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Publisher's Summary

Since her death at the age of 19 in 1431, Joan of Arc has maintained a remarkable hold on our collective imagination. During the tumultuous Hundred Years War between England and France, a young peasant girl nicknamed "The Maid" (La Pucelle) followed her heart and came to the aid of her nation. Facing unimaginable odds, Joan's belief in her mission from God continued to propel her forward. Within months, she was directing soldiers and bravely fighting for her nation. Joan became a national hero and was the guest of honor at her king's coronation. However, her success and fame ultimately and ironically became her undoing.
Best-selling biographer Donald Spoto uses newly translated transcripts of Joan's trial to deliver an intimate portrait of this extraordinary woman. Neither wife nor nun, neither queen nor noblewoman, neither philosopher nor stateswoman, Joan showed the world that anyone who follows her or his heart has the power to change history.
©2007 Donald Spoto (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Basing much of his research on newly translated transcripts of Joan's trial, Spoto breathes new life into an old subject." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Troy on 06-12-14

The Most Balanced Account I've Read About Joan

Mark Twain did not see himself as a religious man, and yet he was still captivated by the story of Joan of Arc. I share in Twain's fascination, and I've read a handful of accounts about the Maid of Orleans over the years. Some were in the larger context of the Hundred Years War, others were varying accounts trying to distinguish if Joan was just psychotic or not. Up until this particular biography, I've felt like the only account to actually attempt to understand Joan within her own time and circumstances was the historical fiction account that Twain himself wrote.

This book is quite possibly the most fair and balanced account of Joan I've ever had the privilege to read. Instead of dismissing claims as "it could not happen, therefore it didn't," Spoto instead looks at the facts and tries to make sense of them in more broad strokes. He compares Joan's story with Biblical stories and alongside religious figures ranging from Jesus to Mohammed to Buddha, pointing out the parallel themes and ideas. He tries to offer explanations that toe the line between the mystical and the simply human, and to my mind he walks that tightrope quite admirably. It's a completely new paradigm that explores the tale in terms of how it would appear to those in 15th century France and dares to suggest that, regardless of what your own spiritual background may or may not be, there is indeed something special about one called Joan of Arc.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By paul j boyd on 06-27-08

joan of arc

if you are a history buff than this book is for you. if you are not then this book is also for you. it doesn't matter if you are an atheist,agostic or a believer. you will not be able to put this book down.certainly one of the most extroadinary characters in history and died at the age of 19. amazing she accomplished so much, especially being a female in the 1400's. get it. you will not be dissapointed!!!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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