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Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman (2004)
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 057121908X, Hardcover)The second son of a minor Essex landowner, John Hawkwood chose to head south in 1360 after serving as a captain in the Black Prince's wars against France. He and other freebooters besieged the Pope at Avignon, and when they were paid to go to Italy, discovered that the threat of force could be very profitable indeed. Hawkwood became the most successful mercenary leader of the time - immortalised after death by Paolo Uccello's fresco in the Duomo. This is the story of an age when everything came to have a price. But above all, Hawkwood is a brilliant illumination of one of the outstanding figures of English and European history.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)
"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."--BOOK JACKET."The Devil's Broker is more than a riveting account of fortunes gained and lost by treachery and the sword: it is a lavish portrait of the fourteenth century, which Barbara Tuchman called "calamitous"; the Black Plague that struck down the mighty and the abject with equal ferocity; the violent schism in the Catholic Church that sent the Pope scurrying to Avignon for safety; the religious mania offset by a gargantuan appetite for spectacle, luxury, and self-indulgence. Among the other titans moving through Frances Slonor Saunders's magnificent narrative are the anorexic and power hungry St. Catherine of Siena, an ill-tempered and comfort-loving Petrarch, and a curious and amused diplomat-spy named Geoffrey Chaucer, who would draw on Hawkwood's career for his own "Knight's Tale."" "The meticulous archiving and record-keeping of medieval Italian notaries means that this history has come to us in the intimate words of its most vital actors; Frances Stonor Saunders has combed tirelessly through original documents to produce a history seemingly as immediate and relevant as events of yesterday."--BOOK JACKET.
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