EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES AND AQUITAINE: A Biography of the Black Prince by Richard Barber

EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES AND AQUITAINE: A Biography of the Black Prince

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

There are very few reliable personal anecdotes about him; there are very few recorded actions which mark him off as a distinctive character."" Precisely. And in isolating the Black Prince's complete orthodoxy of behavior as the reason for his popularity, and in relegating the romantic myth nourished by Froissart to an epilogue, Barber has almost done himself out of a book. Excellently researched but too drily written, this account boils down--as the life it chronicles did--to a succession of tournaments and military campaigns (CrÉcy, Poitiers, Limoges, NajÉra), retold stolidly and only rarely brightened by the excitement of near-bankruptcy--Edward had the family taste for deficit spending. Barber delves dutifully into every strategical move and motive--one reason the English regularly trounced the French apparently was their well-knit, homogeneous officer corps versus the French polyglot every-knight-for-himself array--but he cannot bring color to this narrative of a too typical knight. Like his father Edward III, Edward was obsessed with gloire but stolid, and, as he did not live to be king, his tale is not enlivened by disputes with the emerging power of Parliament. Barber, the author of many medieval biographies, is both a pallid writer and a confusing one--relationships are often mixed up (two different princes, neither of them John of Gaunt, are called King Edward's third son) and both the prince and his father are regularly referred to as ""Edward,"" with no indication of which is meant. For military historians and scholarly devotees of the period.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1978
ISBN: 085115686X
Publisher: Scribners