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Joan of Arc: A Spiritual Biography

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Written in a straight-forward, concise, and at times humorous manner, Nash-Marshall's "Joan of Arc" acquaints the reader with a historical character who became a legend during her lifetime legend. Joan is presented to us as a brave young girl who received a mission and who courageously used all of her faculties and gifts to accomplish it. Nash Marshall's approach is refres Written in a straight-forward, concise, and at times humorous manner, Nash-Marshall's "Joan of Arc" acquaints the reader with a historical character who became a legend during her lifetime legend. Joan is presented to us as a brave young girl who received a mission and who courageously used all of her faculties and gifts to accomplish it. Nash Marshall's approach is refreshingly honest. The narrative is centered on Joan, her mission, her work to fulfill it, her betrayal. The author gives us the facts and allows us readers to draw our own conclusions. Lovers of history will find the author's thesis on the connection between the resurgence of France, the betrayal of Joan, and the fall of Byzantium very interesting.


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Written in a straight-forward, concise, and at times humorous manner, Nash-Marshall's "Joan of Arc" acquaints the reader with a historical character who became a legend during her lifetime legend. Joan is presented to us as a brave young girl who received a mission and who courageously used all of her faculties and gifts to accomplish it. Nash Marshall's approach is refres Written in a straight-forward, concise, and at times humorous manner, Nash-Marshall's "Joan of Arc" acquaints the reader with a historical character who became a legend during her lifetime legend. Joan is presented to us as a brave young girl who received a mission and who courageously used all of her faculties and gifts to accomplish it. Nash Marshall's approach is refreshingly honest. The narrative is centered on Joan, her mission, her work to fulfill it, her betrayal. The author gives us the facts and allows us readers to draw our own conclusions. Lovers of history will find the author's thesis on the connection between the resurgence of France, the betrayal of Joan, and the fall of Byzantium very interesting.

30 review for Joan of Arc: A Spiritual Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    In 1429, France in her darkest hour was startled by the sudden appearance of a shining star -- a teenage girl from a minor village, wielding a standard and claiming that God had ordered her to lead the nation to victory. The Hundred Years War, the long struggle between the French and English nobility over Guyenne, Normandy, and the French crown, had left France seemingly nothing but a lost dream. France had no leader; her last king had gone mad, his queen denounced the heir, and now civil war be In 1429, France in her darkest hour was startled by the sudden appearance of a shining star -- a teenage girl from a minor village, wielding a standard and claiming that God had ordered her to lead the nation to victory. The Hundred Years War, the long struggle between the French and English nobility over Guyenne, Normandy, and the French crown, had left France seemingly nothing but a lost dream. France had no leader; her last king had gone mad, his queen denounced the heir, and now civil war between the Dukes of Orleans and Valois paved the way for English triumph. But Joan answered the call, raised an army, and within twenty years the war was over. She is one of the most remarkable characters in European history, and this brief biography is a highly complimentary if slightly restrained story of her life. Though it avoids being too mythical -- the author discounts stories of animals sounding off in happiness at her birth, and does not attempt to make her out to be a poor peasant girl when her father was a fairly well-established landowner -- it avoids being critical as well. The voices and the miracles attributed to Joan -- her foresight in ordering men to move a bit to the left so they wouldn't be stricken by a cannonball, her raising an infant to life long enough to be baptized so its wee soul would be saved, and not linger in limbo -- are repeated here, without either affirmation or skepticism. [Author]'s focus is on Joan's drive and intelligence, whpch imparted courage to the French people and struck a blow to build a victory upon. Even when in the custody of her enemies, assailed and jeered at by a hostile court, she maintained the presence of mind and the strength of spirit to deliver enigmatic answers that mocked their wrath -- the fury of a band of warriors, priests, and kings focused on a teenage girl. [Author] provides solid context, however, demonstrating how the Hundred Years War was less an English invasion of France, and more of a French civil war, and an exercise of feudal peculiarities in which the English king was a vassal to the French king, despite legitimately controlling more of France (through inheritance and marriage) than le roi himself. It's not the strongest of biographies, but delivers a feeling of Joan that is saintly, strong, and sweet. Related: Joan of Arc: Legend and Reality, Frances Gies

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rita Mahdessian

    I am not afraid...I was born to do this...One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it.Very important words especially in today's world.One should not be afraid of death but be afraid of not living. I am not afraid...I was born to do this...One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it.Very important words especially in today's world.One should not be afraid of death but be afraid of not living.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Briana

    This is a sparingly-written (or edited) book. The text is only 172 pages long but it covers a LOT of territory. I read it for my book club and it wasn't my choice. I came out the other end wondering why on earth I hadn't been fascinated by Joan before. I can't do justice here to the fascinating information the book revealed to me about the political climate of England and France in the early 15th century. Suffice to say, before Joan the Powers That Be in France (and it isn't really proper to spea This is a sparingly-written (or edited) book. The text is only 172 pages long but it covers a LOT of territory. I read it for my book club and it wasn't my choice. I came out the other end wondering why on earth I hadn't been fascinated by Joan before. I can't do justice here to the fascinating information the book revealed to me about the political climate of England and France in the early 15th century. Suffice to say, before Joan the Powers That Be in France (and it isn't really proper to speak of "France" - people thought of themselves as Norman, Burgundian, etc. "France" basically meant "Paris") had decided they could live with being a vassal of England. The University of Paris brainiacs came up with a dual authority theory so everyone could keep a modicum of dignity, but everyone knew who was really in charge. England was on its fifth strong Henry. The French king was nuts, then dead, and the crown prince (the Dauphin) had no intention of fighting for his rights. The queen even encouraged a rumor that the Dauphin had been fathered by her brother-in-law and hence had no right to the crown! The French were mentally whipped. In the middle of all this, at the age of 13 Joan began to be visited by what she called "my voices" who told her to fight for France. Eventually she figured out this meant she was to lead an army and reclaim the crown of France for the Dauphin. This sounded crazy, and not just to us; medievalists weren't that different. But Joan got her Dauphin crowned, she was captured, the Dauphin refused to ransom her, the English got ahold of her, and she was burned at the stake. Joan's life and death can lead one to conclude God uses war as His instrument, and one nation can be favored by God over another. This is not a popular conclusion among modern Catholics; it certainly goes way beyond the just war doctrine. However, if you don't think Joan was crazy, and the English certainly didn't, then it appears God sent a illiterate girl who had barely ridden a donkey to free France. With no previous experience she expertly led thousands of men into battle on a warhorse. Her speciality was artillery. She amazed everyone she met and flummoxed the learned scholars who ramrodded her through her inquisition. If God wasn't on Joan's side and the side of France, then it would be impossible for me, at least, to tell whose side He is on, ever. This is a fascinating book packed with tons of information and thoughtful ideas. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes religion and politics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    The story of Joan of Arc is captivating to say the least. She was more brave then I could ever concieve of being. Over 5 centuries later and she is still inspiring people to fight for what they believe in...that is a powerful legacy. And I think she deserves it. Even when she was faced with death and knew she was being betrayed by her King and the English she was unwavering in her faith and her convictions. Despite her fear she persevered. I think we could all learn something from her dedication. The story of Joan of Arc is captivating to say the least. She was more brave then I could ever concieve of being. Over 5 centuries later and she is still inspiring people to fight for what they believe in...that is a powerful legacy. And I think she deserves it. Even when she was faced with death and knew she was being betrayed by her King and the English she was unwavering in her faith and her convictions. Despite her fear she persevered. I think we could all learn something from her dedication. I never knew a lot of the details surrounding her life and death before I read this book. I think it was a great introduction. It was a pretty straight forward biography, although when you get into all the historical details it can get confusing. Overall I can say that this book has made me want to learn more about Joan of Arc and the legacy she has left behind.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Siobhan Nash-Marshall describes and evaluates multiple perspectives of St. Joan of Arc's life, vividly depicting events and thoroughly analyzing controversies. Details that have long escaped the traditional legends are resurrected here. The research that supports this biography is impressive, but the synthesis of the research is what truly makes it an entrancing read. Siobhan Nash-Marshall describes and evaluates multiple perspectives of St. Joan of Arc's life, vividly depicting events and thoroughly analyzing controversies. Details that have long escaped the traditional legends are resurrected here. The research that supports this biography is impressive, but the synthesis of the research is what truly makes it an entrancing read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    I read this book because after learning about Joan of Arc in homeschool, I just can't get enough of her. I think that this book was really helpful in giving a more in depth background on her life. I would have liked to read more of her own words though. That would have made it better for me. I read this book because after learning about Joan of Arc in homeschool, I just can't get enough of her. I think that this book was really helpful in giving a more in depth background on her life. I would have liked to read more of her own words though. That would have made it better for me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This is the first book I read about Joan of Arc. So because of this, I think it was very well written and easy to get into. It is not horribly detailed. I think it tells you just enough information about Joan of Arc to get your started in learning about her.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sam Truman

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kipahni

  11. 4 out of 5

    Travis

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa De Wilde-Tyler

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian Morin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  17. 5 out of 5

    Strongwars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  19. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Balentine

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Noren

  21. 5 out of 5

    BlossomH2O2

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam Cosgrove

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Fritzke

  25. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason Hallmark

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  29. 5 out of 5

    Walter

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

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