Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: "Joan of Arc,' A History by Helen Castor.
In Joan of Arc by Helen Castor we are taken into the world of a young woman who not only changed the course of history but was labeled first an outlaw and then a saint. There are many works about Joan of Arc and if you have an interest in her back ground you will be amazed at the gathering of information for this particular tome.
Castor has done a bit of deconstructing and creating a history of the period that takes us not just into the story of Joan of Arc, but of the times to help show how important the advent of Joan and why it was so important. Knowing what was happening and how it all came about brings the fiery and committed Maid or Orleans into stark relief.
A young woman self-proclaimed to be chosen by God to lead the French to freedom, she is stalwart and brave in a way that defies women of the time. The fact the a King and his army would follow that advice of a girl, for that is what she was, both young and maidenly, is a testament to her passionate belief that she is guided by god.
Castor is able to take us into the life of a young peasant girl who hears the voice of God, and leads the French army into victory. Burned at the stake for heresy, she is later validated through those who kept the faith and knew of her victories and believed her story, as she finally becomes a saint.
If you enjoy history and have even a passing interest in Joan of Arc, you will find this an amazing read. This is a story of truth from the histories and journals of the times that tells like fiction and yet is known to be true. You learn of the girl and her life as well as her passionate belief in God. This is truly one of the best histories I have encountered. Her years were short yet her battles were epic, and she, through her faith accomplished what others could not, to drive the English from France and reset the French King on the throne.
This would be a great book for a reading club; the discussion surrounding the material would be abundant.