Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman by Frances Stonor Saunders hits the £1 shelf in my shop.
Faber & Faber, 2004, Hardback in dust wrapper.
Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Colour Photographs;
From the cover: John Hawkwood was an Essex man who became the greatest mercenary in an age when soldiers of fortune flourished an age that also witnessed the first stirrings of the Renaissance. This is the first book about him for more than a century. It seizes hold of the reader from the first page and brings a glittering chapter of history to vigorous life. It is full of the sensual, earthy pleasures and horrors of late medieval life banqueting and starvation, sex and its violent renunciation, self-confidence and terrible fear.
When England made a peace treaty with the French in 1360, during a pause in the Hundred Years War, John Hawkwood, instead of going home, travelled south to Avignon, where the papacy was based during its exile from Rome. He and his fellow mercenaries held the pope to ransom and were paid off. Hawkwood then crossed the Alps into Italy and found himself in a promised land.
He made and lost fortunes extorting money from city states like Florence, Siena, and Milan, who were fighting vicious wars between themselves and against the popes. And yet he was given a state funeral by Florence, and is commemorated in a famous painting by Uccello that still hangs in the Florentine Duomo. This man of war husbanded his use of violence, but for all his caution he committed one of the most notorious massacres of his time in the pay of a merciless pope, an atrocity that still clouds his name. Hawkwood does full justice to its exciting and dangerous subject.
Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Pages lightly age-tanned.
Blue boards with Gilt titling to the Spine.
[XVIII] 366 pages. Index. Bibliography. 9½” x 6¼”.
This book will be listed, sooner or later, for £6.50 on my delightful website… (added to my Biography category.) but get 50% off buying from my blog… below…