The Siege – Revolt in the Netherlands 1585

siegeThe Siege: Under Attack in Renaissance Europe is an unusual book. It’s the only children’s book I’ve found (by anyone other than G.A. Henty) that is set in the Netherlands during the 16th century revolt against the Spanish. The revolt had been triggered by an ill-considered attempt on the part of the Spanish Crown to exterminate the Protestant heresy from their northern European territories by introducing the Inquisition. While the book does not go into detail about these matters, it does give a brief introduction to the religious dimension of the revolt.
One reason that a children’s book on this topic is unusual is that the late 16th century is a neglected period in European history. American historians are anxious to get on to Jamestown and Plymouth. English historians are focussed on Elizabeth and the Armada.

We too easily forget what life was like in other places… like the Netherlands. The events of this book are set in 1585 as the Spanish Empire attempts to put down the revolt of the Netherlands. One Dutch town blocks the Spanish army from marching into Holland. What follows is an account of the siege from the arrival of the first troops, over the long weeks of trenching and mining and bombardment, and the final failed assault by the Spanish troops.

The storyline of the book allows a detailed and well illustrated study of 16th-century life during a military siege of a city. Based on a composite of several battles, this uses dramatic storytelling to show life behind the defensive wall as well as in the attacking army’s camp.

Reading level is 5-6 grade, interest level extends through high school and adult. I recommend The Siege as an excellent companion book for any study of the Reformation, Queen Elizabeth, or the story of the Spanish Armada. It is a 56 page paperback, price is $12.95. You can order it directly from Greenleaf Press.
- Rob Shearer
Publisher, Greenleaf Press

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