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The Norman Conquest by [Morris, Marc]
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The Norman Conquest Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Length: 464 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Product Description


"Almost everything you know about 1066 is wrong. And there’s no better historian to put you right than the wonderful Marc Morris. His new book grips not only as a work of narrative history but also as a sleuthing exercise . . . Morris has captured the triumph and the tragedy of this tumultuous era with verve, insight and a rollicking narrative." (Mail on Sunday)

"Morris gives a compelling account of the invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066 ... Confidently, he opens with the Bayeux Tapestry as a powerful contemporary depiction of a famous battle ... Morris sorts embroidery from evidence and provides a much-needed, modern account of the Normans in England that respects past events more than present ideologies." (Iain Finlayson The Times)

"Marc Morris’s lively new book retells the story of the Norman invasion with vim, vigour and narrative urgency" (Evening Standard)

"As every schoolboy knows, or used to, 1066 is the most important date in English history. But as Marc Morris points out in this enormously enjoyable book, the Norman conquest was much more violent, complicated and ambiguous then we usually think. Carefully steering the reader through the partisan and often contradictory sources, he paints a vivid picture of the collapse of the sophisticated Anglo-Saxon realm, and shows how William the Conqueror relied on sheer terror to establish his reign. Even a Norman chronicler admitted that William had “mercilessly slaughtered” the English, “like the scourge of God smiting them for their sins." (Dominic Sandbrook The Sunday Times, Books of the Year)

"I loved it – a suitably epic account of one of the most seismic and far-reaching events in British history." (Dan Snow)

Book Description

The definitive account for our times of a pivotal moment in English history

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2737 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0070UIEDS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,175 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent account of this most pivotal event in English history, told in a very readable and engaging way, while never sacrificing a proper critical use of the primary sources, drawing on the works of the contemporary or near-contemporary chroniclers from England and Normandy, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle and (of course) the Bayeux Tapestry. In fact it is really a political and military history of the whole eleventh century from the Viking raids on Ethelred's England until the death of the Conqueror in France in 1087. It certainly was a turbulent and extremely colourful period, of which the Norman Conquest and, more specifically, the Battle of Hastings, is undoubtedly the best known event, but which must be understood in the context of its time, with Normandy as a fairly recently emerged duchy, and England having its large Danish influence. The artefacts that are so well known, i.e. the Tapestry and the Domesday Book, are unique survivals of their kind, without which our knowledge of the period would be much poorer. In his introduction, the author laments the paucity of sources for the 11th century compared to those present just two centuries later which he used in his previous book on Edward I, A Great and Terrible King; for example thanks to surviving documents, we know where Edward I was for almost every day of his reign, but very rarely exactly where William was. Paradoxically, I think the fact that so much has to be squeezed out of so few sources makes this book a much smoother read than his book on Edward I; that, and to some extent, my greater familiarity with the detailed course of events. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I find it difficult to imagine there could be a better serious popular history of the Norman Conquest. It is fluently written, long enough to provide a good level of detail, and prepared to discuss many of the controversies and uncertainties of the period without over-burdening the reader. I particularly liked the way the author manages to incorporate discussion of the sources - their strengths and weaknesses are crucial to the story - without allowing this to obstruct a strong narrative flow.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If ever a king reigned with his butt in the saddle and a sword in his hand, it was William the Bastard - The Conqueror.

From the moment he came of age practically 'til the day he died, he moved from one massive fight scene to another to protect and acquire what was his. Using calculated brutality he subdued dissension in his duchy; growing so powerful that the King of France, whose vassal he was, became concerned that he may break out and extend his borders. Making a pact with Geoffrey Martel to destroy William, they tried to over-run his duchy and were repelled. At their final encounter in 1057, at the ford at Varaville, the slaughter was so brutal and conclusive, the terrified french king left william's duchy at top speed never to return again.

Meanwhile, Edward the Confessor decided to leave William the English crown. English politics being what they were, upon Edward's death a certain Harold Godwineson usurped it. Big mistake! Marc Morris attributes Harold's death to direct action by William (not an arrow in the eye) and a few of his most trusted men. By the end of the book I came to the conclusion Morris has it right.

The book is about the Norman Conquest and how it changed England forever, but the nature of William leaps from the pages. Calculatingly violent, religious, a faithful husband, rotten father - love him or loathe him, you could never ignore him, and to cross him after he had offered terms for peace meant your destruction.

If you love reading history, and in particular well written history, you will want this book. No review can do it justice.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Prior to purchasing this book, my knowledge on the Norman Conquest was based purely on what was rammed down my throat at school during the 1980s. My orthodox view of 1066 and beyond has never really been challenged and nor had I any interest in changing my understanding or appreciation. I remember thumbing through this book in Waterstones on a cold April afternoon in 2013 and what piqued my interest in this book was one of the plates showing the Norman castle in my home town of Pickering, North Yorkshire. Next to nothing is known about this castle even locally. I remember that during my "indoctrination" about Norman history at school, Pickering Castle was supposedly a place of internment for Charles I (rather than correctly Richard II according to Arthur Bryant)! Whatever, that one image was enough to me to add this book to my Amazon wish list, and I'm glad I did.

I particularly enjoyed the build up to the Conquest regarding the tangled web of competing Saxon claims to the English throne offset against those made by the Danes under the spectre of frequent invasion from a whole host of European factions. Morris skilfully teases out the causal chain that led to William and Harold Goodwinson both asserting their rights to the crown as promised by Edward the Confessor. The evidence presented tends to support the rather surprising conclusion – to me at least - that Harold was the usurper (again something not taught in school). The Norman invasion, as presented by Morris, also departs from the orthodoxy by rightly suggestion that the victory at Hastings did not immediately yield up the English Kingdom to William. There was far more fighting to be done against a rearguard of proud Englishmen led by the surviving remnants of the Saxon aristocracy.
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