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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sort of popular history
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...
Published 22 months ago by Slow Lorris

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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Norman Conquest
"The Norman Conquest" by Marc Morris is a comprehensive history of the Norman invasion, covering the whole life time of William the Conqueror. Its style would be easy to read if it was not for the fact that Marc Morris insists on justifying every point he makes by discussing all the evidence that led to that conclusion. This can mean the narrative drags as he deals with...
Published 16 months ago by Neil Lennon


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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the norman conquest., 19 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Paperback)
A very informative book about the Normans who were originally descended from the Vikings who settled in North West France.
The Viking connection was something I knew nothing about previous to reading this book.
There was more to this book than just the Battle of Hastings, the Bayeux Tapestry and the Domesday book.
William, Duke of Normandy really was a ruthless guy, and nothing was going to stop him getting what he wanted.
It seems he ruled Normandy with total ruthlessness.It was no wonder he was known as William the Bastard!
It really opened my eyes to learn more about the Normans and William the Conqueror than I previously knew.
A recommended read for anyone who wants to know more about William the Conqueror and the conquest of Britain.
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9 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If only King Harold had won?, 12 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Hardcover)
If King Harold had won at Hastings (as he so nearly did) then surely the subsequent high body count of English civilians would NOT have happened. For instance, there would not have been the mass murder of the population in the North-East by William in his crushing of the North.

Moreover, the Norman Conquest led to centuries of French-speaking Kings of England making warlike dynastic claims on vast swathes of France, with unimaginable suffering for countless French people.

How on earth did any of this bring the slightest benefit to the people of England?

If Harold had won then there would have been no need for Joan of Arc and no slaughter-for-no-return at Agincourt.

Anglo-Saxon England and Carolingian France had always enjoyed friendly relations and were never at war. Neither ever made territorial claims against the other.

The negative attitude of the English towards the French - and presumably vice versa - were likely triggered initially by Norman rapaciousness - even though the King of France was not the aggressor.

Then there is the Norman land-grab in Ireland, a century after 1066. This led to more than 800 years of bitter conflict and discord which, even today, is still less than fully resolved. King Harold's England was on good terms with the Irish Vikings of Dublin. It was the Normans who began endless generations of Anglo-Irish strife. We are still paying the price today.

Ultimately, the agony that the English people endured from William's widespread use of terror was then exceeded (right up until the recapture of Calais by the French in 1558) by the French people's suffering (ie for nearly half a millenium) from Anglo-Norman, Plantagenet & Tudor warmongering in France.

This book is a brilliant piece of writing, yet surely it would have been a whole lot better for both traumatised peoples if William had been thwarted?

An estimate of the loss of life in both England and France from Anglo-French wars between 1066 and 1558 should be cause for grave reflection.

If it were possible today to know all the forever unrecorded incidents of burned homes, slaughtered peasants, raped women and orphaned children that William's brutal will caused, then even more people would wish that Harold had prevailed.

The same applies to supposed great moments in post-Conquest English medieval wars against France. If we knew all that French victims had to endure from drunk and thuggish English soldiers, we would feel a lot less celebratory about these alleged moments of greatness.

'Our King Harold' (as per the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) was markedly humane to the Norwegian survivors of his victory at Stamford Bridge. He was not so fond of terror as was the Duke of Normandy.

Looking long term, if the more likeable King Harold had prevailed, then it must be distinctly possible that there would not have been any wars (or a lot fewer) between England and France during many subsequent centuries.

Finally, can there really be any serious dispute that the English people would have lived a good deal more peacefully if their own King Harold, rather than the terrifying intruder Duke William, had been their ruler from 1066?

In modern terminology, it is surely arguable that Duke William's victory was the catalyst for perhaps the second biggest humanitarian disaster for medieval Western Europe, exceeded only by the Black Death?
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18 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sorry marc I disagree, 10 Aug 2012
By 
L. B. Loewy - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Hardcover)
I have always had trouble with the Norman conquest. And in particular William. So I decided to try Marc Morris' book.
I really enjoy most of it and found out lots that I didn't know.
I also realized that this book is chiefly about what happened after the invasion. Marc makes some good points regarding the Anglo-saxon society, but I find it hard to equate how he could possible justify what the Normans did to England in the same terms.
After reading his book, I wanted to find out more about the little mentioned Harold. I felt that he had done Harold a disservice, so I bought Ian w. Walker's Harold. The last Anglo-Saxon king.
I suppose it all depends which camp you are in.
The reason I have only given the book 2 stars is that I have big problems with some of Marc's claims regarding Williams visit to England in 1051. Also With Edward the confessor's choice of William as his successor.
History is of course written by the victors, and if you want the story from the Anglo-Saxons point of view, get hold of Ian W. Walkers book.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Game of Thrones, 29 July 2012
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Chris Wilson "Chrisw" (London) - See all my reviews
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A good read,and the author explains his sympathies at the start.My old school histories were very brief, heroic Harold wins one loses one (dying in the process).Wicked William subjugates the land at great loss of life for the old English elite and the people.Well, this book gives a much more balanced and thorough tale.Glad that Charles and Andrew having a little falling out does not have such consequences.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bought for daughter, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Paperback)
did not want to pay a fortune for school books best place to look for deals service and quick too excellent :-)
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 15 April 2013
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This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Paperback)
This guy is a brilliant author, so much detail that he has verified. I bought his other books after reading this one. I really do recommend it
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One little quibble, 2 April 2013
This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book - exceptionally well written and a joy to read. True, there are differing interpretations from other authors but this is what makes the reading of history so fascinating and there is no doubt that Marc Morris is up there with the best. One little quibble from page 121 however, 'In Yorkshire place names we commonly encounter the disctinctive Danish '-by'. Quite possibly true, Mr Morris, but sadly in choosing Grimsby as an example of this, you've had a shocker!
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A near miss, 31 July 2013
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This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Paperback)
A strange book, some parts really well written and very informative but other bits are vague and seem to be badly edited. The narrative flow seems to be also excellent in parts and then seems to slow down and become hesitant and uncertain at others, at times it feels like one book with 2 authors. I would not recommend this book unfortunately.
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3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History, 17 Jun 2012
By 
A. Moore - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Norman Conquest (Hardcover)
The book does give a fresh approach to an old story. There are a number of new twists to make you think.
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The Norman Conquest
The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris (Paperback - 7 Mar 2013)
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