Thursday, August 24, 2006
I finished repotting and moving my cactus and succulents back onto the patio today. And there are only dribs and drabs, as S. would say, remaining of the kitchen to pack up. Last night I read an account by the military historian John Keegan about the battle of Agincourt. By any standards this is old news, but he makes it very fresh and fascinating. There were lots of things I never knew: about the low social status of archers, and how they each pounded a large sharpened stake into the ground where they took up a position before the battle. This stake could pierce the breast of a rapidly moving horse. Although, horses don't like to run into things and they particularly don't like to step on something living (or very recently dead) which factor was a problem in many battles, as soldiers fell wounded or dead. This the author makes very clear.
Apparently, at the time Keegan wrote the book, the countryside around Agincourt remained close to what it had been, with an irregularly-shaped plowed field separating two areas of woods. I am looking forward to the essays on Waterloo and the Somme, which complete the book, which begins with a fascinating essay on military history and historians. I found out about Keegan some time ago when he was interviewed on the C-Span program, In Depth, about all of his books. He was such an intelligent and articulate fellow that I ordered several of his titles. I have enjoyed and been impressed by all of them, but have not yet read the one on the Second World War.
Stay tuned, out there in blog-land, I will try to post updates during the drive across the middle of America.
at 11:52 PM