War Cruel and Sharp

December 2000
13 line illustrations
480 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Warfare in History
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS015000, HIS027130, HIS037010

War Cruel and Sharp

English Strategy under Edward III, 1327-1360

Clifford J. Rogers

A close study of the military and political strategies of Edward III and the Black Prince, whose great victories had by 1360 made England the foremost martial nation of Europe.
Contemporaries considered Edward III of England "the wisest and shrewdest warrior in the world", but he has not fared so well in the estimation of modern historians, many of whom have argued that he was a fine tactician but a poor strategist. This is despite the fact that by 1360 the English had become the foremost martial nation of Europe; that famous victories had been won at Dupplin Moor, Halidon Hill, Crécy, and Poitiers; and David II of Scotland and Jean II of France were Edward's prisoners, and the French, with the Treaty of Brétigny, had agreed to surrender a third of their kingdom to his sovereign rule in exchange for peace.
In War Cruel and Sharp, Professor Rogers offers a powerfully argued and thoroughly researched reassessment of the military and political strategies which Edward III and the Black Prince employed to achieve this astounding result. Using a narrative framework, he makes the case that the Plantagenets' ultimate success came from adapting the strategy which Robert Bruce had used to force the 'Shameful Peace' on England in 1328. Unlike previous historians, he argues that the quest for decisive battle underlay Edward's strategy in every campaign he undertook, though the English also utilized sieges and ferocious devastation of the countryside to advance their war efforts.

CLIFFORD J. ROGERS is Professor of History, United States Military Academy, West Point.


This impressive work makes a major contribution to our understanding of late medieval warfare... Rogers is particularly good on the particularities of conflict and campaign. JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY
Among the great medieval military leaders, Edward III may be the least studied. That is, until this excellent book... CHOICE
A complete and convincing reassessment of Edward's strategic planning and execution... All subsequent historians of the Hundred Years' War will have to take account of (and in my opinion accept) Rogers' conclusions, and medieval military historians generally will have to explain the modification Rogers' study forces upon the standard battle-avoiding model of medieval strategy. This is, in short, a very important book. ALBION
Exhilarating...persuasive...an impressive and compulsively readable book, illuminated by vivid citations from the sources and enlivened by a combative style. J. J. N. Palmer, HISTORY
A worthy and distinguished contribution to scholarship on the early stages of the Hundred Years War. FRENCH HISTORY
Has surely extended the scholarship in this area... essential reading as a core text on any reading list for a course on the Hundred Years War. TMR

Author Bio

Clifford J. Rogers is Professor of History, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

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