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1066: A New History of the Norman Conquest [Hardcover]

Peter Rex
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2009
The Norman Conquest is the single most important event in English history. On this invasion and 'regime change' pivoted the second millennium of English history. This is well recognised, what is not is how long and hard the English people fought to deny William 'the Bastard', Duke of Normandy his prize. Rather than being the smooth transition peddled by pro-Norman historians, the Norman conquest was a brutal and violent takeover by an army of occupation. Unknown thousands of rebellious thegns resisted the Norman regime, the most famous being Hereward, but there were plenty of willing collaborators among England's clergy, who pushed for William to be crowned king. In return he let them retain their sees and abbacies, as well as the vast tracts of land. Peter Rex tells the whole story of the conquest of England by the Normans from its genesis in the deathbed decision of King Edward the Confessor in January 1066 to recommend Harold Godwinson as his successor, to the crushing of the last flickers of English resistance in June 1076.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (6 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848681062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848681064
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 866,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Rex is a retired history teacher. He was Head of History at Princethorpe College for twenty years. His other books include The English Resistance (An invaluable rehabilitation of an ignored resistance movement' THE SUNDAY TIMES), Harold II ('Rex's powerful defense of Harold is refreshing' THE DAILY MAIL, 'A learned new biography' THE FINANCIAL TIMES) and Hereward ('An enthralling work of historical detection' ROBERT LACEY, 'Like oakum from a knotted rope of legend, Rex picks out the facts of his life' THE TIMES, 'Rescues Hereward, a genuine folk hero, from the oblivion into which he has fallen' FRANK MCLYNN). He lives in Ely.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent 3 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very readable and enjoyable book on a fascinating subject.
Whilst it covers pre Hastings and Hastings itself as you would expect, it
manages this in about 80 pages and 5 chapters.
That leaves the further 9 chapters to deal with Post Hastings, ie how a win on the battlefield became a conguest.
It is this part of the book that really fascinates.
It covers the English resisitance and Williams often brutal responses as well as the Normanisation of England, without being too academic or dry.
It is this that distinguishes the book from many others, and is all the better for it.
If you want a book that digs deeper than usual, and that really kicks in when others tail off, ie post Hastings, then this comes very highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant! 6 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
i could not fault this book, it is a must for anyone interested in the period, covering everything you need to know not just about 1066, but the events that proceded it and the normanisation of britain that followed. have just ordered the 'hereward' book by peter rex and im really hoping it lives up to this!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moment in Time 31 May 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like many great events in history, the outcome hung on a thread; and so did the battle that changed England for ever! Indeed until the last it could have gone either way. I have a great interest for this period of English history and the transition from a Saxon to Norman hierarchy; and this book contributes to the understanding of that period. Recommended for anyone interested in this period
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Radical/new? 10 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Am in some agreement with another reviewer in that this book is not always well-written, at some points there is (unnecessary?) repetition and I do wonder why the appendices, although very relevant and informative, are presented as such. Peter Rex has written a number of books on this subject; 2 biographies (Harold, William) and a separate account of the English Resistance, so the problem may lie in this book being a re-visiting or compilation of previous material.

All this being said, and despite Peter Rex's almost rabid anti-Norman stance (I am a tad surprised that he doesn't present a case for "the lost glory of England", as some others have done), this is a very informative book and does highlight the ferocity of Norman rule - but then, with an approximate numbers ratio of 7:1 in favour of the English, was there any alternative in imposing a culturally and linguistically alien rule by a distinct minority?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I enjoy reading military history and history in general. I have read other books of the Norman conquest of Britain that described William the Conqueror's launching of his fleet from the windswept shores of Normandy in 1066 to invade Britain and defeat the English (Anglo-Saxons) at the Battle of Hastings, after which William was crowned King of England and essentially tied the English peoples to the Latin Christian culture of the continent, perhaps sparing them the prospect of becoming a Scandinavian country. Yet here is a "new history" of the Norman Conquest, which provides much greater detail, not only of the Battle of Hastings, but of the brutality and violence of the Norman Conquest and the persistent revolts of the English people. For readers who desire a deeper understanding of the Norman Conquest, this is the book to read, though it is written in an academic style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't like the Conqueror 22 Jun 2011
I have read a few books over the years on the Norman conquest and it is good to see a book that considers the actual conquering of England and not just the Battle of Hastings and its immediate aftermath.

Mr Rex certainly doesn't rate the Conqueror and seems to share considerable sympathy with the English who were so cruelly treated by him. I hasten to add that is not a criticism but more of a comment.

This is very readable and well researched and so a useful addition to the books that do proliferate on the Battle of Hastings.

I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a different slant on well trodden slice of our history.
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