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1415: Henry V's Year of Glory

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  198 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Henry V is regarded as the great English hero. Lionised in his own day for his victory at Agincourt, his piety and his rigorous application of justice, he was elevated by Shakespeare into a champion of English nationalism for all future generations. But what was he really like? Does he deserve to be thought of as 'the greatest man who ever ruled England?'

In Ian Mortimer's
Paperback, 640 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Vintage (first published 2009)
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Elia Princess of Starfall

No I am not sorry for using Tom Hiddleston.

Henry V, King of England, was a legend in his own lifetime. One of England's great warrior kings, a brilliant and shrewd military leader who won victory at Agincourt in 1415, reclaimed huge swathes of former Plantagenet land in France, had himself declared Heir to French throne and almost succeeded in being crowned King of France. He was the monarch whom many held to be the greatest King of England to have ever lived.

But was he really?

Does the man wh
Feb 03, 2013 happy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-english
This is an interesting take on Henry V. Dr. Mortimer‘s Henry is definitely not Shakespeare’s. The Henry that Dr. Mortimer presents in an extremely pious, religious person, a son who did not get along with his father, a king who does not sit easy on his throne and is merciless in his dealing with those who threaten his crown or go against his wishes. He is very determined to prove that he really is God’s anointed King of England by emulating his Great Grandfather, Edward III, in pressing his clai ...more
Jun 18, 2016 HBalikov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect. "

Once more into the breach I go with tickets to see a new production of Shakespeare's Henry V. But before that event, I have sta
When I studied history at university many, many moons ago, history and narrative were two completely separate entities. In fact history and narrative were not allowed in the same room together, not even a little bit of small talk. Us faux academics used to scorn those who pushed the dignified objective history with the exaggerated and flowery narrative, how very dare they. Pop history, we called it.

Since then I have toned down the snob a little, and come to see that yes history does have a natur
Michael Jecks
Feb 15, 2012 Michael Jecks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ian Mortimer is a one-off. His books of history read like thrillers, and it's impossible to put them down once you've started reading. This is just fabulous - highly recommended!
Athena Ninlil
This books focuses solely on the year 1415 and gives extensive background on the events that led to the battle of Agincourt. 600 years after the battle, he continues to be revered and hailed as one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived, but behind the legend is a darker person that Mortimer exposes in this book. I would have given it four stars where it not because of the great details and everything that I learned about this book. It is a day by day account that illustrates not just the even ...more
The author of this book, Ian Mortimer, is a once-in-a-generation historian. His approach to history is to see it almost as current events, rather than through the lens of later interpretation. The people he writes about are struggling with their problems in the same way that we, in our present, are struggling with ours; but they're set firmly in the context and attitudes of their own times.

This book is a new departure in historical scholarship - a day-by-day account of the events of that year. P
Mar 23, 2014 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this an interesting read for all sorts of reasons, some of which are irrelevant to the prospective reader. What it is, is a day by day account of the year 1415, detailing what Henry V and the other major players were doing. This is a most unusual approach, and it throws up all sorts of interesting details and snippets which would be excluded from a conventional account. It also gives a flavour of what a king's life was like, and what work landed on his desk each day - albeit this was not ...more
Aug 29, 2011 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book for dipping into every now and again. I can't read it for long periods as it is actually an almost day by day recounting of what happened in the year 1415, surrounding Henry V. It's very interesting and is written well but it's not a novel and therefore I've got it in the car for reading when I'm waiting to pick my daughter up etc.
J. David  Knecht
Jun 11, 2015 J. David Knecht rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Loved the Journal format of taking a year in the life of Henry day by day descriptions. It paints a very different picture of Henry V from what I have previously read. Like the two previous books I have read from Mortimer, he meticulously recounts primary sources, you may disagree with his conclusions but you must admit he does good work to come to them.

He places Henry in the wider European context by describing in detail the nobility vying for power in France that helps lead the way for Henry'
Jun 03, 2014 Angela rated it liked it
A solid retelling of a pivotal year in British history, and the most famous year of King Henry V’s rein. Unfortunately, the biography gets mired in its own format, a day-by-day retelling of the year 1415. The problem with a journalistic format is that an enormous amount of time is devoted to simply recounting payments granted or received. At certain places, this goes on long enough for the reader for forget that they are reading a biography and not an accounting ledger. And, after the climactic ...more
Liz Polding
Feb 27, 2016 Liz Polding rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this a great deal. The level of detail is excellent, facilitated mainly by the structure, which literally goes through the entire year one day at a time. Some days are rather dull and administrative, others obviously much more exciting! Overall, this provides a very full picture of someone who is rather a pious fanatic and rather a tightwad with it. Money spent on military matters was fine, repaying debts, not so much. Nor was he above randomly taxing anyone and everyone to fund his mi ...more
Pete daPixie
Oct 10, 2011 Pete daPixie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another gem from Ian Mortimer. Anyone who holds an interest in medieval historical non-fiction writing cannot find better reading material than this superb quartet, namely; 'The Greatest Traitor:The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer', 'The Perfect King:The Life of Edward III', 'The Fears of Henry IV:The Life of England's Self Made King' and finally this publication of 2009 '1415:Henry V's Year of Glory'.
I just cannot think of another modern historian covering any period of English history that has writ
Emmanuel Gustin
Sep 15, 2012 Emmanuel Gustin rated it it was amazing
Ian Mortimer's day-by-day account of the year 1415 covers Henry V's preparations for the invasion of France, the siege of Harfleur and the battle of Agincourt, and their aftermath. The original narrative structure provides a lot of context to the kings actions and helps us to understand the impact of the event of the battle. Mortimer's writing is high quality as always.

I am slightly less convinced by the historian's final judgment of Henry V. Mortimer eloquently analyzes and defends his right as
Philip Challinor
Mar 03, 2011 Philip Challinor rated it really liked it
A fair rival to Winston Churchill for the title of Most Overrated Briton in History, Henry V is portrayed via a day-by-day account of the pivotal year from Christmas 1414 to Christmas 1415, climaxing on 25 October with a riveting account of Agincourt. Drawing heavily on the king's household accounts, Mortimer follows the money to reveal Henry's plans and priorities, showing among other things that the king's war against France was more a matter of personal pride and domestic prestige than milita ...more
Mar 17, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book from Ian Mortimer - this time instead of the usual biography/battle rundown, the author has done a timeline of the year 1415, on a day by day basis. This way we can gain different insights into what was happening in that year. 1415 wasn't just about Henry V and the Battle of Agincourt - it was a time when we had 3 Popes on the go at once and there was a big council at the City of Constance to try and resolve this issue and unify the Church. This was around the time that we ...more
Mar 23, 2011 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shakespeare has a lot to answer for when it comes to the perception of certain English kings. Shakespeare wrote Richard III as a villain and a villain is how people remember him. He wrote Henry V as the perfect warrior king and again, that's how we remember him. The fact that neither king bore any real relation to Shakespeare's potrayals are almost irrelevant.

Mortimer sets out to portray the real Henry in this book, and by a large he succeeds admirably. He takes a rather unusual form (for histor
Jan 02, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journal-style, day-by-day account of the year 1415, as focussed on the doings of English King Henry V Lancaster.

Lots of detail here on the minutiae of Medieval government, with many many references to grants, appeals, finances, meetings, councils, treasons, negotiations and logistics. Oh, and the siege of Harfleur and the Battle of Agincourt.

Mortimer claims that writing a history in this style uncovers ways of seeing events in different lights to the normal narrative based on event or theme.
Sep 20, 2012 Unwordy rated it really liked it
Ian Mortimer's idea to take a single year of a king's reign and to go through it day-by-day, presenting all the things he did that can be gleaned from documents extant, and also setting the said king's activities in the broader context of important religious and temporal developments taking place in Europe at the same time, is absolutely brilliant and makes for a fascinating read.

However, am quite a bit amused by what appears to be the author's personal grudge against Henry V. Don't be a hater,
Abby Fermont
Mar 26, 2014 Abby Fermont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this new way of reading history; the day by day account of a year. After watching a performance of Henry V I wanted to find out more about Agincourt and about Henry himself and chose this book almost at random. I'm glad I did though.
Jan 31, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book, it was so fascinating to look just at one year in so much detail. I can't recommend this highly enough.
Aug 25, 2015 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew nothing about this period of history and now feel immersed in it. Excellently explained and very interesting!!! Very much recommended!!!!
Sarah Woodburn
Sep 07, 2015 Sarah Woodburn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Made Henry V come to life- it should be very useful for my Medieval History dissertation
Mar 23, 2015 Sandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great research, but tough for me to get through. Don't much like the detailed daily approach. I respect Mr. Mortimer and have enjoyed other of his works, but this one was a bit dry. Very detailed about what is left of historical record about the workings of the court, but not much about Henry the man. Not at all what I expected.
Feb 23, 2014 Deborah marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Just began to read
Dougie Morgan
Feb 09, 2012 Dougie Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be an enourmous help in my investigation of Henry V's role in the Battle of Agincourt. Mortimer simply stuffs the book with fascinating facts, whilst still finding space to make acute observations on the living conditions of the English Army.
The book can seem a little long-winded at times, but overall it gives an absolutely fascinating insight into the 1415 campaign as a whole, as well as giving one a pretty good idea of what life was like in the 15th century.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2014 Mimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this book as much as I liked the one about Henry the IV. I thought the diary style writing, the day by day actions and doings of a medieval king would be interesting, and it is. It wasn't long before the minutiae got old, and all I wanted was to skip ahead to the battle of Agincourt.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I like Ian Mortimer. I wish it weren't so boring but Henry V was a decidedly boring character.
Daniel Kukwa
Jul 15, 2012 Daniel Kukwa rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Once again, this is a book that presents fantastic scholarship, but is extremely inconsistent as an enjoyable read. As a glimpse into a single defining year for Henry V and what made him Shakespeare's say nothing of his place amongst the pantheon of British kings &'s magnificent. But it can occasionally drag the reader into too much minute detail...and swings from compelling to dull.
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AKA James Forrester.

Dr Ian Mortimer was born in Petts Wood (Kent) in 1967. He won a scholarship to Eastbourne College (Sussex) and later read for degrees in history and archive studies at the universities of Exeter and London (UCL). From 1991 to 2003 he worked for a succession of archive and historical research organisations, including Devon Record Office, the Royal Commission on Historical Manusc
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“He was keen to use English as well as French in daily conversation, writing letters in English and commissioning translations of French and Latin books.” 0 likes
“Pope John’s advisers were worried about the freedom to speak and to come and go to and from the council.” 0 likes
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