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    The peasant girl who rallied a demoralized France

    Faith in the sacred voices she heard enabled an illiterate, peasant teenager, Joan of Arc, to rally a demoralized France and successfully lead its armies into battle against the English, biographer Mary Gordon writes in Joan of Arc (2000). Excerpt:

    She shouldn’t have been able to do what she did. Ride at the head of an army. Lead men into battle. Be victorious. A year earlier, she hadn’t known how to ride a horse. She’d practiced by riding on the backs of her father’s cattle. She had never worn armour, and the armour weighed 60 pounds — a much heavier burden on the body of a short woman than on the body of a tall man. She did what she did beside men who had trained for it since early childhood. She had never studied tactics. She had never seen a battle. But she knew she was a warrior, her voices told her she would lead men to victory. She harboured no doubts.

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