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The Norman Conquest Paperback – 7 Mar 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (7 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099537443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099537441
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Marc Morris is an historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Middle Ages. He is the author of King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta (Hutchinson 2015), The Norman Conquest (Windmill, 2013) and A Great and Terrible King (Windmill, 2009).

In 2003 Marc presented the highly acclaimed TV series Castle for Channel 4 and wrote its accompanying book (now published in paperback by Hutchinson). He has also contributed to other history programmes on radio and television.

An expert on medieval monarchy and aristocracy, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Marc has written numerous articles for History Today, BBC History Magazine and Heritage Today (now published together as an e-book, Kings and Castles).

For more information, including details of upcoming talks and tours, visit www.marcmorris.org.uk or www.facebook.com/marcmorrishistorian.


Product Description

Review

"Almost everything you know about 1066 is wrong. And there’s no better historian to put you right than the wonderful Marc Morris. His new book grips not only as a work of narrative history but also as a sleuthing exercise . . . Morris has captured the triumph and the tragedy of this tumultuous era with verve, insight and a rollicking narrative." (Mail on Sunday)

"Morris gives a compelling account of the invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066 ... Confidently, he opens with the Bayeux Tapestry as a powerful contemporary depiction of a famous battle ... Morris sorts embroidery from evidence and provides a much-needed, modern account of the Normans in England that respects past events more than present ideologies." (Iain Finlayson The Times)

"Marc Morris’s lively new book retells the story of the Norman invasion with vim, vigour and narrative urgency" (Evening Standard)

"As every schoolboy knows, or used to, 1066 is the most important date in English history. But as Marc Morris points out in this enormously enjoyable book, the Norman conquest was much more violent, complicated and ambiguous then we usually think. Carefully steering the reader through the partisan and often contradictory sources, he paints a vivid picture of the collapse of the sophisticated Anglo-Saxon realm, and shows how William the Conqueror relied on sheer terror to establish his reign. Even a Norman chronicler admitted that William had “mercilessly slaughtered” the English, “like the scourge of God smiting them for their sins." (Dominic Sandbrook The Sunday Times, Books of the Year)

"I loved it – a suitably epic account of one of the most seismic and far-reaching events in British history." (Dan Snow)

Book Description

The definitive account for our times of a pivotal moment in English history

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Darren O'Connell on 24 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Prior to purchasing this book, my knowledge on the Norman Conquest was based purely on what was rammed down my throat at school during the 1980s. My orthodox view of 1066 and beyond has never really been challenged and nor had I any interest in changing my understanding or appreciation. I remember thumbing through this book in Waterstones on a cold April afternoon in 2013 and what piqued my interest in this book was one of the plates showing the Norman castle in my home town of Pickering, North Yorkshire. Next to nothing is known about this castle even locally. I remember that during my "indoctrination" about Norman history at school, Pickering Castle was supposedly a place of internment for Charles I (rather than correctly Richard II according to Arthur Bryant)! Whatever, that one image was enough to me to add this book to my Amazon wish list, and I'm glad I did.

I particularly enjoyed the build up to the Conquest regarding the tangled web of competing Saxon claims to the English throne offset against those made by the Danes under the spectre of frequent invasion from a whole host of European factions. Morris skilfully teases out the causal chain that led to William and Harold Goodwinson both asserting their rights to the crown as promised by Edward the Confessor. The evidence presented tends to support the rather surprising conclusion – to me at least - that Harold was the usurper (again something not taught in school). The Norman invasion, as presented by Morris, also departs from the orthodoxy by rightly suggestion that the victory at Hastings did not immediately yield up the English Kingdom to William. There was far more fighting to be done against a rearguard of proud Englishmen led by the surviving remnants of the Saxon aristocracy.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Slow Lorris on 25 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I find it difficult to imagine there could be a better serious popular history of the Norman Conquest. It is fluently written, long enough to provide a good level of detail, and prepared to discuss many of the controversies and uncertainties of the period without over-burdening the reader. I particularly liked the way the author manages to incorporate discussion of the sources - their strengths and weaknesses are crucial to the story - without allowing this to obstruct a strong narrative flow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thirts on 8 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellently written book. I had little interest in this period and only bought this book because it had many strong recommendations. It turn out to be a great buy.

Unlike many history books I have read of recent years this is easy to read and in plain English. Many books I have read recently are sometimes difficult to read and understand, and it appears the authors are trying to show just how clever they are. This book is different it is easy to read and understand, no need to re-read sections to appreciate what is being written. However don't mistake easy to read with simplistic, this is an excellent account of this period in European history, and you will finish reading it with a good understanding of the conquest and it's background.

On the strength of this book I bought two other books by this same author:
A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain
Castle: A History of the Buildings that Shaped Medieval Britain
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By James on 2 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
Having read Marc Morris' "A great and terrible king:Edward I and the forging of Britain", which I thoroughly enjoyed, and wanting to know more about Norman Invasion this book seemed like a good place to start. What hooked me however wasn't the Invasion itself but the way the scene is set in the first few chapters. Rather than delving straight into the succession crisis that followed Edward the confessor it starts way back with Æthelred the unready and subsequently breezes over the Danish successions of Cnut/Harthacnut etc giving the reader much better knowledge of not only why, but how Normandy became embroiled in the politics of late Saxon England.
Having visited Bayeux and the tapestry almost 20 years ago the author brilliantly brought memories flooding back and added ideas and interpretations, that as a 10 year old boy, I was unable to make for myself at the time.

Well done Mr Morris.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Hopper TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent account of this most pivotal event in English history, told in a very readable and engaging way, while never sacrificing a proper critical use of the primary sources, drawing on the works of the contemporary or near-contemporary chroniclers from England and Normandy, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle and (of course) the Bayeux Tapestry. In fact it is really a political and military history of the whole eleventh century from the Viking raids on Ethelred's England until the death of the Conqueror in France in 1087. It certainly was a turbulent and extremely colourful period, of which the Norman Conquest and, more specifically, the Battle of Hastings, is undoubtedly the best known event, but which must be understood in the context of its time, with Normandy as a fairly recently emerged duchy, and England having its large Danish influence. The artefacts that are so well known, i.e. the Tapestry and the Domesday Book, are unique survivals of their kind, without which our knowledge of the period would be much poorer. In his introduction, the author laments the paucity of sources for the 11th century compared to those present just two centuries later which he used in his previous book on Edward I, A Great and Terrible King; for example thanks to surviving documents, we know where Edward I was for almost every day of his reign, but very rarely exactly where William was. Paradoxically, I think the fact that so much has to be squeezed out of so few sources makes this book a much smoother read than his book on Edward I; that, and to some extent, my greater familiarity with the detailed course of events. Thoroughly recommended.
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