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Joan of Arc: Her Story Hardcover – December 1, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The peasant girl who led an army against the English and placed Charles VII on the French throne has inspired countless books since her death at age 19. While others have claimed Joan the Maid (as she called herself) for every cause from feminism to working-class radicalism, this meticulous volume by two French scholars sticks close to the known facts. The authors make extensive use of contemporary documents that bring to life the turbulent political scene in which Joan operated as well as her forceful personality. Joan followed the directives of voices she believed were sent to her by God; her deep piety, self-assurance, decisiveness, and shrewd intelligence radiate from her letters and from her responses to hostile questioning at the rigged trial that resulted in her being burned alive as a heretic in 1431. General readers may be intimidated at first by a detailed narrative studded with lengthy quotations, but those who persevere will discover a story all the more moving because it is not manipulated to make a modern-day point. This English translation updates the 1986 French volume's bibliography, supplements the biographies in part 2 with sketches of historical figures less familiar outside of France, and generally makes the book more accessible for English-language readers. --Wendy Smith

From Publishers Weekly

Joan of Arc means many things to many people: the incarnation of French patriotism, a Fascist mascot for anti-Semitism, the symbol of working-class resistance, the ultimate proto-feminist, the political prisoner, the innocent woman persecuted for heresy. In order to separate legend from fact, her uses from herself, Pernoud and Clin have ingeniously turned the mystifying question "Who is Joan of Arc?" into the more manageable "What is [her] historical record?" Joan's history was brief: a year of fighting, a year of imprisonment. In 1429, inspired by holy "voices," she traveled to the failing dauphin Charles (later King Charles VII) and declared that she would free the city of Orleans from his English enemies and lead him to his coronation. Shortly after fulfilling both prophesies, she was captured by the English, who tried her for heresy and burned her at the stake. In 1455, 24 years after her death, a new trial concluded that the English inquisition was improperly conducted and nullified its decision. Throughout their descriptions of these events, the authors draw upon copious letters and trial transcripts to present a vivid portrait of the young woman whose intelligence, courage, determination and unshakable faith astonished all of Europe. A brief introduction and a section of profiles of the major players make this thorough book accessible to the general reader. Though the writing is sometimes dry, Pernoud and Clin do an admirable job of bringing clarity to their complicated subject. This is the first English translation of a book published in 1986 in France. 12 illustrations, 8 maps.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (December 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312214421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312214425
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not much can be added to the previous reviews. I would highlight the point that it would be wise to read the forward and preface before getting stuck into the book. The layout of the book is somewhat different to your normal biography but in this case it works well. The story is excellent and is well presented and as mentioned by other reviews without any noticeable bias either way. The authors have produced a gripping and entertaining story and have also provided the reader with some detailed lists of principal characters, issues and images and appendices that have copies of some letters written by `Joan of Arc'. The list of characters was very detailed and makes the book a must have for any decent library. Overall this is a very well researched account of this amazing woman and the story was a joy to read. Recommend to anyone who loves good history.
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Format: Paperback
Jeremy Duquesnay Adams translation of Régine Pernoud and Marie-Véronique Clin's Joan of Arc: Her Story couldn't treat of a more interesting subject. Out of nowhere, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, a peasant girl from Lorraine travels through anti-French Burgundy to see the Valois claimant of the French throne -- Charles VII. She says that the voices of angels have told her that God has instructed her to raise the siege at Orléans -- which had been going on for some time now -- take Charles to Reims to be consecrated and crowned king -- deep in English territory. She gets to Chinon and is received by the dauphin himself. She is then sent to be questioned by priests and instead of finding her insane -- as would almost certainly be the case should the same thing take place today -- they decide that she's the real deal. Charles gives her an army and she defeats the English at Orléans just a few months after leaving Lorraine. Two months later she has routed an English army at Patay led by, among others, Fastolf, and seen Charles annointed at Reims. Europe was very surprised by this turn of events.
Due to court jealousies, Joan falls out of favor with Charles, and a year after her successful relief of Orléans, is captured by the Burgundians. Charles VII refuses to pay her ransom and Joan is transferred to the English. A kangaroo court that rivals 20th century Soviet mock trials is put on by a priest of the University of Paris -- Pierre Cauchon (whose surname is a homonym for the word pig in French.) Joan is condemned to die by fire. Two years after she enters the scene she is executed. Her last word is "Jesus." Many of the soldiers to watch her die find themselves ashamed. This is a tale religions are made of.
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Format: Paperback
Seems that some people can churn out biographies with the speed of an A&E documentary: with all the spark of a bag of hammers. I can't think of a word that means super-duper-mega-whumpa-exhaustive to describe all the background information that is included in this book, so I won't even try. All you need to know is that this was written by the foremost scholars of Joan of Arc. Even better is that it is not just Joan's story, but the appendices give full portraits of ALL the players in her drama.. and these people are shown in the context of their place in that time of history. Also included are many transcripts of her "trials." This is not an easy read, but it is a gratifying read, even for those (like me) who are unaccustomed to scholarly works. TAKE THIS HINT: Keep notes of the players as you go along (name, allegiance..), otherwise it will take a lot longer, as you'll keep getting sidetracked flipping to the back to read & reread.
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Format: Paperback
What a great book. The authors have created a comprehensive and detailed historical portrait of Joan The Maid based on actual facts. My favorite part of this book is the comprehensive list of characters involving in the life of Joan of Arc. This list made it easy to reference all the different dukes, counts, kings and other names mentioned in the book. I strongly recommend this book.
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By A Customer on November 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is possibly the best book about La Petite Pucelle to be released in the last few decades: Regine Pernoud presents the evidence without injecting bias or speculation into the mix, and also includes the text of Joan of Arc's surviving letters and other relevant information. Along with her other books (such as "Joan of Arc, By Herself and Her Witnesses"), this is a must-read for anyone who wishes to study the historical Joan.
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Format: Hardcover
I think it wise for anyone who reads this book to begin with the prefaces which give a clue to the overall presentation of the book. I did find myself captivated by the book upon first reading. And though it is easy for us to become lost in the maze of characters involved in St. Joan's life, a testament of how many she affected in the brief time she was alive, there are the second and third parts to enlighten us. The book does well with the presentation of her life. Further, there is plenty of information in the appendices to give someone not familiar with the "life and times" of the late Medieval Age to come away with enough background to have a better understanding of the events that unfold in this book. More interesting reading would be found in Pernoud's "Joan of Arc: In Her Own Words." if one is interested solely in her story without having to worry about a lot of the historical contexts.
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