Joan of Arc: A History

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HarperCollins, May 19, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages

From the author of the acclaimed She-Wolves, the complex, surprising, and engaging story of one of the most remarkable women of the medieval world—as never told before.

Helen Castor tells afresh the gripping story of the peasant girl from Domremy who hears voices from God, leads the French army to victory, is burned at the stake for heresy, and eventually becomes a saint. But unlike the traditional narrative, a story already shaped by the knowledge of what Joan would become and told in hindsight, Castor’s Joan of Arc: A History takes us back to fifteenth century France and tells the story forwards. Instead of an icon, she gives us a living, breathing woman confronting the challenges of faith and doubt, a roaring girl who, in fighting the English, was also taking sides in a bloody civil war. We meet this extraordinary girl amid the tumultuous events of her extraordinary world where no one—not Joan herself, nor the people around her—princes, bishops, soldiers, or peasants—knew what would happen next.

Adding complexity, depth, and fresh insight into Joan’s life, and placing her actions in the context of the larger political and religious conflicts of fifteenth century France, Joan of Arc: A History is history at its finest and a surprising new portrait of this remarkable woman.

Joan of Arc: A History features an 8-page color insert.


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Joan of Arc: A History

User Review  - Book Verdict

The title of this work explains what we need to know. This is not a biography, nor a religious parable or a folktale recast. Castor (She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth) has ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lisapeet - LibraryThing

This is exactly what the title advertises, much more a history than a biography. Castor does such a great job of grounding the Joan of Arc story in the politics and dynamics of the time, it really ... Read full review


Joan of Arc
This war accursed of
Like another Messiah
Desolate and divided
The Maid
Like an angel from
A heart greater than any mans
A simple maid
Fear of the fire
Those who called themselves Frenchmen
She was all innocence
Saint Joan
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About the Author

7A creature in the form of a woman

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About the author (2015)

Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England and a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her first book, Blood and Roses, was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and won the English Association’s Beatrice White Prize. Her second book, She-Wolves, was selected as one of the books of the year by The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, Financial Times, and BBC History Magazine. She lives in London.

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