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The Penguin History of Britain: The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284
 
 

The Penguin History of Britain: The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284 [Kindle Edition]

Prof David Carpenter
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Review

"This is a fine, up-to-date synthesis of a grand subject, now suitably enlarged." --T.N. Bisson, Henry Charles Lea Professor of Medieval History, Harvard University

Product Description

The two-and-a-half centuries after 1066 were momentous ones in the history of Britain. In 1066, England was conquered for the last time. The Anglo-Saxon ruling class was destroyed and and the English became a subject race, dominated by a Norman-French dynasty and aristocracy. This book shows how the English domination of the kingdom was by no means a foregone conclusion.




The struggle for mastery in the book's title is in reality the struggle for different masteries within Great Britain. The book weaves together the histories of England, Scotland and Wales in a new way and argues that all three, in their different fashions, were competing for domination


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2049 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0140148248
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Aug 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RUA4O8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,425 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful 12 July 2010
By James B
Format:Paperback
The theory underpinning Carpenter's survey of British history from the Conquest to the birth of Edward II is that accusations of English 'imperialism' (by R. Davies, etc.) over the rest of Britain are simplistic and fail to factor for the struggles within Wales, Scotland and Ireland between respective dynasties for "dominion" over one another. In other words, all of Britain was "struggling for mastery", not just England.

Carpenter's book is balanced and thorough, at times introductory, others very detailed. It is highly illuminating and accessible to the non-specialist. Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny 23 Oct 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
David Carpenter is the only historian I know who can hold a candle to Prof Crouch in this period. The detail in this book is incredible and you have to concentrate all the way through, but the effort is more than worth while. Anyone who is interested in this period will find this an incredibly valauble book. Far too often english history is just that - English; the movement around the British Isles and the near continent throughout the period is vastly rewarding, I confess with shame I had no idea about early Scottish history, for example, before reading this. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile but Demanding of the Non-Expert 6 May 2011
By TR
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is a testament to the knowledge and insights of its author. However, so great is the amount of information he seeks to present, that questions inevitably arise about the realism of his objectives and his choice of lay-out. He attempts to do justice to Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and much of Western France, by treating those entities as more than arenas for English involvement, but inevitably has to be selective, and the basis for selection is usually significance in the English context. He preserves a fairly rigid chronological ordering, but unfortunately this can be confusing, especially when he is contrasting different 'Henry or William's. Either some basic timelines for easy reference, or a more thematic ordering would surely have aided the non-expert to absorb more of his very worthwhile analyses.
I reached the final chapter, impressed by his even-handedness, only to be amazed by his attitude to the actions of Edward I. The ability of that man has never been in question, but the idea that his demolition of the Welsh polity, and the attempt to do the same in Scotland, which came so close to success, can be seen as the entirely reasonable actions of a man `more sinned against than sinning' is certainly a new take for me. I was also surprised to see the `state building' of Welsh and Scottish rulers in the preceding century, contrasted with pacific England which had of course had the resources to achieve `natural frontiers' two or three hundred years earlier.
In spite of these reservations I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wished to know more of the British Isles in the first part of the last millennium.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a tour de force! 30 Jan 2005
Format:Paperback
It takes some time to digest this book because it offers such a wealth of information on more than 500 densely printed pages (not counting the bibliography and the index). It starts with the Norman invaders crossing the Channel (providing us also with a glimpse of the situation in Britain prior to the Conquest), tells of a realm straddling the Channel and kings (e.g. Henry II) at times more focused on the continent than on England. Scottland and Wales are treated as separate entities (which they were until Edward I changed the situation) and covered in detail. Irish history (as far as it is intertwinded with British history) is not neglected. We learn about the changes in rulership, the gradual development of parliament, the impact of royal decisions and actions upon all stratas of society and the interactions between kings and not only their barons but also the knights and the burghers who gradually gained in importance.
The history of a country is always the history of its rulers, too, but in this book it's not so much their person/personality which is the focus of attention, we see them as part of a whole which they only managed to shape to a certain degree and which sometimes developed a life of its own which the ruler no longer managed to control effectively (e.g. John, Henry III).
The book is good to read, very fluently written, but requires one's full attention because it is so cram-full with facts. A glossary would have been helpful.
Invaluable for anyone interested in that period in history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality history 10 Jan 2013
By Jackie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good quality history, well narrated. Quite a lot of stuff is a summary of earlier writers without detailed attribution. Penguin standard history.
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