5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
King of the Castle,
By A Customer
This review is from: Castle: A History of the Buildings that Shaped Medieval Britain (Hardcover)
If you've seen the fascinating Channel 4 series of the same name, you'll appreciate Morris's unique ability as a TV academic to present quite complex historical events lucidly, and in an entertaining manner. Fortunately, he writes in just the same way.
As a result this is not a boring, plodding account of 600 years of castle building in Britain. Nor is it merely a coffee table book full of pretty photographs and drawings but lacking in historical content, like so many other books on castles. Morris manages to strike a fine balance between the two extremes.
In this book, and indeed in the series, Morris manages to make what are essentially piles of ruined stone seem exciting places with great stories.
The six chapters in the book mirror the content of the six programmes in the series. So you start with William the Conqueror introducing the motte and bailey castle as a weapon of conquest in 1066 and finish with the English Civil War and the destruction of castles in Britain. Along the way, you see (through excellent photos and illustrations) how 'the castle' evolved over six centuries, both physically and conceptually. Morris's big (and convincing) argument is that castles are not just military fortresses, but comfortable homes with lavish furnishings.
Read this book and you'll not only want to go and visit all the castles featured, but you'll never look at a castle again in quite the same way.
(33 customer reviews)