Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars15
4.2 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 26 May 2013
I've started reading this book in Costa Coffee in Waterstones. I immediately liked this book because I felt that in its opening chapters it gave 1066 a fresh modern treatment that helped you see events from a different perspective. It steps back from just telling the story, to being a bit more critical about how much of the story is actually true. In particular it is very critical of the legitimacy of King Harold, the one who got an arrow in his eye at the Battle of Hastings. Without making a big fuss, it starts the story earlier than 1066, despite the title of the book.

However in the next few pages, I felt the book lost its way a little. I know that computer gamers like to play with historical models and 'what if' type scenarios. So the author discussed a few 'what if' scenarios. This makes the book feel very contemporary. It also makes me think that it will date very quickly as todays current references become old hat.

In someways it is good because it is thought provoking. A knight's contribution to the Royal Exchequer can be described as 0.5 man years in taxation terms. In other ways, it seems to start to lose the plot and to forget to tell the central story. I found that I was skipping a few pages at this point.

The reviews are very mixed and the stars are spread quite evenly. My father-in-law (in Scotland) on the basis of his surname told me that he was of French descent and that he was surrounded by Huns. It is interesting to think that 'the myth' is much more important to people than 'the truth'. It is a bit like the newspaper man who says that the truth should not spoil a good story.

So basically you have 'the story' and then you have a discussion about whether 'the story' is true.

I found that The Normans [DVD] had much more profound effect on me than this book. In this book it mentions in passing that the Normans would cut off the hands and feet of people they did not like. The DVD made the Norman Conquest sound much more brutal. It made me think twice about the heritage and legitimacy of our Kings and Queens. Kings and Queens that history books to a certain extent, venerate.

I have upgraded my review to five stars because I feel that a book like this is really quite an achievement.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 November 2011
This is the first of four historical volumes covering the years between 1066 and 2010. In this volume the author, Nicholas Vincent has written a concise and extremely well thought out history book which covers the years between the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
As the historical content is so rich and varied, it never feels like you are reading a stuffy textbook. Each chapter is meticulously researched, and details the social and economic changes in an easy to read manner. I found that the use of genealogy charts and maps at the beginning of the book helped put royal lineage and country boundaries into context, and a comprehensive further reading guide is easily accessible at the end of the book, and is divided into separate chapters for ease of use.
Overall, I thought this was a really informative book. I discovered things I didn't know about the way in which medieval England developed as a country, and as I am an enthusiastic reader of historical novels, I am sure that this book will be invaluable as an aide memoire.
11 comment|31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 July 2015
For Prof. Vincent, 500 pages of tightly packed text is 'brief'! Perhaps 'brief' here means that he shoots from the hip to from start to finish to punch out as much as possible, and faster than possible, of the staggering volume of information about this period at his command. This work is a riveting read from an author whose dazzling authority expresses itself in a style that is at once elegant and downright gutsy: not one flabby sentence, not a moment of boredom, and not a few laughs.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 May 2012
I love medieval history and this is a great book - really interesting and informative says it as it is - comparing with more recent events. Whilst it took a while to get into it, once I did, I din't want to put it down.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 January 2015
a good book to dip into if you want a brief idea of a certain period of history
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 October 2014
Great book with lots of detail. Will now read the rest of the series.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 January 2015
A good publication I will buy others in the series in due course.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 February 2013
I am finding this very interesting and it has a different approach to most history books. It is very largely a social history describing the effects of the headline events rather than simply the events. Covers most social classes and points out the data limitations. As a kindle book I find it limiting as I often wish to turn back a few pages or even a chapter and, if this is possible on Kindle, I have not mastered it.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 February 2013
The style of these great little books is to provide the reader with a brief overview of the period covered. It encourages those who're interested to persue further reading, whilst providing the salient details to those who just wish to become familiar with the key events of the times.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 August 2013
Bought this a while ago, still reading it, one of those books I delve into on occasions and find different views on British history.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)