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1415: Henry V's Year Of Glory

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  50 reviews
The battle of Agincourt was a slaughter ground designed not to advance England's interests directly but to demonstrate God's approval of Henry's royal authority on both sides of the Channel. 1415 was a year of religious persecution, personal suffering and one horrendous battle. This book presents the story of that year.
Hardcover, 640 pages
Published September 24th 2009 by Bodley Head
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Jan 11, 2016 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
Elia Princess of Starfall
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of english medieval history
Recommended to Elia Princess of Starfall by: Chapters

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
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
In 1415: Henry V’s Year of Glory, historian Ian Mortimer aims to dismantle the view of Henry V as a “Great Man of History” and experiment in the historical form. This is not a simple biography of Henry V or reference book about the Battle of Agincourt, but a day-by-day chronicle from Christmas in 1414 to Christmas in 1415, focusing on the Council of Constance overseen by the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, and Henry V’s preparations for a campaign in France and the campaign itself, cumulating in ...more
Michael Jecks
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Carolina Casas
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
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I have read several Ian Mortimer books in the past and have enjoyed his writing. This book was my least favorite. Not because he did not idolize Henry V, I am aware Henry had flaws. I agree that there was no reason to restart the 100 year war. Only led to many years of problems for both England and France.

My biggest problem with this book was the continual comparison and criticism of Henry based on modern moral values. Henry the V lived in the 15th century. He must be just by the values of ruler
Nov 15, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Christopher Riley
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A wonderful new way of describing history.

Using the ‘day by day’ calendar model, Mortimer tells a complete story of the most important year in Henry V’s life. Fantastically detailed to point where it can get a little dry but, a thoroughly enjoyable book.

I’m glad that this book doesn’t paint Henry as the near perfect ruler that some historians would have you believe, staying away from the Shakespearean image of the Lancastrian king and focusing purely on what happened not why Henry was so great
Jan 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I've been struggling with this book, so I'm giving it up. I'm not sure what the problem is - maybe that he's going day-by-day or maybe there's just too much focus on the church/heretics. I picked up this book to learn about Henry V, not the problem with the popes. Maybe it'll end up being relevant, but I don't really care to find out.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Ian Mortimer book, and I AM IN LOVE. Ian Mortimer tells Henry V’e story in such an amazing, interesting way. I do recommend this as a read.
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
Pete daPixie
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perhaps out of all of Ian Mortimer's works, his analysis of the crucial year of Henry V's reign is likely to be the most divisive among those who like his work. Partly, this might be because of his comparatively harsh criticism of Henry as an individual and as a character, but more likely because of his approach to the narrative, foregoing traditional biography for a more risky play-by-play account of the year and the preparations for Agincourt, as well as goings on in the French Court and the C ...more
Kylie Shannon
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because I have always been intrigued by Henry V and his infamous battle at Agincourt. This book was not what I expected but was still quite enjoyable. Mortimer goes day by day through Henry's life, showing each detail that led up to the famous battle and the aftermath thereof. This at times can seem a little tedious and sometimes heavy, but it shows overall just how much truth is behind the myth of Henry V being one of the best English kings. Mortimer does a great job at de ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are admittedly moments when you have to slog through lists, and the presentation of prices down to the shilling and pence seem needlessly precise, but...
Mortimer's choice to present an almost day-by-day history of Henry V's most famous year puts a whole new framework around the victories at Harfleur and Agincourt. Seeing the amount of planning and financing that were put in motion, and which still weren't enough to cover all the delays, was a lesson not so much learned as experienced as da
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I went about reading this without much prior knowledge of the Hundred Years War and the people associated with it. The flood of names and little events was definitely overwhelming so i probably not able to appreciate a book of this sort at my current level of knowledge. Might come back to it later when i'll be better educated.
Carl Phillips
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it
As detailed and interesting as Ian Mortimer always is, but the weakness of this book is the decision to, essentially, create a narrative led diary of the year 1415 and it simply does not work hugely well. Fascinating certainly, and an interesting reference document, but compared to Mortimer's triumphs of narrative history writing a bit disappointing.
D.j. Taylor
Lots of interesting information, but parsed amongst so much that also happens to be cool, but ENTIRELY irrelevant.

I recall that I'd be in the swing of things, the story flowing well, then HAAAAALT! Its time to talk about >x extraneous detail now< for nigh on forever.

Worth a read, but after Mortimer's other stuff.
C.K. Tomczyk
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was actually a rather tough read just due to the length and detail the author put in, but worth every page!
John Mace
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like War and Peace the epilogue was better than the book.
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very readable look at how closely the real Henry V resembles the legendary figure or Shakespearean character. I'll be reading more of Mortimer.

Before beginning my journey to read about the English (British) monarchy beginning with William the Conqueror, I don’t believe I had ever heard of Henry V, let alone that he was a legend in English history. After reading about him, more specifically his year of glory in 1415, I can’t say that I like him or even think that much of him. As the oldest son of Henry IV, he was born to succeed him but not necessarily keep the throne since so many thought that his father had usurped it from the “r
Emmanuel Gustin
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
Apr 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Philip Challinor
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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AKA James Forrester.

Dr Ian Mortimer is a historian and novelist, best known for his Time Traveller's Guides series. He has BA, MA, PhD and DLitt degrees from the University of Exeter and UCL. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was awarded the Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2004. Home for him and his family is the small

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