Battle of Hastings 1066 (Battles & Campaigns) Hardcover – 1 Oct 2003
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"Blows away mary fundamental assumptions about the Battle of Hastings ... an exciting and indispensable read"
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It contains a decent amount of souce analysis, though the evidence it produces is more or less the same as 50 years ago, and we can't get any new insight about the medieval chroniclers who decided to describe (for what purpose? This should be the question we ask the medieval sources) the famous battle.
Therefore, the author doesn't offer any new explanation about the many differences we find in contemporary sources, trying to demonstrate with very little evidence that some chroniclers and poets (notably William of Poitiers and Guy of Amiens) had better information than others, and thus labelling as "biased" and putting aside the anglosaxon and the later anglo-norman authors.
Some "new" information come from the Bayeux tapestry, mainly regarding the famous incident of Harold's death, which the author - correctly- doubts it was caused by an arrow. Yet, there is no discussion about the motives which led many anglo-norman writers to promote the idea that an arrow killed Harold: why? If we don't ask this to the sources, we can't understand why they were written, let alone understand the very Battle of Hastings, the Middle Ages and History in general.
The main fact this book doesn't explore is that many sources lie knowingly; and if the sources lie, we must understand why and what use can we make of them. Instead, like so many books of this kind do, this book too focuses on the mirage of distilling some final "Truth" from the many versions we have, without even questioning what can we obtain from sources we are not sure to be telling some "truth".
In brief, this book is a very useful catalogue of sources and materials to start new researchs on the battle of Hastings. Also, it can be interesting at a divulgative level, but nothing more.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book rested basically on the author's own interpretation of the campaign but it appears to be well researched and well written material. The main source of the battle, the Bayeux Tapestry gets an indepth look and it may be that it didn't get all the facts right.
Interesting book, well recommended for anyone who got any interest in mediveal warfare or English history in general. For anyone out there who got a great interest in the battle itself, this would be a "must read" material.