Henry V, Marcus Cowper

Henry V, Marcus Cowper

Command 8

This entry in Osprey's Command series looks at Henry V, perhaps the most famous of England's medieval monarchs, and the victor of one of the most famous battles in English history, at Agincourt (at least partly thanks to Shakespeare).

The nature of our sources makes it difficult to analyse Henry's tactics, with different chronicles and accounts either ignoring them completely or disagreeing quite widely (the distribution the archers at Agincourt being the subject of some uncertainty, as Cowper makes clear). Even his overall plans of campaign are often unknown, and often all we can is judge Henry and his intentions on the results of his actions.

This is a medium length Osprey at 64 pages, but feels well packed, getting across a lot of information in the space. Just over half of the space is devoted to Henry's campaigns in France, from the siege of Harfleur to his death after the siege of Meaux.

There are useful sections on Henry's main opponents, looking at Glendower, the English rebels and the senior French commanders; on the main sources for his life, starting with the Gesta Henrici Quiniti, a account written within the Royal court and completed in 1416 or 1417.

The text is supported by some clear maps showing English-occupied France and the routes taken by Henry on his various campaigns. As always with Osprey the book is lavishly illustrated, in this case most with pictures of buildings that Henry will have visited or seen during his campaign, as well as some contemporary paintings and manuscript illustrations. 

The Early Years
The Military Life
The hour of destiny
Opposing commanders
When war is done
Inside the mind
A life in words
Further Reading

Author: Marcus Cowper
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 64
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2010

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