A distant mirror

Just finished “A distant mirror” on the 14th century (mostly England/France) by Barbara Tuchman. A well written history book. You realize after reading it, that knights and their behavior code (chivalry), led them to behave in what can only be described a stupid and childish way, that was in complete reverse to their own interests (for example, in situations where a siege would work, they would prefer a frontal attack that would lead to losing a battle). Once the guns had risen, this stupidity also vanished. In any case, if you think certain politicians were bad in some recent time, a short glance in the 14th century would reveal that things could be much much worse.

The second interesting thing is how vibrant the society was in the 14th century. Definitely not the frozen society one associates with the 14th century.

A very nice read for a random pick in the book store…

  1. A book I’ve been meaning to read for years — The Guns of August is also a good read. And also evidence of much more recent stupidity in battle — for entirely different reasons, of course. Or, if you don’t want to read more Tuchman, just rent the Black Adder episodes where he is a soldier in World War I.