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Joan of Arc: A Military Leader Paperback – January 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0750927871 ISBN-10: 0750927879 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; New edition edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750927879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750927871
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,266,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The publication of this immensely readable book on the heels of Columbia Pictures' release of a major motion picture on Joan reflects our seemingly endless fascination with the Maid of Orleans. What distinguishes this text from others is its pointed depiction of Joan as a military leader rather than a proto-feminist or saint. A well-known medieval and military historian, DeVries (history, Loyola) argues how curious it is that Joan's career as warrior, soldier, and general has been overlooked. He painstakingly analyzes her impact during the Hundred Years War: her combat strategies and how she overcame the psychology of defeat in the French armies, the influence of her victories in the peace process, and how she destabilized the English military and political leadership. This book should be welcomed by general and academic readers alike. Recommended for public and academic library.
-Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Immensely readable . . . should be welcomed by general and academic readers alike."  —Library Journal
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scott Manning on January 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
DeVries, Kelly. Joan of Arc: A Military Leader. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing, 2003, 244 pages.

Kelly DeVries, author and professor of history at Loyola University in Maryland, has written a strong case that scholars have incorrectly analyzed Joan of Arc through virtually every lens save for a military one. She "was a soldier, plain and simple" is how he sums up Joan at the beginning of Joan of Arc: A Military Leader. The need of another scholarly study on Joan comes into question right away as DeVries points out, "No person in the Middle Ages, male or female, has been the subject of more historical studies than Joan of Arc" (pg 2). Yet, he sees a massive void in the scholarship concerning Joan's military capabilities, contributions, and soldiering. The common themes of feminism in her leadership and theology in her trial have dominated the story of Joan for far too long and DeVries offers a unique perspective on her life. He believes all other focuses are pointless if scholars ignore or even downplay her military aptitude in the process. Joan of Arc: A Military Leader successfully brings to light the military aspect of Joan and puts her soldiering at the forefront of her story.

Early in the book, DeVries sets the stage of the Hundred Years War in 1429 explaining how the French remained split between the Burgundians and those who were still loyal to Dauphin Charles VII while the English seized this advantage and conquered most of the land north of Loire River. Yet, as DeVries points out, the French still maintained a strong numerical advantage over the English (pg 8). The English successfully mitigated this advantage by winning several key battles while outnumbered (e.g., Crécy, Agincourt).
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By L. G. Bernard on November 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an exceptionally well-produced book, with glossy pages, excellent maps of the routes Joan traveled and the geography of her campaigns, as well as a number of photographs of historic landmarks related to the life of La Pucelle. If it were a bit larger in size, it would even make a good coffee table book. Mr. DeVries has apparently done a sizable amount of research on his subject and has included excellent endnotes and references. Anyone wishing to follow-up with his or her own study of Joan of Arc would do well to use this work as a starting point. Unfortunately, though, it ultimately fails to deliver on its promise of being a study of her capabilities as a tactician and a strategist.
Having read many of the documents contemporary with Joan's time, as well as numerous biographies (Pernoud, Sakesville-West, et. al.) I was quite familiar with her career. Also, having recently read J.F.C. Fuller's excellent account of the battles of Alexander the Great (The Generalship of Alexander the Great, De Capo Press), I had expected a treatise along similar lines. I was hoping for such things, perhaps, as a review of common fifteenth century tactics, an analysis of how Joan's tactics might have differed from these, information concerning the order of battle for both the French and English during each confrontation, an analysis of how troops were deployed, and so on. Instead, what was presented consisted of basically the same information already presented by Joan's other biographers. Maybe I was expecting too much. For one thing, it may be that medieval warfare was less tactically sophisticated than warfare during more ancient times, despite the advent of gunpowder weapons.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By nto62 on January 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Joan of Arc, A Military Leader by Kelly DeVries presents one very notable problem: it doesn't truly establish her as one. While the book is a passable biography, it fails on most fronts to present Joan as anything more than an inspirational mascot and a rallying point for the dispirited Armagnac forces of the dauphin of France.

By DeVries' own admission, Joan was excluded from nearly every war council occurring between the siege of Orleans and her capture. Thus, any discussion of tactics and strategy, necessary components to establish leadership qualities, are limited to Joan's proclivity for the frontal assault. Unfortunately, the headlong charge when deployed for every contingency, no matter how brave, is neither tactics nor strategy. It is, at best, a habit.

DeVries tries to compensate for this shortcoming by repeatedly alleging that the jingoism of Joan's contemporary Burgundian and English opponents (and latter-day English historians), provides a willful underestimate of her wartime acumen. He seems oblivious that this cuts both ways. Might the French be guilty of embellishment? Indeed, DeVries provides a quote from one of Joan's high-ranking Armagnac compatriots comparing her to Alexander, Hannibal, and Julius Caesar! Even the most casual of amateur historians can recognize this as ludicrous on its face.

Mitigating in favor of Joan of Arc, A Military Leader is the quality of its design and construction [hardcover]. Solidly built with glossy pages and ubiquitous text-specific photographs, it is a very handsome edition. But this, in the end, is all it is: a quality edition containing an average biography falling short of its stated goal. 3 stars.
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