Today the castle is only too often a romantic ruin; but in the Middle Ages it was an important military and administrative centre, essentially utilitarian in its design and in the purposes it served. Inevitably, the castle played a leading role in mediaeval history. Using the wealth of material available Philip Warner has focused his study on English sieges undertaken in the period from the Norman Conquest to the end of the War of the Roses, a field that includes many dramatic actions fought in the continental dominions of the English Crown. Warner is equally concerned with the evolution of siege warfare and with the narrative events that centred on sieges. The skills of the architect, engineer and miner are as important to his theme as the courage of the troops and their commanders. And the results of these sieges — for example, Wallingford, Chateau Gaillard, Bedford and Rouen — often decided far more than the campaigns of which they were the climax. Warner has drawn extensively on contemporary accounts of these sieges, verifying them by inspection of the sites where traces of the siege-works are sometimes still visible. His stirring narrative will be of interest to the general reader as well as to the student of medieval warfare. Philip Warner was a former senior lecturer at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and the author of forty books in the field of military history and biography. He joined the army after graduating from Cambridge in 1939 and served in the Far East throughout Would War II. The book includes an extensive picture gallery, author biography and bibliography.