Battle Castles: 500 Years of Knights and Siege Warfare

9780007455591: Battle Castles: 500 Years of Knights and Siege Warfare

Bring the Middle Ages back to life with this sumptuous, action-packed tie-in book to Dan Snow’s new Castles series. Follow the building of these epic structures and the bloody weapons used to defeat them – from Edward I’s castles in North Wales, to Richard the Lionheart’s glittering fortress in Normandy and many more.

From the mouth of Lough Foyle in the north of Ireland, to the Alborz Mountains of Iran, castles and their ruins still dominate the landscape and our imaginations, and are a constant reminder to us today of a time when violence, or the threat of it, was the norm.

Dan Snow explores in turn the world’s greatest surviving castles: Dover Castle, ‘the Key to England’ and King John’s first line of defence against the French; Château Gaillard, Richard I’s fortress in Normandy (the only chink in whose armaments was through the latrines); Castillo de Gibalfaro, the last vanguard of Moorish rule in Southern Spain; Malbork Castle, headquarters of the evangelical and entrepreneurial Teutonic Knights in Poland; Edward I’s network of castles in Wales, with its heart at Conwy, built to suppress the rebellious Welsh princes; and Krak des Chevaliers in Syria – an astounding feat of engineering by the Crusaders, which only fell to Sultan Baibars by an underhand subterfuge.

Each castle’s story is dramatically recounted – the building techniques, day-to-day life and, crucially, how well it stood up to the onslaught of siege warfare and battle. Spanning across Europe and the Middle East, and using the latest CGI reconstructions, Dan Snow gets to the very heart of the bloodshed and battles of the greatest fortresses of the Middle Ages.

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'An enthralling epic of engineering, blood and battle' Mail on Sunday

'History's coolest expert brings to life some of the bloodiest battles ever fought’ Sun

‘Dan Snow does a fine job of bringing [the sieges] to life' Times

'It has been edited to look like Game of Thrones. Serious historical discovery, however, is what Battle Castle is all about' Guardian

Praise for Dan Snow:

“Many of us wondered whether Dan Snow could make the transition from fluent TV presenter to serious historian. This hugely impressive work confirms his triumphant arrival on the scene. It is by far the best account yet written of a campaign that helped shape North America, and is a fitting tribute on the 250th anniversary of that “wonderful year” 1759' Richard Holmes

"Dan Snow is perhaps more familiar from television….this, his first book, proves him to be a master military historian in the making. Its grasp of detail is prodigious" Daily Express

"lively and thoughtful…fascinating stuff….one of the book's strengths is its vivid portrayal of the physical backdrop against which the campaign unfolded" Literary Review

About the Author:

Dan Snow is an historian who has researched, written and presented several documentaries on British and world history for the BBC including Twentieth Century Battlefields, the BAFTA award-winning Battlefield Britain, which he co-presented with his father Peter Snow, and his BBC2 series on the history of the Royal Navy. His writing has appeared in The Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Daily Express and BBC History Magazine. He is the author of Death or Victory – a history of Wolfe’s siege of Quebec. Educated at the University of Oxford, he has joint British and Canadian citizenship. He lives in London.

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