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Joan of Arc (Classic Biography)

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Joan of Arc was one of the greatest figures of the Middle Ages - a woman who has fascinated historians ever since. From her sudden arrival on the pages of history, in the spring of 1429, to her humiliating execution at the stake in Rouen in 1431, Joan of Arc achieved astonishing feats that changed the face of the Kingdom of France. The standard biographies of Joan do not Joan of Arc was one of the greatest figures of the Middle Ages - a woman who has fascinated historians ever since. From her sudden arrival on the pages of history, in the spring of 1429, to her humiliating execution at the stake in Rouen in 1431, Joan of Arc achieved astonishing feats that changed the face of the Kingdom of France. The standard biographies of Joan do not give her a human face: she is a witch, a whore, a saint or a warrior, bound up in myth and legend. Edward Lucie-Smith’s aim was 'to listen to all the witnesses - to Joan herself, to those who knew her, to the chroniclers who recorded her career, to those who preserved fragments of information about her in other documents, such as the royal accounts, and to try to construct from their testimonies a convincing portrait'. "I began with no theory, and I end with none," he writes. "But I think that, mirrored in these multiple fragments, one does at last find an extraordinary woman - living, suffering, developing. My Joan is perhaps less admirable than the Joan who is to be found in most of the modern literature. She is intensely arrogant, violent (but afraid of her own violence), and not always truthful. She is the prisoner of an obsession, or of a group of obsessions. At the same time, she has moments … of ordinary human fear, self-doubt and depression. We may pity, admire and even love her. At the same time, we may feel a, sneaking sympathy for those who grew to detest her.' Creating a portrait of Joan as a human being, Edward Lucie-Smith charts story of her brief life - the journey from rural Lorraine to the tensions of the Dauphin's court, the siege of Orleans, the coronation in Reims and finally Joan's trial and execution, providing a vivid, human biography of the Maid of Orleans. Edward Lucie-Smith is a writer, poet and art critic. He has published more than twenty books, but Joan of Arc represents a return to his first love, which is history. Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.


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Joan of Arc was one of the greatest figures of the Middle Ages - a woman who has fascinated historians ever since. From her sudden arrival on the pages of history, in the spring of 1429, to her humiliating execution at the stake in Rouen in 1431, Joan of Arc achieved astonishing feats that changed the face of the Kingdom of France. The standard biographies of Joan do not Joan of Arc was one of the greatest figures of the Middle Ages - a woman who has fascinated historians ever since. From her sudden arrival on the pages of history, in the spring of 1429, to her humiliating execution at the stake in Rouen in 1431, Joan of Arc achieved astonishing feats that changed the face of the Kingdom of France. The standard biographies of Joan do not give her a human face: she is a witch, a whore, a saint or a warrior, bound up in myth and legend. Edward Lucie-Smith’s aim was 'to listen to all the witnesses - to Joan herself, to those who knew her, to the chroniclers who recorded her career, to those who preserved fragments of information about her in other documents, such as the royal accounts, and to try to construct from their testimonies a convincing portrait'. "I began with no theory, and I end with none," he writes. "But I think that, mirrored in these multiple fragments, one does at last find an extraordinary woman - living, suffering, developing. My Joan is perhaps less admirable than the Joan who is to be found in most of the modern literature. She is intensely arrogant, violent (but afraid of her own violence), and not always truthful. She is the prisoner of an obsession, or of a group of obsessions. At the same time, she has moments … of ordinary human fear, self-doubt and depression. We may pity, admire and even love her. At the same time, we may feel a, sneaking sympathy for those who grew to detest her.' Creating a portrait of Joan as a human being, Edward Lucie-Smith charts story of her brief life - the journey from rural Lorraine to the tensions of the Dauphin's court, the siege of Orleans, the coronation in Reims and finally Joan's trial and execution, providing a vivid, human biography of the Maid of Orleans. Edward Lucie-Smith is a writer, poet and art critic. He has published more than twenty books, but Joan of Arc represents a return to his first love, which is history. Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.

30 review for Joan of Arc (Classic Biography)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Liu

    Classic biography of the epynonymous french peasant girl who heard a calling from God and become the model for every warrior girl up to modern day Zena.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    She died but her strategy and tactics lived on and by using these the French threw the English out of France for good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This biography of The Maid, is very different from Helen Castor's Joan of Arc, which provided a good overview of the era Joan lived in but was lacking on pure biographical information, we get that information here in Edward Lucie-Smith's detailed account. While other people and events are necessarily outlined, the focus stays very much on her throughout. The personality that comes off the pages is eminently teenageresque. She wholeheartedly believes in her visions, is fiercely loyal to France an This biography of The Maid, is very different from Helen Castor's Joan of Arc, which provided a good overview of the era Joan lived in but was lacking on pure biographical information, we get that information here in Edward Lucie-Smith's detailed account. While other people and events are necessarily outlined, the focus stays very much on her throughout. The personality that comes off the pages is eminently teenageresque. She wholeheartedly believes in her visions, is fiercely loyal to France and the king Charles VII and liable to snap at anyone who dares oppose God by denying her. One complaint some might have with the book is the Freudian psychology the author uses a handful of times but those observations take up about 3 pages of text and can be disregarded quite easily if the reader dislikes the whole psycho-sexual analysis. I found it a fascinating read and enjoyed it much more than Castor's work, but was also aided by Castor's work by not needing the background information that she provided... I guess that's my way of endorsing both. I'll definitely be reading more biographies of La pucelle, starting with Regine Pernoud's, which is supposed to be the best.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    I thought I knew the story of Joan of Arc, but I was surprised of the depth of character the author was able to portray. More than a teenage religious zealot, Joan was a young girl conflicted between the visions that drove her crusade against the existing powers and her own fears and self-doubt. This was a girl who grew up poor and uneducated in a harsh world. Driven by visions of the Virgin and saints, she set out to right the wrongs of a cruel social system. I was amazed at the violence she was I thought I knew the story of Joan of Arc, but I was surprised of the depth of character the author was able to portray. More than a teenage religious zealot, Joan was a young girl conflicted between the visions that drove her crusade against the existing powers and her own fears and self-doubt. This was a girl who grew up poor and uneducated in a harsh world. Driven by visions of the Virgin and saints, she set out to right the wrongs of a cruel social system. I was amazed at the violence she was capable of and appeared to relish. For a mere child to instill so much fear in both the King of France and the Church, the two most powerful entities of the time, was an incredible feat of willpower and charisma. Truly one of kind, Joan should be understood in all her facets, not just idealized as a martyr to her people.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thierry Sagnier

    Being French, Joan of Arc is more than simply a legend or a historical figure. She is the soul of the nation, and her importance in my native land can't be overstated. I started learning about her in elementary school, and it's only a half-century later that I decided I should get away from the myth and learn something of her reality. This book explodes the beliefs that this was a frail, almost anemic girl, somewhat a simpleton, whose beatification went without saying. Joan, it turns out, was qu Being French, Joan of Arc is more than simply a legend or a historical figure. She is the soul of the nation, and her importance in my native land can't be overstated. I started learning about her in elementary school, and it's only a half-century later that I decided I should get away from the myth and learn something of her reality. This book explodes the beliefs that this was a frail, almost anemic girl, somewhat a simpleton, whose beatification went without saying. Joan, it turns out, was quite the politician, arrogant, occasionally violent, and capable of outrageous mistruths. She remains an archetype of feminism. It was not wise to stand in her way. The book is worth reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    A simple and direct biography of Joan of Arc. A bit dated, but it gets the story across. The author is obviously a fan of the woman. Now, if only Sumption would hurry up with his work and get to this period... Rated PG for some battle violence and torture. 2.5/5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Martin

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily Williams

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Snyder

  11. 4 out of 5

    Desiree Korries

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elijah Christopher

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason Hotzel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ami

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robby

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Groenewold

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marisha

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roland Marlowrminspain

  26. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abumidian

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Rankin

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