Joan of Arc: Her Story

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9780312214425: Joan of Arc: Her Story

In a distinguished English translation by Jeremy duQuesnay Adams from the best-selling French edition, Regine Pernoud and Marie-Veronique Clin's Joan of Arc: Her Story appears for the first time in an edition for an American audience. The story of Joan of Arc has fascinated readers for centuries: As a young girl in rural France, Joan heard the voices of Saints Catherine, Margaret, and Michael telling her that the dauphin was God's choice for the throne of France. Unquestioningly, Joan left her family to lead the army of the dauphin against the English and defeated them, thereby putting Charles VII on the throne. From the image of an obscure French peasant girl who led the army of the dauphin, to the icon of a saint burned at the stake by an English-controlled church, Joan has been a blank slate on which thousands have written their obsessions, their fears, and their hopes. In Adams's magisterial translation, Pernoud and Clin clear away the myths, allowing modern readers to see Joan as she was. Adams has added a great deal of material not in the original French edition, including a new preface and additional entries to the glossary, which provides portraits of the important historical figures that affected Joan as well as synopses of the historical occurrences and interpretations of Joan through the ages. Joan of Arc: Her Story is an affecting and absolutely thrilling life of a woman who influences us even to this day.

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Review:

The peasant girl who led an army against the English and placed Charles VII on the French throne has inspired countless books since her death at age 19. While others have claimed Joan the Maid (as she called herself) for every cause from feminism to working-class radicalism, this meticulous volume by two French scholars sticks close to the known facts. The authors make extensive use of contemporary documents that bring to life the turbulent political scene in which Joan operated as well as her forceful personality. Joan followed the directives of voices she believed were sent to her by God; her deep piety, self-assurance, decisiveness, and shrewd intelligence radiate from her letters and from her responses to hostile questioning at the rigged trial that resulted in her being burned alive as a heretic in 1431. General readers may be intimidated at first by a detailed narrative studded with lengthy quotations, but those who persevere will discover a story all the more moving because it is not manipulated to make a modern-day point. This English translation updates the 1986 French volume's bibliography, supplements the biographies in part 2 with sketches of historical figures less familiar outside of France, and generally makes the book more accessible for English-language readers. --Wendy Smith

From the Publisher:

"A vivid portrait of the young woman whose intelligence, courage, determination and unshakable faith astonished all of Europe" --Publishers Weekly

"The work of Pernoud and Clin brings into focus all the information about Joan that is available today...truly an exemplary biography. This Joan of Arc makes you want to be there to witness it all!"

--Le Monde on the French edition of the book

"A useful and innovative documentary history of the 15th-century French insurrectionist....Intriguing..." --Kirkus Reviews

"Historian Adams has performed a great service by translating and revising this best-selling French chronicle of the life and legacy of Joan of Arc."

--Booklist (starred review)

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