This ambitious book aims to set the many castles of England and Wales in an historical context, through the role they played in medieval conflicts. Dan Spencer's passion for his subject shines through and like all the best history books, makes you want to get out and explore some of these fascinating castles.
I have visited most of the castles mentioned in the book and consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about their history, but still found some new and thought-provoking ideas. For example, I'd not realised that the local townspeople often petitioned to have castles 'slighted' in the civil wars.
It's also fascinating to realise how much we still have to learn about many of our great castles, as the efforts at 'interpretation' are gradually being revisited. (Even as I read this book my nearest castle at Pembroke is undergoing new archeological studies which are likely to change its 'story'.)
I'm happy to recommend The Castle at War in Medieval England and Wales to anyone with an interest in the subject - and will definitely be doing some more exploring.
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About the Author
Dan Spencer is an expert in late medieval warfare, particularly on the subjects of gunpowder artillery and castles. He has experience of writing for both an academic and popular audience, which includes conveying cutting edge scholarly research in a format accessible to non-historians. He has written a number of articles in academic journals as well as co-authoring, The Agincourt Companion (Carlton Books Limited, 2015). He is the main contributor to the www.agincourt600.com website and co-designed the Future Learn open access online course – ‘Agincourt 1415: Myth and Reality’. His knowledge of castles and warfare has also been enhanced by his experience of teaching the subject to undergraduate and international students at the University of Southampton. You can find him on Twitter @GunpowderDan
Full disclosure: A review copy was kindly provided by Amberley Publishing