37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2012
Good read. This book explains how the German tribes managed to subdue the Britons. It also explains the relationship between the Britons and the Romans after the Romans began to pull out their troops. And it also explains the relationship between the German tribes and Britons. A relationship which led the way to the eventual take over by the German tribes. It goes on to chronicle the different Anglo Saxon Kings and their rivalaries (which can be a bit heavy)up until the Norman conquest. All in all a good read for anyone interested in that period of British History.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2013
The book presents a useful short summary of the Anglo-Saxon period of Britain. However developments in genetics, archaeology, linguistics and significantly the latest evidence from stable isotope analysis, are gradually undermining the traditional historical view of the presumed Anglo-Saxon invasion post the 5th century AD Roman departure. Furthermore plots of place-names related to Hill forts and Roman towns depicted on the 'fchknols' website (2013), point to an earlier Germanic presence.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2014
This is outdated and now often misleading.It has useful information concerning language, but historically, philosophically, and archaeologically it is not entirely acceptable. I would not recommend this to new students.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2013
I enjoyed this book immensely, but it is after 100 years showing its age, especially in the light of new DNA techniques, Also I hate the inconsistency of terms, i.e English, Saxon, Anglo Saxon, etc, or welsh, Briton, Celt, Cambrian, Romano Briton, to an untrained person this could be very confusing, but I have noticed that all these kind of history books are guilty of this.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2012
Anglo-Saxon Britain by Grant Allen is a book that now comes free via Amazon Kindle, so there is absolutely no excuse for not reading it, especially when such editions can be downloaded to and read from an ordinary personal computer, at zero cost and complete convenience. This is not an advertisement, except, of course, for the book.
Anglo-Saxon Britain ought to compulsory reading for all narrow-minded nationalists, Little Englanders, British national types, English leaguers and any other set of racial purity head-bangers, plus absolutely anyone who might even suggest that isolationism is either beneficial for or a natural state of the English. Anglo-Saxon Britain is not a new book, and hence does not cover any aspects of ethnology that have been developed since the arrival of DNA analysis. Anglo-Saxon Britain is thus an old-fashioned review and analysis of available historical documents and sources. But, in a succinct and wonderfully readable form, it succeeds in summarising the issue's complexity and communicating a beautifully rounded picture of a thoroughly complicated reality.
The English - and their Saxon and Jutish cousins - were, of course, invaders, originating in what we now call Germany, Denmark and Holland. What they brought to a Romanised, at least in part already Christian and largely unified land was barbarism, paganism and continual warfare. What they also brought with them - or at least the Angels did - was their language, a form of low German with gendered nouns that had case endings and verbs that declined into multiple forms But the general structure of that language endured, endured as its complexities of form gradually disappeared whilst its complexity of potential nuance grew. Its vocabulary welcomed successive waves of foreign invaders and its aesthetic adopted the more civilised ways of other foreigners from southern Europe.
The Danes also deserve a mention, of course, since they ruled most of what we now call England for much of the Anglo-Saxon period. And the Welsh and Celts, indigenous people, but only in a relative sense, were not only subjugated but contributed in their own way to the wholly complicated and, frankly mixed up, gene pool through inter-marriage. The point is made repeatedly that perhaps the most English - as far as the original form and sound of the language is concerned - is still spoken by the Lothians of modern-day Scotland, since the Angel settlers there were the least affected by subsequent waves of invasion.
What we do know about the English - very little, it has to be said, since they wrote down almost nothing about themselves - is that they rarely cooperated, except at the tribal or clan level, constantly bickered and argued, regularly fought one another and spent very little time on more civilised pursuits. At least some things have endured.
Anglo-Saxon Britain by Grant Allen does not trade any myths. It presents a learned, well researched and referenced account of the politics, the conflicts, the culture and language of the early English. It reminds us that the last English person to occupy the English throne was Harold in 1066 and he succumbed to an immigrant from continental Europe who moved in and made the place his own, perhaps improving it along the way. The book is superbly entertaining as well as informative, erudite and learned, but also lean, stimulating and succinct. Its sections on the language, alone, render it essential reading for anyone who is the least bit interested in English or the English.