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A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons: The Beginnings of the English Nation Paperback – 23 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group (23 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786717386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786717385
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 14.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,482,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A decent Introduction with some minor issues 23 July 2006
By matt altepeter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I first heard about this book some months ago when I first heard it was coming out, and I wasn't dissappointed. The historical accuracy of the work is spot on, with a few exceptions that will be addressed. The book is well sourced and provides a good deal of anecdotal information that will keep the interest of the casual reader.

The only real problem I have with the text is that sometimes the author seeks to add his own subjective opinion of events into the text and thus equate something that happened then to something that is happening now. A perfect example occurs when the author is discussing the Anglo-Saxon missions to the pagans of Germany, especially St. Boniface and Willibald. During the discussion of Boniface, he proceeds to describe the Saint warning a compatriot to avoid Rome because it is being "Attacked" and "Sacked" by the Saracens. From a factual standpoint, the Saracens only raided the Basilica of St. Peter, which was outside the city walls of the City at the time. The Saracens didn't breach the walls to the city proper, nor did they start a prolonged siege or campaign to do so. Under the heading of Willibald, the author then proceeds to link Medieval Muslim expansion in Europe as the equivalent of "the contemporary Islamist Terrorist threat." This incredibly ignorant and untrue statement had me aghast. The motives and means behind the expansion of the Muslim empire and the abhorrent actions of a jihadi cult and their insane leaders are on completely different planes and cannot even be compared. It was rather dissappointed. The author proceeds to inform us of his own opinion several times in quick succession after that, even while discussing the House of Commons and the Fox Hunt.

The Verdict:

This book gets 3 stars due to the quality of the historical information of the text. It would have gotten five stars had the author not chosen to burden his reader with subjective comments that really have no relation to the text or its subject matter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Brief history series hasn't dissappointed me yet! 26 Mar. 2013
By Douglas E. Libert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is very readable,and gives a great picture of the complexity of the Anglo-Saxon culture and its influence both in England and on Continental Europe. Like any intro book however it doesn't really evaluate the Anglo-Saxons in terms of their toleration of other peoples and as another author has pointed out,'There is no really comprehensive book written in regard to slavery in the ancient world". Also although the Anglo-Saxons appear to be great lawgivers, one wonder how the enforcement of these laws was handled. Were they enforced and were they enforced on all or just some? Even a small amount of this type evaluation would make the book more than an intro however.
The Anglo-Saxons seem to be great artists,philosophers,law makers,and statesman. The book also traces their roots arriving in England in greater numbers around 400 AD and their cultural Christian background. like the Vikings, the Anglo-Saxons are a very seagoing people constructing ships and trade links with everywhere in the known world. The Anglo-Saxons seem to be a more or less agricultural people and lived in smaller rural type villages with a few larger population centers. The book uses the Anglo-Saxon chronicles as its main source and goes into the lives of some of the more energetic Anglo-Saxons exploring the lives of its Christian Saints,sinning Kings,philosophers and artists.It stops around 1066 with the Battle of Hastings where the Anglo-Saxon hegemony is set back but still very powerful and capable of influencing both English and Continental European politics and art.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An excellent start in exploring Anglo-Saxon England 18 Mar. 2013
By Gerard A. Proudfoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I actually bought this book some time ago and was sorry to have left it for so long. Geoffrey Hindley covered all his bases in the journey from the mid 4th Century to fall of Anglo-Saxon England to the Normans. The book is extremely well sourced, especially impressive was drawing on the most recent additions to the early centuries when so much information is missing. From the most up to date information on the sailing technology of the Saxons and Francks, current digs in Essex right back to Bede and Gildas very little information available at the time of prininting was left untouched.

The book is also an easy read, the tone comfortable enough that the pages keep turning with little effort. The information just keeps spilling from the pages. The middle and late centuries, better documented, are colourfully described as the various kingdoms develop towards a unified English nation state under Alfred and AEthelstan in the face of the Norse raids and invasions through its decline, recovery and final collapse in the 11th Century.

There are both larger and smaller texts, covering specific periods of the history but if one is looking for an introduction with some weight Geoffrey Hindley's "A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons is an excellent place to start. I have this wonderful addition on my shelf beside my other works on earl England by Stenton, Callinwood & Myers, Mattingly, Fleming and Haywood.
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