The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England

The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England

Hardback

By (author) Marc Morris

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  • Publisher: PEGASUS BOOKS
  • Format: Hardback | 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 231mm x 43mm | 635g
  • Publication date: 4 June 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1605984515
  • ISBN 13: 9781605984513
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps, figures
  • Sales rank: 968,616

Product description

An upstart French duke who sets out to conquer the most powerful and unified kingdom in Christendom.An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought. This new history explains why the Norman Conquest was the most significant cultural and military episode in English history.Assessing the original evidence at every turn, Marc Morris goes beyond the familiar outline to explain why England was at once so powerful and yet so vulnerable to William the Conqueror s attack; why the Normans, in some respects less sophisticated, possessed the military cutting edge; how William s hopes of a united Anglo-Norman realm unraveled, dashed by English rebellions, Viking invasions, and the insatiable demands of his fellow conquerors.This is a tale of powerful drama, repression, and seismic social change: the Battle of Hastings itself; the sudden introduction of castles and the massive rebuilding of every major church; the total destruction of an ancient ruling class. Language, law, architecture, and even attitudes toward life itself were altered forever by the coming of the Normans."

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Review quote

The story of William the Conqueror's invasion of England is hardly new, but the situations that prompted it on both sides of the English Channel have never been told in so much depth. A historian who specializes in the Middle Ages, especially that period's monarchies and aristocracy, Morris takes thoroughness to new heights as he compares all the available sources in this valuable text. The French relied on the writings of William of Jumieges, chaplain to William; the Bayeux Tapestry commissioned by William's half brother, Bishop Odo; and the work of Orderic Vitalis, an Anglo-Norman born in 1075. The English viewpoint comes from the anonymously penned Life of King Edward and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. The difficulty with the Chronicles is that it was copied by different monasteries, each skewing facts to fit their particular patron's viewpoint. There is no doubt that King Edward the Confessor was king in name only; Earl Godwin's family was effectively ruling England during Edward's reign. His daughter married Edward, and his sons, including Harold (he of the arrow in the eye), held all England save Mercia. No wonder they felt the crown was rightfully theirs. William's abilities and the Vikings' support of brother Tostig's greed proved them wrong. The most important source for the actual invasion is Song of the Battle of Hastings, a contemporary epic poem only discovered in the early-19th century. The English rebelled against foreign rule, new language and customs for five more years before a semblance of order was established. The author includes useful maps, an expansive genealogical tree and extensive notes. A thoroughly enjoyable book from an historian's historian who can write for the masses.