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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best..., 28 May 2012
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories) (Paperback)
This booklet is one of the best in the Osprey Series. Published more than ten years ago, when I bought it, it is the best of the "short versions" about "1066 and all that", probably because Matthew Bennett happens to be the author.

The short and crisp introduction is particularly good, showing that the Norman Conquest of England did not stop with the hard fought victory at Hastings in October 1066 nor with William of Normandy's crowing as king the following December. At least six further years of hard campaigning were necessary. Even up to 1085, almost twenty years after Hastings, a Danish fleet almost invaded England and obliged the ageing Duke and King to mobilize a huge army that almost bankcrupted the Kingdom. This was the origin of the Domesday Books (for there are several of them).

The social changes brought by the Conquest are also well told, with the Saxon elite being replaced by the Norman and French knights (including many Bretons, Angevins, Manceaux and Flemish, in particular) that came with William or settled afterwards and were given land. The Norman castles that can still be seen across England and (South) Wales were largely built for this small elite and their King to control the land.

Three other features make this book stand out as one of the best. While the illustrations are ok to good, but no more, the maps and diagrams of campaigns and battles are both very useful and well down. Also great are the four little biographies of, respectively, Haral Hadrada and Hereward, and of two of William's main barons, Hugh d'Avranches, who became Earl of Chester, and Roger of Montgomery, who became Earl of Arundel and Shrewsbury. Also excellent are the biographies of the three bishops, including Odo, William's half-brother, and of Queen Edith, the wife of Edward the Confessor and sister of Harold.

My only regret here is that, given the size constraints of this collection, Matthew Bennett could't add any others. I would have, in particular, loved to see one on Lanfranc, William's chief advisor, and perhaps also one on William Fitzosbern, who was William's childhood friend and whose recklessness got him killed in 1071 while attempting to become Count of Flanders, and of Robert of Mortain, William's other half brother (and the full brother of Odo, the very energetic and warlike bishop of Bayeux). But then, if this had been possible, I would probably be asking for a dozen more...

Anyway, I can only recommend this little book for everyone, and especially for any reader of James Aitcheson's Sworn Sword and sequels.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Campaigns of the Norman Conquest, 25 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories) (Paperback)
Matthew Bennett has written a very informative account of the events leading up to Hastings and the aftermath of the subjugation on England. This was a period of history I was keen to learn more of and this book has certainly fulfilled that. It is well written with an engaging style and is superbly well illustrated with maps and many reconstructions from the life and times of the period. The book brings to life the personality of Duke William and many other leading figures of church and state are well portrayed. My only criticism is the glossary is very short, for example I was keen to know more on the definition of a "burgess", but this was missing. Nevertheless a highly readable book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well balanced and highly informative, 10 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories) (Paperback)
One of the finest osprey I have bought until now.

One of the reason why I bought this book is that it includes post-Hastings campaigns which are not always well treated in available litterature. Most of the time, books on the subject stops at the Battle or very quickly deal with the last bit of the conquest.

Being from Normandy, I enjoyed that the author did not take sides as it is common in these type of books on the subject. Quite often, authors lean on one side not perhaps because of pure chauvinism but to please their readers.

The big plus of the book are the maps, the beautiful "Bayeux Tapestry" reproductions, the biographies, plates, etc.
The structure is quite different from the usual linear chronological Osprey series and that worked for me here.

In conclusion a very good book for amateur historian or for people who have the slightest interest in medieval history and the conquest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stuffed with hard to find details, 9 Sept. 2013
By 
J. M. Hockey "(OFW)" (Nature Coast, FL, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories) (Paperback)
I rated this book highly because out of my library of books around and about the period after 1066 it has for me the most useful information.

I have just completed my third novel Edith Fair as a Swan set at the end of the dark ages and dealing with the escape of Edith Swaneschals and the English resistance.

This slim book not only covers the campaigns that the Normans had to fight to secure their hold on England but does this with some precision including dates hard to find in larger books. It also deals in some detail in presenting the various possible scenarios resulting in the fall of Ely and the defeat of Hereward et al. Such a small book but packed with useful maps and data.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Dec. 2014
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A short but very informative study of what happened around the Conquest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 July 2014
By 
Iida Hiro "hi" (Kawasakishi, Kanagawaken Japan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories) (Paperback)
Appreciate for your good handling.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 9 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories) (Paperback)
This book is lavishly illustrated and brimming with fascinating details. It's easily the best book (out of the 10 or so books) I have on the Normans.
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Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories)
Campaigns of the Norman Conquest (Essential Histories) by Matthew Bennett (Paperback - 21 Nov. 2001)
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