Mary Gordon relied primarily on two biographies titled Joan of Arc: those of Edward Lucie-Smith (1978) and Marina Warner (1981). Significant primary sources are the court records of Joan's trials. Gordon also acknowledges the more than twenty thousand related sources in the French Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
Edward Lucie-Smith aims for objectivity by exclusively utilizing historical evidence, all the while aiming for a portrait of a human being. Nevertheless, his own perspectives are presented, and the book has been criticized for reliance on modern psychological interpretations.
In Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, Marina Warner tries to capture the essence of Joan of Arc by contextualizing her within the mythology of the female hero. Along with identifying pagan and Christian antecedents, Warner shows Joan of Arc’s modern role in embodying not only the female saint but also idealized female warriors.
Gordon’s work also draws on a diverse array of sources from modern historical periods; these show changing understandings of Joan within many genres. These include drama, such as George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan; opera, such as Giuseppe Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco; and films, such as Otto Preminger's Joan of Arc.