In the course of the Hundred Years War, Henry V was the English figure most responsible for the mutual antipathy that existed between France and England. His art of attacking an opponent by making total war on civilians, as well as soldiers, created tremendous distrust and enmity between the two countries, which survives even to this day. He was a man of many contradictions, a perverse mix of rigorous orthodoxy—exemplified by his fanatical and intolerant religion—and of neurotic insecurity, stemming in part from the dubious nature of his claim to the English throne.Henry V owed his popularity at home to victories against the French that gratified an emerging English nationalism. A tremendously ardent military strategist who experimented with ballistics and built the first English navy, at the time of his early death at the age of thirty-six he controlled one-third of modern-day France. Utilizing new discoveries from local French historical societies, Desmond Seward draws a portrait of Henry V that shows him as a brilliant military strategist, ambitious conqueror, and, at least briefly, triumphant warrior king.
Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at Cambridge. He is the author of many books, including The Hundred Years War; The Wars of the Roses; Eleanor of Aquitaine; Caravagio; and The Plantagenets. He lives in England.