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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
In Search Of The Dark Ages
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£7.48+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 1 April 2017
I often thought about this period of time and how little I knew about it.
Thanks to this excellent book I may have some answers when my three children ask about the "time before the castles" appeared.
6 people found this helpful
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on 12 October 2014
This is a very readable and entertaining overview of "Dark Age" Britain (concentrating almost exclusively on what is now England) through the stories of the main protagonists of the period. Starting with Boudica and ending with William the Conqueror, neither of whom are strictly Dark Age people, the book charts the development of England through the fall of the Roman Empire, the Anglo-Saxon invasion, the Viking era and eventual unification under the house of Wessex, culminating in the Norman Conquest in the years after the Battle of Hastings.

In telling the story of the major characters, we also get the bigger picture filled in and so many more characters are brought to life in the narrative. I would have liked a bit more detail on figures like King Edgar and the Northern Kings such as Oswald, but this is a good starting point.

Understandably, the story becomes more detailed as the centuries go on and the sources become more numerous, but I enjoyed the speculation and discussion of the sources around the earlier Kings such as the elusive Arthur and King Offa and the identity of the person buried (or perhaps merely honoured) at Sutton Hoo.

The book is very easy to read in a few sessions and mainly feels up to date, although there are a few references to 'the third word' which show that it was originally written a few decades ago, as does 'outdated' spelling such as Boadicea (which is explained) and Canute (which isn't). I would certainly recommend it to anybody who wants to start to learn the history of pre-Conquest England or wants to try to understand a bit more about the Anglo-Saxon or Viking periods, and it's made me keen to get out and walk along Offa's Dyke again as well as visit Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard amongst other historic attractions.
6 people found this helpful
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on 21 April 2018
There aren't many books about the post-Roman, pre-Anglo Saxon period of British history. This is probably the best one you can find. It offers a good general overview and introduction going into more detail in certain parts where it's possible to do so. But otherwise as the archaeological evidence is still minimal there is a lot of guesswork. There is a good study of Sutton Hoo and who that man might have been and whether there was once a body there, and also a good look at the Arthurian mythology. This book suggests Arthur was neither Welsh nor from Glastonbury and actually came from Cumbria up near Hadrian's Wall and was just a celebrated warlord rather than a King. We'll never know!
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on 19 June 2017
This is a vividly written account of pre-Norman Britain which I thoroughly recommend. Having been captivated by the TV series The Last Kingdom I wanted to find out more about the uneasy relationship between Anglo Saxons and Danes, and what it must have been like to live in Alfred's time. This book spans a much greater period and provides an excellent context.

I read it on my Kindle, and the only criticism is that the illustrations are not incorporated into the text. There are a few at the end but the book could be richly illustrated. Maps would be very useful to include too.
3 people found this helpful
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on 25 September 2017
As a historical newcomer with a fantastical preconception of the Dark Ages, this book made for an insightful and colourful introduction. It left me educated and yearning for more.

I recommend to all those who are looking for an overview of key persons and events in the enlightening period.
3 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 21 May 2013
I am a Michael Wood fan and watched the TV series avidly when it came out in the late 70s/early 80s. I've had various paperback editions over the years, but not this - so I finally got around to it. There is a revised editon in print - which largely differs by having an afterword and an updated bibliography, but I wanted the first edition.

As many others have said over the years, this TV series set the standard for how to make history exciting and accessible, without once dumbing it down. I just wish he'd actually got around to writing his biography of Athelstan!

As for the product, it shows its age, but was accurately described and I would buy from this seller again.
5 people found this helpful
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on 27 April 2017
Another excellent book by Michael Wood. Highly recommended.
3 people found this helpful
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on 10 February 2016
Having watched The Last Kingdom, I wanted to find out more about this period of history. In Search of the Dark Ages is a well researched, informative overview of the period 793 to the consolidation of the Norman Conquest. The narrative gives a flowing account with sufficient, but not too much detail to keep the story interesting. A thoroughly enjoyable read, it entertains and educates. What more could one ask.
2 people found this helpful
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on 28 February 2018
Arrived Tuesday evening 27022018.
Have yet to really start reading it,plenty other books
to get through.
Had a quick look through,looking good.
UK history ,is so exciting,especially that between 410 AD
and 1066 AD.
Will enjoy it,I,m certain of that.
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on 4 August 2015
An examination of an area of little understood or recorded history - which is why it is called the Dark Ages. This was a time of major changes in the fate of Britain and Michael Wood draws together many threads of the story and explains how they relate to each other from the Iron Age inhabitants of Britain through the Romans, Anglo Saxons, Vikings and Normans.
One person found this helpful
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