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Henry V is the best-known military hero in English history: better known than Marlborough or Wellington, or his grandfather, Edward III. He enjoyed more success against the French than any of them, coming tantalisingly close to conquering that vast country and imposing an English dynasty; this in a reign of just nine years, in only seven of which he was at war. Even before he died the heroic myth, later enshrined by Shakespeare, was being created. His victories have become the touchstone of English nationalism, English militarism and English imperialism. For good or ill, Henry V now signifies the one-time ‘Greatness of England’. He was a military genius, yet his megalomania was not always in the best interests of his own kingdom, let alone the people of France who suffered at his hands. Behind the carefully constructed nationalist myth was a cold, calculating, ruthless ruler who, before his early death, revealed ominous tyrannical tendencies.