The Normans: Warrior Knights and their Castles (General Military) Paperback – 10 May 2007
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The Normans - Warrior Knights and their Castles may be the best account of the Normans since the creation of the Bayeux Tapestry. May I recommend the book -- I bet it's much easier to carry around. "Armchair General""
About the Author
Chris Gravett is a former Senior Curator at the Royal Armouries, Tower of London, and a recognised authority on the arms, armour and warfare of the medieval world. He has worked as an advisor for numerous TV and film productions, and has written many books for Osprey, including Warrior 1: 'Norman Knight 950-1204 AD'. He currently works as a curator at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. Born in 1944, David Nicolle worked in the BBC's Arabic service for a number of years before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written numerous books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years.
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Top Customer Reviews
I therefore found this an enlightening look at the Normans, with a heavy emphasis on the Norman Military. It's refreshing for once, to be given a non anglo-centric perspective on the Normans, with information covering the Normans and their wars against the 'Celtic States', their campaigns in Italy, and the important role they played in the Crusades.
The book begins with a brief chronological timeline of the Norman military, covering the wars and battles of these people from AD 911 to 1287. The next section covers the history of the Normans, covering such topics as Feudalism, The Normans in Britain, and the wars in Italy and the Middle East. This section is rather short (covering about 72 pages in all), and is only meant to give you a basic outline of Norman History.
The second section covers the Norman Knight. This looks at the development of arms, armour and equipment, as well as training, logistics, tactics, and the Knight's motivations for fighting.
By far the largest part of the book is taken with describing Norman fortifications and castles. This section covers such topics as design and development, construction and cost, principles of defence, life in the castle, and the castle at war. Interesting subsections in this part of the book gives the reader a tour of castles such as Chateau-Gaillard and Dover Castle. The book ends with an Appendix (which discusses the sights of various Norman museums or castles) as well as a short bibliography for further reading.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Anyone interested in medieval events can hardly side step the Normans, and if interest is at a higher level, this book is a "must have". While the book contains new and added material it was orginally published as separate Osprey softcover books: Elite #9 The Normans, Fortress #13 Norman Stone Castles (1)The British Isles 1066-1216, Fortress #18 Norman Stone Castles (2) Europe 950-1204, and Warrior #1 The Norman Knight AD 950-1204. The 256 pages in this single volume hold many pictures and illustrations, most in color. And at the inception, a wonderful Chronology lists historical information about the Normans beginning in AD 911 through AD 1287.
It may be time for you to discover Osprey Publishing, and there would no better book to do so than this one on the Normans; unless it would be the newly published volume on The Vikings! Good reading.
Gravett's book is essentially a hardcover reissue of several previous Osprey paperbacks about the Normans, reworked into a single coherent volume (which, true to its parents, is particularly strong on the subject of Norman fortifications), retaining the usual lavish Osprey illustrations. Where Osprey paperbacks tend to be quite pricey for their size, this new hardcover is a real bargain.
If you are looking for a true history of the Normans you should look elsewhere. There is some material on the origins and Norman impact on England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Sicily, and the east (Byzantium and the Crusader Kingdoms). However, this is very limited. I enjoyed the book as a complement to historical texts that I have already read or plan to read. The great pictures and visual aids provide something that is missing when reading historical surveys or translated annals. If you found this book interesting and are looking for more on Normans, I would recommend Richard and John: Kings at War, which is an excellent history that covers much of Norman Angevin England history from Henry II to the death of King John, and 1215: The Year of Magna Carta, which explains more about the Norman culture (mostly relating to Norman Angevin England).
What impressed me most is the collection of content from several earlier Osprey titles into a cohesive and expansive whole. With this title, Osprey has truly created a book worthy of being hardbound for libraries and collections. The inclusion of amazing illustrations by artists such as Angus McBride from the Warrior, Men-at-Arms, and Fortifications series gives the reader a unique and clear perspective this period of history and it's people.
If you're interested in medieval history, especially military history, this should be at the top of your list for reference material. A book you'll read cover to cover, and come back to time and again. If you're a living history participant, there is probably no better starting point for research.
If only all history books were this good!
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