Henry V


Author Marcus Cowper

Illustrator – Graham Turner

This book is from the 8th book in the Command Series and is short, only 64 pages, but it is a concise summary of the life of Henry V. The Contents of this book are:

  • Introduction
  • The Early Years
  • The Military Life
  • The Hour of Destiny
  • Opposing Commanders
  • When War is Done
  • Inside the Mind
  • A Life in words
  • Further Reading
  • Index

In the introduction Marcus Cowper gives the background on the relationship of the dual monarchy between England and France. He includes a detailed family tree of the English and French Royal families, which is referenced in the book. The author focuses on Henry’s lineage and how his father came to be King of England, with 13 year old Henry as the heir to the throne at his side.

Henry’s military life begins with him accompanying his father, King Henry IV on his first military operation of his reign through to his first command in the battle of Shrewsbury. In this battle Prince Henry suffered a severe arrow wound to his face and showed himself to be a fine example of bravery. It also includes the Welsh campaigns from 1403 to 1406 that saw Prince Henry push back the Welsh to regain the ground they had lost the previous year. In 1407 Prince Henry engaged in a successful siege for Glendower’s final strongholds, that lasted over a year. In the year 1409, due to the aging of King Henry IV and the political maturity of Prince Henry, he became more influential in the affairs of state including his plans for France.

THE HOUR OF DESTINY is the largest Chapter, 35 pages long; here the author covers Henry V’s preparations and plans for his invasion of France. How he built up his fleet seizing English and foreign ships and sailed for France. He details the 3 week siege of Harfleur, the ‘key to the sea of Normandy,’ injecting Henry V and other’s personal accounts. He moves onto the march to Agincourt with in-depth description including maps, photographs and illustrations as to the skirmishes and battle that ensued.

In The Conquest of Normandy, as with the battle of Agincourt, the author gives detailed description of all the campaigns leading up to and including the final campaign for Normandy. Once again, maps and the author’s private collection of photographs are included. Cowper’s usage of personal accounts and excerpts from other pertinent books adds color and insight to these historical battles.

Cowper continues his descriptive style in giving you informative details regarding Henry V’s formidable opposing commander, Owen Glendower, English magnates and French lords. He takes a brief look at how the deaths of Henry V and Charles VI affected England and France in the years to come.

In the section ‘Inside the Mind’ the author reminds us of Henry V’s bravery on the field of combat, his logistical skills, and his personal religious beliefs. His interest in law and order and impartial justice are also brought to light in this section. Here the author tries to make us understand Henry better. Henry V was well aware of the power of the written word. As you might expect the English hold Henry V in high regard but the French also speak very highly of Henry V’s abilities to lead as king and commander. Finally, the author looks at how Henry V has been immortalized as a military hero through the power of the written word.

This book was very well thought out and written. The inclusion of excerpts from chronicles of the time, plus maps and photographs make this concise book a great source of reference on Henry V.

This book is available from Osprey Publishing

Paperback $18.95