Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty slow going, 23 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford History of England) (Paperback)
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!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Aug 2014 17:38:00 BDT
After a few months I went back to the book again and did complete it in the end, but it was hard going at times.
As mentioned before, in my review, the sections on the pre-Norman conquest and the conquest itself were very good, but other sections were very laboured indeed.
After a while I realised that the author's tendency to write in very long paragraphs makes for heavy reading, especially when the names of huge numbers of leaders and minor kings keep flowing off the page.
I suggest any readers skips the very dull section on the church about a quarter of the way through - do this and you might have enough gas to manage to get through the book.
As I said before, it is all there, and the author knew his stuff, but it lacks the colour that modern writers give to the subject of history today - and the book rather shows its age.
It would be good if a modern writer was to take Stenton's text and rewrite it to make it more readable for the modern lay-non academic reader.
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