Customer Reviews

13
4.0 out of 5 stars
Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford History of England)
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£11.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


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

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2012
This book was last updated in the late 1960's and so it is not as up to date as can be. Having said that, it is simply the greatest single volume exposition of the Anglo-Saxon History of England ever written. It is the traditional exposition of the post-Roman migration of continental Germans to Britain. A description of the Various Kingdoms, and their conversion to Christianity. Then the long slow process of English Unification and the Wars with various later invaders, the Danelaw and the slow inexorable build-up to the tale of 1066.
This book is a superb coathanger - a place to get a brilliant outline of the period. Once you have Stenton under your belt you are better able to assess where best to go next to update your knowledge in whichever direction you wish to go. I still highly recommend this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2005
First published in 1943, at the height of the Second World War, this is the second volume in 'The Oxford History of England': its author could well have been forgiven if he had taken a less than sanguine view of a process of invasion and settlement by marauding Germanic tribes.
Now in its third edition (published in 1971, three years after Stenton's death), this volume updates the archaeological evidence and analysis. It's a book which still remains an essential reference work for scholars of the period, but it is showing its age and should be used as a learned, but not definitive exploration of the Anglo-Saxon world.
Much of the era, from the departure of the Romans to the arrival of the Normans, is sparse in terms of literary sources or documentary evidence. What written accounts remain are highly partisan.
Stenton survey s the emergence of the Anglo-Saxon, Anglian, and Jute kingdoms and their role in transforming the political landscape of the southern half of the island. He considers the growth of towns and the continuities and discontinuities between Anglo-Saxon and Romano-British worlds.
This is a land being invaded not just by Germanic tribes, but also by the new Christian religion. The warriors fight to establish their fiefdoms, but so too do the churchmen and missionaries - this is a world of sudden death by either sword or schism.
Stenton evades any romantic notion of the triumph of the Anglo-Saxons - he makes clear that this is a world still subject to further invasion. The Vikings come. So too do the Normans. Remember, as Stenton is writing his original work, the Luftwaffe is a daily reminder of how narrow a strip of water keeps the island of Britain from invasion and conquest.
This is an epic piece of scholarship, a classic work. It deals with the turmoil and uncertainty of change - often rapid and bloody, usually slow and almost imperceptible. It is change with few documentary sources or wholly reliable bodies of evidence. By and large Stenton writes for an academic rather than a lay audience. His narrative is highly readable in places, but in others becomes dense with jargon and academic language and allusion. For the casual reader, this is a curate's egg of a volume and it would be better to seek out some of the more accessible accounts of the Anglo-Saxons. For the academic or scholarly reader, Stenton remains a major resource, even if his writings have long lost their freshness. Stenton is a milestone in the writing of history of the period, a work which still has to be consulted, a work which still confers benefits, but a work, nevertheless, of a bygone era.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2012
Sir Frank Stenton (1880-1967) was one of the greatest historians England has ever produced. He dominated Anglo-Saxon studies in his lifetime and has continued to exercise influence on succeeding generations of scholars. Stenton's learning was profound and he wrote in a measured, thoughtful manner, that reminds me of an eminent judge summing up a complex case. Inevitably some of the text is now dated, as is true for example of Stenton's explanation of the origin of a category of tenant known as sokemen.

Stenton wrote the book for an academic audience and some of the dismissive comments of other reviewers are unwarranted. This book certainly has, and will retain, an honoured place in my personal library, and I remember with affection visiting Stenton's grave in 1990 while en route from Sunderland to a Belinda Carlisle concert at Peterborough. I wished to pay my respects to a scholar whose work had provided me with many hours of enjoyable reading and had greatly enhanced my knowledge of a fascinating period in English history.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2001
Acclaimed in its day, this is a reissue of a volume nearly sixty years old from the Oxford History of England series. Compared with the engaging style of popular television historians, it seems ponderous and dated. A work of exhaustive scholarship, it concentrates on political history and pays scant attention to the newer fields of economic, social and archeological research. Nevertheless Mr Stenton gets off to a good start with the Saxon invasions, but during the subsequent chaos his narrative drifts into a catalogue of obscure kings with even obscurer names. (An Anglo-Saxon pronunciation guide would have been helpful and a glossary of unfamiliar terms.)In their profusion these minor characters begin to resemble the heathen gods as " figures which have names but no attributes." We are informed that they are of the Heroic Age but we are not entertained with many anecdotes to shed light on their manners or personalities. Such is the wealth of detail that it is possible to trace one's own local history where one's partiality lends more interest. The author's approach improves when he comes to literature and betrays an evident enthusiasm that inspired me to re-read Beowulf in Seamus Heaney's excellent translation. Likewise the treatment of the progress of Christianity is rich in insight and sympathy. As the 11th Century dawns the pace quickens and,perhaps because of the course of events described, I found the material more accessible.The suspense builds towards the Norman Conquest which makes a satisfying finale to this long text. I do not wish to be overly critical. This is a substantial work of reference and is good value for money at the price and well printed.It may be better suited to the serious student than the general reader such as myself.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2013
How wonderful to have the text and my own annotations (digital in this case, obviously) liberated
from a big, heavy book, and available anywhere that I have internet access and an internet device.
Obviously, I am commenting solely of the aspects of this edition as a kindle text.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2013
For anyone seriously interested in this period of English history, this book is a good solid overview with a wide range of sources and broad picture of the era and key events and personalities. Everyone studying this topic for the first time at high school or as an undergraduate will find it immensely useful starting point for a portrait of the era - its values, the key players and the factors motivating their actions. Not exactly light-hearted, but certainly not a dry-as-dust tome either.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 29 June 2015
Good book for an extensive reading. I have little knowledge of this subject and I found that I needed to refer to the internet as didn't always know who everyone was!
It is more of a scholarly article though, so I wasn't expecting everyone to have their own little historical biography.

I'm half way through and have learnt a lot so far.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2013
The book is just too academic and wordy for the average reader...There is just too much detail in the opening chapters on minor kings whose names all seem to start with the letter E - and not enough context setting really.
Then about one third of the way in, he really lost me on his over-long rambling discourse about the church - which again seemed to have little context.
There is no context setting, nothing about the life of ordinary people in the Anglo Saxon world, nothing about how the original British integrated (or not) in with the new settlers and nothing about language evolution.
I read forward to the bit about the Norman invasion and what pre-ceded it - which was good, and near the end of the book, but I had otherwise given up at about a third of the way through.
Maybe the stuff I was looking for came later in the book, but by then I had long since given up on this book.
I feel the writer was probably a great academic, but not all academics can write well and make stuff interesting to the average educated punter.
It's a shame because the writer clearly knows his stuff, but maybe does not know when less is more and more is less!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 17 February 2015
Up to the standard of the series, as expected only covers findings up to 1970
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 26 May 2015
A wonderful book. Planning to work my way through the entire set.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford History of England)
Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford History of England) by F.M. Stenton (Paperback - 20 April 1989)

The Anglo-Saxons
The Anglo-Saxons by James Campbell (Paperback - 28 Mar. 1991)
£14.88

 
     

Send us feedback

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