on 22 December 2010
This is a highly informative and well balanced review of, well, daily life in Anglo-Saxon England. It draws from both historical documents and the latest archaeology to present a coherent account of the period. It tends to be a little weighted towards the end of the period in terms of its information, but that is the nature of the beast - there are fewer sources for the seventh century than there are for the eleventh and none for the 5th and 6th.
Archaeology fills in many of the gaps but still does not shed a light on everything.
I would put this book in the general category rather than the scholarly, largely because the book is unencumbered by foot or end notes, although it does have an excellent bibliography.
The book benefits from being set out bitesize topic based chunks within the main chapters, so it is easy to dip into if you are interested in a particular aspect of Anglo-Saxon life.
on 29 October 2012
This deals with daily life in such depth that it also becomes an excellent survey of Anglo-Saxon economy and society. My only real disappointment (especially at the price I paid) is the shortage of illustrations. The selection is adequate, but only just, and many tend to be dry and archaeological - so you have to visualize a lot of things from the text alone. A book like this would have been the ideal place to collect the best of the great diversity of visual material available: surviving artifacts and architecture, modern reconstructions, and drawings from contemporary Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. All these ARE represented, and some illustrations are brilliantly chosen - but there's just not enough!
Coverage is pretty well rounded, but one area that I thought needed more detail was the section on clothing and textiles. Here the shortage of illustrations showed up very strongly, and I didn't get a strong impression of Anglo-Saxons from head to toe. (And it's important to see them in idealized fashion, as in manuscript drawings, as well as how you might actually meet them.)