The Black Prince

By Michael Jones,

Book cover of The Black Prince

Book description

As a child he was given his own suit of armor; at the age of sixteen, he helped defeat the French at Crécy. At Poitiers, in 1356, his victory over King John II of France forced the French into a humiliating surrender that marked the zenith of England’s dominance in…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Black Prince as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Each time I visit Canterbury Cathedral, I pay homage to my favorite knight, Edward of Woodstock, who epitomizes the fourteenth-century version of the knight nonpareil. Being an autodidact rather than a scholar, I am particularly grateful that Black Prince is both meticulously researched and easy to read. I particularly admire Prince Edward because of his courage on and off the battlefield, especially when enduring the mysterious illness that ultimately killed him. Edward the Black Prince embraced all the turns of fortune’s wheel with grace, courage, and dignity. Love this man and love this book!

I reviewed this book for The Spectator. The life of the Black Prince exemplifies that of a career soldier at the highest level of command, here someone who weaved a trail of destruction across France during the Hundred Years War through chevauchées and bloody battles and sieges. I was taken by Jones’s attempt to offer a more positive image of this ruthless warrior, not least to excuse him of his notorious massacre at Limoges. Having myself written at length about the Black Prince’s infamous actions, the book made me reconsider to some extent what happened in the city. Jones…

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