources, both printed and unprinted, The Hundred Years War, Volume 2: Trial by Fire is the absorbing continuation of Jonathan Sumption’s monumental history of the Hundred Years War.

3) The Hundred Years War, Volume 3: Divided Houses – Jonathan Sumption
University of Pennsylvania Press | 2011 | EPUB

The Hundred Years War was a vicious, costly, and, most dramatically, drawn out struggle that laid the framework for the national identities of both England and France into the modern era. The first twenty years of the war were positive for the English, by any account. They already held the South of France, through Eleanor of Aquitaine’s dowry, and were allied with the Flemish in the north. After the brilliant naval battle of Sluys, the English had control of both the English Channel and the North Sea. The battles of Crécy and Poitiers gave the English a powerful toehold on the continent; they even captured the French king, Philip, occasioning a peace treaty in 1360.

This long-awaited third volume of Jonathan Sumption’s monumental history of the war narrates the period from 1369 to 1393, a span marked by the slow decline of English fortunes and the subsequent rise of the French. The English were condemned to see the conquests of the previous thirty years overrun by the armies of the king of France in less than ten. Edward III was succeeded by a vulnerable child, destined to grow into a neurotic and unstable adult presiding over a divided nation. England’s citizenry was being asked to pay for a long and expensive war, soldiers were becoming disenchanted, and the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 evidenced the social unrest in the land. However, France too paid a heavy price for her success. Beneath the surface splendor the French government sat poised at the edge of bankruptcy and the population subsisted in fear and insecurity. The inexperience of Charles VI and his gradual relapse into insanity divided the French political world, as the king’s relatives competed for the plunder of the state, sowing the seeds of disintegration and civil war in the following century.

Marshaling a wide range of contemporary sources, both printed and manuscript, French and English, Sumption recounts the events of this critical period of the Hundred Years War in unprecedented detail.

4) The Hundred Years War, Volume 4: Cursed Kings – Jonathan Sumption
University of Pennsylvania Press | 2017 | EPUB

Jonathan Sumption’s Cursed Kings is the eagerly anticipated fourth volume in what Allan Massie has called “one of the great historical works of our time.”

Cursed Kings tells the story of the destruction of France by the madness of its king and the greed and violence of his family. In the early fifteenth century France, Europe’s strongest and most populous state, suffered a complete internal collapse. As the warring parties within fought for the spoils of the kingdom under the vacant gaze of the mad King Charles VI, the country was left at the mercy of one of the most remarkable rulers of the European Middle Ages: Henry V of England, who had destroyed the French army on the field of Agincourt in October 1415 and left most of France’s leadership dead.

Sumption recounts in extraordinary detail the relentless campaign of conquest that brought Henry to the streets and palaces of Paris within just a few years. He died at the age of thirty-six in a French royal castle in 1422, just two months before he would have become king of France.

Six centuries later, these extraordinary events are overlaid by the resounding words of Shakespeare and the potent national myths of England and France. In Cursed Kings, Jonathan Sumption strips away the layers to rediscover the personalities and events that lie beneath.