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Joan of Arc: In Her Own Words

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The only available source for the exact words of Joan of Arc, compiled from the transcript of her trials and rearranged as an autobiography by Willard Trask.
Paperback, 175 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by Turtle Point Press / Books & Co (first published 1996)
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  401 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Beautiful reconstruction (from her own words) of one of the most enigmatic figures in history.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
The dialogue throughout Joan of Arc’s trial is as compelling as any dialogue in any play I’ve ever read. This whole book was a great read. I’m mostly familiar with Joan of Arc as she’s been portrayed in movies. There were several big, cinematic-worthy scenes within this, “primary historical document”, which would have been incredible on screen, but I don’t recall ever seeing them in any Joan of Arc movies. Here are my 3 favorites:

1) She brought a dead baby back to life momentarily. According to
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone remotely interested in Joan of Arc.
If you're only going to read one book about Joan of Arc, make it this one.
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Joel Mitchell
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this short "autobiography" Willard Trask translated and arranged the recorded words of Joan of Arc in a way that allows her to tell her own story. Her words come mainly from records of her trial supplemented by eyewitness (earwitness?) accounts and correspondence (Trask does not make any great effort to cite his sources and admits to altering indirect discourse to first person speech in some instances). In the main text the quotes are presented without commentary other than a few words descri ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, history
Though it was, perhaps, an unlucky thing for Joan of Arc that she was on the witness stand in the first place, how lucky for us that her words there were recorded and then translated and placed in biographical order by Willard Trask. It is remarkable to read her words and see her faith in action. Not to mention how cool and collected she seems to be when standing before her accusers, answering their tedious questions. (They seemed particularly bothered by the fact that she refused to dress as a ...more
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is essentially just a collection of things Joan of Arc actually said according to witnesses, letters and the notes of her trial. In this case translated into English.

Her personality really shines through in every word--if anyone thinks someone like Katniss Everdeen is unrealistic, they obviously have never met Joan of Arc. Not only is she tough, single-minded and probably often somewhat difficult, she's clever and funny and terrified when she's got good reason to be. It's amazing liste
Aug 09, 2007 rated it liked it
This wasn't really what I expected, but it was worth reading if you're interested. Most of the passages were compiled from transcripts and documents such as surviving copies of letters written (dictated) by Jheanne, which tells her story literally "in her own words," but the passages are rather selective. I am still looking for a translation of the transcripts from her trial and other documents to avoid that problem, but I liked this book generally because it traces her journey and reconstructs ...more
Kirk Johnson
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This ingenious book is an autobiography of Joan of Arc, created by taking the text from her trial and reordering it into a first-person chronological story. The result is powerful - for some reason I would like to see it accompanied by Mary MacLane's I Await the Devil's Coming: each has a power to its writing that well matches the other.

As an afterword, the book contains an account of the earliest part of Joan's mission, an 1851 writing by historian Sir Edward S Creasy, which reads splendidly a
Aug 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I was very glad I read Mark Twain's Joan of Arc book before this one. This book is filled with quotes attributed to Joan, but there isn't much background. So I was glad I knew the story and circumstances behind this book.
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read on, and then I will answer you. I look to God, my creator, in all. I love him with all my heart.

Awe-inspiring, mysterious, and ultimately sobering. Joan of Arc, who has long been one of my heroines, was born over 600 years ago, but she lives on through her words and the indisputable facts of her courage, campaigns, and death. The bulk of this book is an anthology of quotes by Joan, both direct from her trial and letters and as quoted by others. The translator and compiler is Willard Trask,
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I wish I had read the afterword first; it provided a bit of framework for the historical "action" that Joan of Arc's words filled in for the bulk of the book. If you already know the basics of this heroine's life, this would be an excellent read right off the bat. If you are "new" to Joan's life (like I am), I would recommend brushing up on the background before reading this one.

However, her words are extremely interesting. Courageous, blunt, freethinking in ways that remind me in many ways of t
Feisty Harriet
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Without the English mistrial this book could not exist, the bulk of her words and statements were taken from her trial records, either being stated by her, or from the deposition of witnesses at her trial testifying to her character. This is a quick read, a few hours max, but it was so delightfully simple and clean. Joan was not an overly complicated person, she was devout and determined and patriotic. I'm not saying her character is one-sided, I'm saying that it is easy to grasp the fullness of ...more
Nicole Homan
Apr 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, spirituality
The book is written in the first person directly from Inquisition transcripts which creates a haunting relationship between the reader, Joan, and the Inquisitors.

Directed right to the heart, the story is sculpted by the author through the selection of letters and transcripts (not a complete translation of all letters). An amazing experience of fear, hope, faith, and love with the constant awareness and presence of the Inquisitors and the inevitable outcome.

I first read this book over ten years
Connie (Ava Catherine)
Joan of Arc, one of my favorite historical heroines, expresses herself in her own words in this book, which makes it very dear. Although a very young maid, she writes with a grace and wisdom beyond her years. This is a book to be read and re-read and treasured forever. Because the book is small, it fits perfectly in a pocket or a bag, and can be slipped out for moments of reading at quiet times during the day. I would not give up my copy for anything.
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My mother gave me this book when I was 13 on a lark and I've carried it with me ever since. There was something so provoking about the nature of conviction and doubt that was revealed by just reading the transcripts and testimonials of the English's trial against Joan and the French betrayal against the backdrop of Joan's own description of her relationship with her god and the angels she believed spoke to her.
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Unless you are a Joan of Arc freak, I'm not sure what you can take from this book that wouldn't be found and put in better context elsewhere. I mean, I LIKE Joan of Arc. Enough to get a huge tattoo of her on my arm, but I'm pretty surprised that this book has an an average of 4 stars. Luckily, I got it for a gift and it was a nice thought, so I am keeping it, otherwise...
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Having already read through the trial I really didn't count on learning anything from this book, but it was amazing the way Joan's character came out when the events were placed chronologically. I also liked the interspersion of Joan's letters when they helped the story along. An essay was added at the end that, for me, illuminated Joan's place in history.
Christy S
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Quite simply this is the story of Joan of Arc without the fluff and guesswork. All of the writing is taken from her trial documents and eyewitness reports, and the translation makes for surprisingly good reading. It’s a short read with a commentary afterwards. Her faith and her audacity surprise me every time I pick this book up.
May 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Okay. Let me start with this: I am not Christian, nor do I think Joan of Arc was speaking to God. BUT, she was strong and stubborn and did not give in to those who oppressed her. Her words are entrancing. And if you become a fan, or are a fan already, please watch the silent film La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, which was released in 1928. I watched it for a class, and it is incredible.
Ruby Noise
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An amazing piece of work.
The translation of transcripts from Joan's own words are powerful and encouraging to me as a mere mortal.
Her belief in what she was doing at the time and the voices she heard screams to me to find my own way and forge my own path.
What a wonderful soul.
Feb 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Joan of Arc
Shelves: non-fiction
this is a great little book that I picked up while on a camping trip. Only those interested Joan's story will find this book worth-while as it is her story from her own written words compiled by Willard Trask.
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grad-school
I loved this. It is a simple little book, but so poignant. You really get a sense of her purpose, and how strongly she felt about it. The last section of the book, covering the trial, is heartbreaking.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The book overall was very interesting and a very fast read. I enjoyed the format, and the fact that it was not a flat out biography of Joan's life. I believe that in order to really appreciate the book in its entirety the reader should have some knowledge of Joan of Arc before reading this.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was nice to read her own words however I read it as a companion to a historical biography which helped me understand what was going on around her at the time.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
It's Joan of her own words..what's not to like. Best line "Wretched boy! Why did you not tell me French blood was flowing? Where are those who would arm me? To horse! To horse!"
James M. Madsen, M.D.
This is an excellent little book that provides Joan of Arc's extant words in chronological order. It's a great supplement to Joan of Arc, by Pernoud and Clin.
Charisse Nichole
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it
If you know nothing of Joan of Arc (which I did not when I first started), then you will get nothing from this book. I went and read a short illustrated kids' biography book on her so that I knew more about her story and then went to read this and it made it SO much better! This book is literally JUST her words. It doesn't explain what she is doing or what has happened so you have to know her life pretty well before reading this to gain anything from it. So that was annoying but I suppose I shou ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting account

Since this is the first book I've read regarding Joan of Arc I was taken aback by what she said or was recorded to have said. I would have liked more stage setting. The more complete description at the end of the besiege of Orleans was interesting and satisfying.
Kelly Buchanan
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
An enlightening little volume that ends up reading a bit like a modernist play, as most context for Joan of Arc's remarks has been removed. We are left only with place names and dates. For those familiar with at least the basic timeline of her story, this translation feels immediate and personal. I, for one, did leave this with even more respect for a singular woman of passionate commitment.
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