Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Battle of Flodden 1513

A couple days late, I know, but in light of the 500 year anniversary of Flodden, I picked up this new book at the weekend.  I haven't read much British history in a wee while, so this has been a refreshing change of pace for me.

The two author's seem to be stressing three themes with this book; repair the reputation of James IV, highlight the roles women played in the build up to the battle and how far Flodden has impacted on, for want of a better phrase, the Scottish mentality.

So far (I haven't finished reading yet) they've made a pretty good job of the first two points.  There's a nice discussion on the different theories of what exactly James IV was planning, as well as highlighting his hitherto successful reign.  I'm not knowledgeable enough on the period to say if they reach the correct conclusion, but their points are well argued and logical.  Margret Tudor and Catherine of Aragon get a reasonable amount of page time and there's a fanciful notion of  how Catherine upstaging her husband in the Flodden campaign contributed to her fate.

I'm not too happy about the extrapolation to the battle to the modern constitutional situation in Scotland "as the independence debate gathers increasing momentum."  Has it?  It's equally valid to say there's a lot of cynicism and even boredom up here about the debate.

Still, Flodden 1513 is an enjoyable enough read if you can ignore a few of the faults (it REALLY needs a good edit before a second print run.)  The ultimate test of any history book for wargamers is, of course, "do you now want to wargame the ??? period?"  With this book, the answer is sadly no.


  1. The only Flodden book I've read is the Osprey one. Perhaps I need to look out for this or another??

  2. I have read elsewhere that Henry wasn't too chuffed at the comparison between Flodden and the Battle of the Spurs

  3. Nice review, I also like your measure of a good book, never looked at it this way before

  4. I know little of the battle except through watching Ray paint units for it, honest review though.