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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 9 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Mercia and the Making of England (Hardcover)
I have always found the origin of "England" a curious affair. We have inherited a West Saxon view of Alfred battling against the Vikings, forging a brave new world out of the rubble of successive incursions, while a paralysed Mercia had no choice but to accept his lead. For me, this book fills many gaps. The dominance of Mercia under Offa is well portrayed, and the subsequent demise during dynastic disputes and Viking raids is shown to be a weakening, but not collapse of Mercian power. Walker shows Mercia operating against the Vikings both individually and as a close ally, rather than client state, of Wessex. Mercia was far from being reduced to rubble. In turn this raises interesting questions about the diplomatic skills of the rulers of both the allied kingdoms in forging and maintaining an alliance, drawing them closer so that the birth of a united kingdom became a matter of choice (albeit helped by some important deaths) that was acceptable to the peoples of both kingdoms. A true illumination of the misnamed "Dark Ages"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mercia And The Origins Of England, 23 Sept. 2009
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Veronica Sims (Bedford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mercia and the Making of England (Hardcover)
An excellent study of Anglo Saxon times. You don't have to be an academic to enjoy this book, just a love of history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An informative guide to Mercia, 29 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Mercia and the Making of England (Hardcover)
This book offers a useful counterpart to the usual Wessex based history of Anglo -Saxon England. Very informative, though sometimes a bit heavy going.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Distant memories, 3 July 2012
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This review is from: Mercia and the Making of England (Hardcover)
Much of the subject matter has been written about before.
The author seems to have found sources to reveal characters and events that have little mention in previous works.
The period following the traditionally heralded "return of the king" (otherwise Alfred the Great)
is plausibly transformed into a partnership between two men of "royal" stock.
Alfred of Wessex and Aethelred of Mercia.
The authors studies follow along lines of previously hidden facts and revelations from recent archaeology.
He introduces some interesting characters from the shadows of previous works,
Jarl Orme leader of the Five Burhs,(the East Midlands Danish strongholds of Derby, Nottingham Lincoln,
Stamford and Leicester)stands out as a characteristic opportunist.

In all a well written and easy to read book with some very interesting and plausible sources.
Providing those with an open minded view of history with an alternative but not too contraversial viewpoint.
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Mercia and the Making of England
Mercia and the Making of England by Ian W. Walker (Hardcover - 19 Oct. 2000)
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