We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…

A wise man once said to help keep perspective and understand the times read an old book for every two modern ones. When a friend loaned me ‘Agincourt’ by Christopher Hibbert, a modern book about the famous battle in 1415, it wasn’t quite on the cycle, but I couldn’t pass it up; I’m glad I didn’t. The book, full of contemporary source documents, paintings and drawings from the early 15th century, is not just a history geeks dream, but a masterfully told story. Hibbert’s work brings into focus a world both distant and familiar. The struggles of the 15th century, from epidemic diseases to the threat of Islam, have simply morphed over time; they still haunt us today. With Chivalry at its zenith, honor was prized even above life. It’s a concept most today cannot even comprehend, but I found it refreshing. Reading Henry V’s original challenge to the French king offers an amazing insight into Medieval thought, and is just as manly as the speech Shakespeare wrote for him 200 years later. Manly Indeed. This sort of book may not appeal to everyone, but if you can, put it on your short list. If not, at least read something old.

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