However, even if he’s taken on some questionable cases in his legal career, he is an excellent narrative historian. The Albigensian Crusade is a masterpiece of prose and research. I have not read any of the massive volumes of his history of the Hundred Years War, but I am looking forward to having the leisure time to do so. The release of the latest volume, Divided Houses, is the occasion for the interview linked above. One story from Sumption’s research was completely charming:
I once read in the Public Record Office the records of an enquiry into the alleged treachery of an English garrison commander accused of taking a bribe to surrender his castle. The case ended in his acquittal. Some weeks later I found in the French archives the actual receipt he had given for the bribe.
There is nothing like handling the primary sources and no way to get closer to history.
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