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1. Hastings (Great Battles)
2. William the Conqueror and the
3. The Battle of Hastings: The Fall
4. Battle for the Falklands (Pan
5. The Battle of Hastings 1066
6. Secrets of the Norman Invasion:
7. The Enigma of Hastings
8. The Norman Conquest: A Very Short
9. 1066: The Crown, the Comet and
10. A Needle in the Right Hand of
11. 1066: The Year of the Conquest
12. The Death of Anglo-Saxon England

1. Hastings (Great Battles)
by Peter Poyntz Wright
Paperback: 164 Pages (2006-03-28)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$6.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0753819945
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A highly readable narrative of one of the most crucial clashes in British history: the encounter between England’s Harold the Second and Duke William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. At stake was the British crown itself: it was the last time the country was successfully conquered by a foreign power…and the outcome determined England's future. Here is a meticulous and illuminating analysis of this closely-fought battle, with an examination of the underlying causes of the struggle, as well as a look at the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. A graphic, blow-by-blow account of the fighting completes the study.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings theBayeux Tapestry into your own front room.
This tale of the battle is given from Harold's side and well researched.The book has big detailed pictures of the Bayeux Tapestry,with full page explanations of the scenes,backed with historical research.This includes weaponry,personalities,and tactics as well as incidents of the campaign that bring the tapestry to life. I was amazed at how accurate the tapestry is,it isn't just folklore.From the read it seems as though William had developed some new battlefield tactics employing cavalry and archery as well as the shield wall which was common to both sides.Harold held to the shield wall and had just fought 2 battles previously a month before which depleted him.Despite this he stiil gave William a tough ride.William succesfully employed some psychological tactics that forced Harold to come to battle before he had recovered from his 2 previous ones.Lots of illustrations and a few maps.

4-0 out of 5 stars Definately worth a read...
A lot has been written about the year 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, and what makes it worth the time to read these accounts is that none of them are exactly alike.

Most accounts write about the comet that appeared in 1066.Most accounts talk about the fact that William's invasion had Papel blessing and was almost like a Crusade.Most accounts draw information based on the Bayeux Tapestry.Yet each author comes away with a different take on what really happened.

Many authors question why, after being so agressive at Stamford Bridge, King Harold was so defensive at Hastings. Howarth: 1066 Year of the Conquest would have you believe that Harold acted the way he did after seeing the Papal Banner flown amongst William's troops.Wright, while mentioning the Papal Banner, minimizes its significance, and instead insists that Haraold's decisions were fundamentally sound.Wright admits that other authors question Harold's decision not to counterattack after William's first attack failed, but says that to do so would not have worked since he would have been sending men, on foot, weighed down by armour, to attack men on horses.Wright claims that to do so would have been illogocal.

Wright also shed's light on why Harold waged a battle so soon, instead of waiting for more reinforcements, by stating that William forced Harold's hand by waging a war of terror against Harold's people in the country side.This forced Harold to fight before his army was ready.

As with all accounts of the battle, Wright admits that it is almost impossible to tell when, how and by whom Harold was killed. He does shed some light on how the story that Harold was shot in the eye came about, but as with every other author cannot say for certain what transpired.

One flaw with the book was Wright's propensity to say the same thing over and over. Other then that, the book was well written and a fast read, but reader beware, as with all accounts of Hastings, some of this is the Author's conclusions and may not be exactly how or why things took place...I would recommend reading this account, as well as Howarth's and then making up your own mind..

5-0 out of 5 stars Copiously documented history
Wright takes a hard look at the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings.He specifically looks at what led to the enthronment of Harold after Edward the Confessor's demise.Hints at what William's cunning feudal administration skills.

Very specific detail into the actually events surrounding the Battle of Hastings.Pictures and Ordnance Survey map references so you can walk the battlefield in order. ... Read more

2. William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings (Pitkin Guides)
by Michael St.John Parker
Paperback: 32 Pages (1996-04)
-- used & new: US$12.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0853727449
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This revised title presents the events of 1066, the most memorable date in British history. This guide tells the complete story of the Norman Conquest, from William's claim to the throne to the impact of the Normans on Britain's culture and landscape. It includes illustrations from the Bayeux tapestry and a diagram of the armies and their struggles. ... Read more

3. The Battle of Hastings: The Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
by Harriet Harvey Wood
Paperback: 240 Pages (2009-06)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$10.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1843548089
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The date of the battle of Hastings - 14 October, 1066 - is probably the most famous in English history. This book brings to life the world of Harold the King and Duke William in a compelling narrative history that reads as vividly as reportage. Harriet Harvey Wood's original and fascinating book shows that, rather than bringing culture and enlightenment to England, the Normans' aggressive and illegal invasion destroyed a long-established and highly-developed civilization which was far ahead of other European peoples in its political institutions, art and literature. It explores the background and lead-up to the invasion and the motives of the leading players, the state of warfare in England and Normandy in 1066, and the battle itself. By all the laws of probability, King Harold ought to have won the battle of Hastings without difficulty and to have enjoyed a peaceful and enlightened reign. That he did not was largely a matter of sheer bad luck. The result could just as easily have gone the other way. This gripping and highly-readable book shows how he came to be defeated, and what England lost as a result of his defeat and death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
Like many others, I became fascinated with the story of the Battle of Hastings upon reading David Howarth's book "1066 The Year of the Conquest." I gave this new book a try because I had heard that the author gave a fair appraisal of the battle from the English point of view and I can say that she did not disappoint. History is almost always written by the victors and Howarth's book as well as many other accounts of the battle recount William as a great and majestic leader and Harold as a clueless oaf. I, for one, am sympathetic to Harold's story and was fascinated to read a book that showed him to be a great leader who had a little bit too much adversity to overcome in a short span of time. Ms Wood also takes great pains to not report apocryphal accounts as fact, something that Mr. Howarth didn't take the time to do. Some may find it tedious to read an account and then find out it is probably hogwash, but I found the honesty to be refreshing. To anyone approaching the topic for the first time I would still read Mr. Howarth's book first, but by all means you should read Ms. Wood's book second. It was very well done.

5-0 out of 5 stars not your typical 1066 history
I only just started Wood's account of 1066 and I have to admit all versions pale next to what was written some decades ago by David Howarth, but Wood is a feisty author and intent on holding her own; enough that I've been sticking with her despite of my own preconceptions! Her writing style pivots between an easy familiarity to admittedly academic level lecture-speak. But don't let that put you off, she has a wonderful sense of moment and humor and truly advocates that a highly evolved culture existed in England before the Normans; one that was virtually crushed or snuffed out of existence once William and his (oh let's call them mercenaries) warriors came and decided to stay. But for what appears to be sheer dumb luck one wonders what Europe and Anglo-Saxon England would have been like had William's boats been blown off course, or had confronted Harold only after Harold had recovered from his earlier battle. No Plantagenets? That boggles my mind and since I am obsessive about the Plantagenets this strikes me to the quick. Grab this book, give her voice a full throat, she makes a long overdue case for the "dark ages" before the Norman Conquest!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Thugs on Horseback" - Great Book, well written, concise and opinionated
This is a concise, well written book that explains, from an Anglo-Saxon point of view, all that was lost in England, Europe and perhaps the world with the Norman invasion of England.As some may know, official U.K. tourist organizations express the view that "real" English history begins with the Norman invasion and they couldn't be more wrong.Harrier Harvey Wood neatly explains why.Her prose is easy, not too scholarly and she expresses her strong opinions with facts.It's easily accessible to anyone beginning to study the Anglo-Saxon culture.

She falters in some of her writing.She should never have mentioned metal shields and some other trivia but it's a good, almost fun book if you don't consider what was lost with the Norman invasion.I also fault her for not using/believing the Carmen de Hastingae - but of all the authors of the events surrounding 1066 I've read, she gets to the main points most directly and succinctly.Each chapter is filled with insight.I enjoyed reading it immensely.Of course this book will likely be remembered for her calling the Normans "Thugs on horseback" but she backs up her points.She emphasizes a lot of what England had before the Normans, for example she examines the rights of women compared to the two cultures. Some basic Anglo-Saxon rights weren't given back to the English people until the 19th century!This surprised me a lot.One is right to believe, after reading this book, that had the Saxons stayed in power and been able to overcome the inevitably bad rulers, there may not have been the need for the Magna Carta - the Saxons already had basic rights.Also one can envision the enmity between England and Ireland could have been avoided.Things we'll never know but Ms. Wood allows one to see that.

I'd say there probably isn't a lot of new scholarship in this book but her perspective is refreshing.With an ever growing appreciation of the Anglo-Saxon culture and with new archeological finds that show the Normans were not close the being in the Saxons class as far as actual culture goes.Ms. Wood has made an excellent contribution to this subject. ... Read more

4. Battle for the Falklands (Pan Military Classics)
by Simon Jenkins, Max, Sir Hastings
Paperback: 460 Pages (2010-05)
-- used & new: US$12.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 033051363X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Falklands War was one of the strangest in British history - 28,000 men sent to fight for a tiny relic of empire 8,000 miles from home. At the time, many Britons saw it as a tragic absurdity, but the British victory confirmed the quality of British arms and boosted the political fortunes of the Conservative government. But it left a chequered aftermath; it was of no wider significance for British interests and taught no lessons. It has since been overshadowed by the two Gulf Wars, however, its political ramifications cannot be overestimated. Max Hastings' and Simon Jenkins' account of the conflict is a modern classic of war reportage and the definitive book on the war. Republished as part of the "Pan Military Classics series", "The Battle for the Falklands" is a vivid chronicle of a call to arms and a thoughtful and informed analysis of an astonishing chapter in the history of our times. 'Skilfully woven with Simon Jenkins' sharp political passages are Max Hastings' wonderful dispatches' - "Sunday Times". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Engaging account of every aspect
Engaging and complete is the less I can say about this book. The authors tell the story of British side of events, from a brief description of the history of the island, the Argentine occupation by force and the following diplomatic offensive -- to the preparation, deployment and succesive war either by sea and land. The book is full of interestings facts, like the logistics problems of the British, the submarine warfare and the difficult task that it was to deal with air and missile attacks (exocets). Here you see the importance of aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, artillery fire, good radar systems, ground-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles and no less important, a good prefessional army.
The Argentine Junta gambled and they lost, and they lost big since this totally diminished any bargaining position. There is no such thing as share sovereignity, and to finish the war was the best thing to do by the British. There was a cost of lives, we could not see much about the sufferings in combat, we just could see how the Argentine airplanes made brave incursions on the British ships and we can only imagine the horrors of this war in both sides. When I saw the images of the Argentine concripts in their trenches, I just felt pity for them -- What on earth the Argentines were thinking, really? Patriotism only is not enough againts an army with tradition and experience. Fortunately, the war was short and no more blood was shed at Port Stanley. For Chile, this was the best outcome indeed for peace and stability reign again in the region. Finally, I consider the Falklands and South Georgia of strategic importance, we might not think this now but you never know what the future can say.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book on the falkland war
this was a great book on the falkland war i would recommend it to any millitarty history buff!

5-0 out of 5 stars A valuable account of a strange and improbable war
Covering the political, diplomatic and military aspects of the Falklands crisis and conflict, the authros produced a nice account of those days of April - June 1982 tragic events within a very short time from the actual events. The book does not leave any stone unturned regarding the British side, but it somehow poorer about the Argentinians, their strategy, tactics and experiences. There are some good maps included and also some b&w photos. The strong point of the book is the description of the decision making processes, the sketches of the personalities involved and the many misjudgements and misunderstandings that bothered both sides, while embarking on an improbable war. Recommended, especially in conjunction with Martin Middlebrook's excellent book "The Fight for the Malvinas" as a balance from the Argentinian side.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitive history of the Falklands War
Sir Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins have written a masterpiece in "Battle for the Falklands".In a single volume, between the two authors they provide a comprehensive look at the diplomatic efforts and an unparalleled record of the events on the ground.

Almost 30 years later, what lessons does the Battle for the Falklands have for the world?The lessons from "Aftermath" contain lessons learned that are still very applicable today.There is an oft quoted maxim in the US Military that "Amateurs talk about strategy, dilettantes talk about tactics, and professionals talk about logistics."The Falklands battle only serves to reemphasize that lesson.The Argentine soldiers had stockpiles of materiel in the towns that never made it out to the field.The British soldiers had to completely redesign their logistics plan when they lost a significant portion of their helicopter fleet when the Atlantic Conveyor sank.

After two major American wars with instantaneous reporting from embedded reporters, the world does not have the patience to wait two weeks for news from the front.More importantly, there are lessons here for releasing information to the media.In the battle for Goose Green, the defenders heard media reports that the British were ready to attack.Until that moment in time, the defenders had no idea the British were even in the area.

From a battle study perspective, the book contains all the important elements - the strategic context for the battle, the sequence of events, and the units involved.It also contains the most important element - that of the personal histories of the men involved in the fighting.

The only perspective missing is that of the defenders.Considering the nation was run by a military junta whose only goal was to stay in power, we will probably never see the opposing side of the war.Overall, it's a fantastic book that would do justice to any military historian's library.

5-0 out of 5 stars A special war
The Falklands war was one of the most peculiar wars of the 20th century.
Argentine`s Galtierei was a gambler who lost against the determined Mrs Thatcher and her "crew". But today he would perhaps have got away with it.

The authors have described the development of the conflict very thorougly,
with interesting descriptions of the considerations on both sides, and of the battles. Exciting subject - well written!
... Read more

5. The Battle of Hastings 1066
by M. K. Lawson
Paperback: 272 Pages (2002-11)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0752419986
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A radical re–examination of the most famous English battle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, refreshing detail look
I found Lawson's book to be quite interesting and refreshing. Its a whole new look at Battle of Hasting. The author does this by reassessing all the sources of the battle including the Bayeux Tapestry, previous books written on the battle and by drawing his own conclusion based on what he have learned. In doing this, the author have determined that perhaps, the armies were larger then initially believed, Norman cavalry may not have play that much of a role in the battle and King Harold probably didn't died from an arrow in his eye. There are more of course but it would be easier if you read the book yourself.

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. ... Read more

6. Secrets of the Norman Invasion: Discovery of the New Norman Invasion and Battle of Hastings Site
by Nick Austin
 Paperback: 250 Pages (2010-10-14)

Isbn: 0954480139
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7. The Enigma of Hastings
by Edwin Tetlow
Paperback: 256 Pages (2008-06-16)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$15.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594160643
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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What We Can and Cannot Know About One of the Most Important Battles in World History

"A straightforward and detailed narrative of the chief events of 1066 . . . based on wide reading and accurate reporting." --Times Literary Supplement

Despite its pivotal role in the history of England and the world, the Battle of Hastings is known only through the famous Bayeux Tapestry and accounts written long after the fact, with all but one from the quills of historians of the victorious Normans. The ground where the battle was fought has never yielded a single artifact, not one scrap of metal, not one bone. Over the centuries, the popular version of the battle has become part of received history: William the Conqueror leads his cavalry in a feigned flight, drawing King Harold's levies into an arrow storm where Harold is fatally struck in the eye and the Anglo-Saxon army collapses around him. But, as Edwin Tetlow first asked in his acclaimed history, The Enigma of Hastings, how could Harold Godwinson and his army have fallen prey to the Norman trap? Harold was by all means a careful and skillful tactician. Only days before Hastings, he had decisively defeated his brother and his Viking allies at Stamford Bridge 250 miles away, and then led his troops back to face the Normans in one of the most remarkable marches in history. Approaching the subject as a war correspondent and seeking balance to the Norman histories, Tetlow has gone back to every account, walked the battlefields, studied known contemporary artifacts and archaeological reports, and examined existing records of personalities surrounding the battle. The result is one of the most thorough and readable books on the events of 1066 that changed the course of history. Originally published in 1972, this new edition has been completely retypeset and has newly commissioned maps. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
I found this to be a most disappointing treatment of one of the pivotal battles in world history. Mr. Tetlow approaches his subject with an obvious bias against the Normans and William, and it seems to color the entire work. He makes numerous comparisons between William and Hitler which are both unfair and contextually problematical.

His treatment of the source material is extremely uneven and embarrassingly biased in favor of his points; at one point in the book William of Poitiers is deemed an extremely unreliable Norman shill when his works are favorably disposed towards the Normans, and in other places he is cited as a reputable observer when his words can be made to work against the Norman cause. When it comes to the physical topography of the battle site, he goes out of his way to mention the changes in the coastline over the intervening thousand years or so, but then pretends that modern topographical features such as particular ponds or small hillocks could have been present in the year of the battle. He most definitely lets his imagination run away with the facts, invariably to work towards his own bias.

Too, Mr. Tetlow's facts are sometimes strikingly flat-out wrong. He states that the Normans spoke a language called "Romance", which in fact is not a language but a group of languages, and at one point mentions (in yet another of his long-reaching comparisons between the Normans and Nazi Germany) that the Germans were driven out of France in 1945.

Finally, it should be pointed out that this particular edition (and it is a reprint of the 1974 edition) lacks proper editing. It is painfully obvious that the present publishers simply took a 1974 copy, scanned it, and failed to do the most elementary proofreading of the subsequent text. There are an average of one such glaring error every three pages, where it is painfully obvious that a mechanical scanner either conflated letters and punctuation or misread a letter altogether. Very sloppy.

The material in the book on the historical background of the battle is interesting enough, but is unfortunately marred by the author's bias, his lack of attention to elementary details of historical fact, and the unfortunate laziness of the present publisher when it came to transcribing the original work.

For those interested in some of the "behind the scenes history" of Hastings, I would much more highly recommend 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry by Andrew Bridgeford. That author, while possessed of a unique hypothesis regarding the most famous source material for Hastings, doesn't play as fast and loose with either his facts or his personal biases.

5-0 out of 5 stars Discerning Fact From Fiction Regarding The Battle of Hastings
This book attempts to get beyond the legends and what everyone knows about the battle.It delivers a description of the times and what else was going on in the world.The author provides a small biography of the major (and minor) players including what brought them to that battlefield.He recognizes that alot of what is known(?) about the battle comes from the Bayeaux tapestry which is obviously a piece of propoganda which the Normans used to tell their version of the story.

The author does a very good job changing the viewpoint he is using depending on who he is talking about.There were three claimants to the throne of England in 1066 and several important battles including Hastings which decided the matter.He builds the background very well describing how Duke William had difficulty getting his army across the English Channel and Harold was fighting the Battle of Standford Bridge in the North so he could not be near the south of England when the landings did take place.

I would recommend this book to those interested in the time period along with anyone interested in how historians can determine truth from fable on a history with little unbiased information available.The author does a very good job of finding obscure and seemingly unrelated records which back up some claims and dispute others that have been made.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Gem Should Be A Classic
Other books tend to get better publicity regarding the events of 1066 in England but few are as good as this one.Most books detailing events of 1066 tend to make conclusions about the different personalities motives that defy common sense and often leave the reader more frustrated than enlightened.Tetlow's, on the other hand enlightens the casual reader and scholar.This book has good prose, great information and excellent conclusions from intelligent reasoning.Tetlow is one of the few writers to clearly explain the affect the geography of the land had on the different battles and is convincing in his arguments.

Tetlow also lets you know what level of certainty modern researchers can use various sources.Certainly modern writers can't know with certainty what motivated each of the main individuals in this important period of history but Tetlow does a good job of trying.He makes the wise decision to not impose 20th century values on 11th century people, and he neatly interprets ancient values so the modern reader can understand what went on and why.

I've read more than 20 books on the subject and if I were going to read just one book on the events of 1066 then this is the one.It's a great unappreciated book. ... Read more

8. The Norman Conquest: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by George Garnett
Paperback: 144 Pages (2010-01-04)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$6.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0192801619
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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The Norman Conquest in 1066 was one of the most profound turning points in English history, dramatically transforming a disparate collection of small nations into a powerful European state. But what actually happened? How was the invasion viewed by those who witnessed it? And how has its legacy been seen by generations since? In this fascinating Very Short Introduction, George Garnett--a leading expert on the Norman Conquest and its aftermath--reveals how dramatically English life was changed, transforming everything from its language to its law, and introducing a more sophisticated form of government as well as an enduring and intense dislike of the French. He sheds light on the differing ways the conquest has been viewed by historians and in folklore over nearly a millennium, revealing how much of what we understand today about the Norman Conquest was colored by the values of the Victorian Age, and showing how historians have pieced together the events of 1066, including the invasion by William the Conqueror and its climactic moment at the Battle of Hastings. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Norman History X
The Norman Conquest is probably one of the most significant and momentous events in English history. It has reshaped all of the English society at of the time - from the daily life, over the architecture to the form of English language itself. For instance, it is probably the single most important reason why there are more words in English language that are of Romance rather than of Germanic origin, even though English is considered a Germanic language. Any way you look at it impact of the Norman Conquest is hard to underestimate. And since I consider myself a bit of a history buff, I expected to learn a lot of interesting information from this very short introduction. Unfortunately, my expectations have been largely disappointed.

Any history book that begins by taking cheap shots at current military or political developments starts off on a wrong foot. It is bound to alienate some of its readers, and project our own standards and values onto historical circumstances that have very little to do with how people of some bygone era perceived their world. Fortunately, this attitude turns out to be largely confined to the opening paragraphs, although some of it resonates throughout the book.

My main gripe with this book is that it lacks any clear sense of chronology, and all of the main actors in the conquest are introduced ad-hoc and without much attention to their personal or historical traits. The author seems to be over scrupulous when it comes to analyzing primary historical documents and sources, and tries to bend backwards in trying not to read more out of any particular source than it is absolutely warranted. This might be fine for scholarly works where making too many wild claims is not very professionally responsible, but it fails miserably as book intended for general audience. In essence, this very short introduction fails to tell a simple and straightforward story. Reading it is a bit of a chore and unfortunately falls far short of what a good history book should be like. ... Read more

9. 1066: The Crown, the Comet and the Conqueror
by David Hobbs
Paperback: 10 Pages (1996-01-01)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 1850746265
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This English Heritage guide to the Battle of Hastings is simply written to enable children to understand why it happened, where Normans and Saxons stood and fought, and the consequences of Duke William's victory. ... Read more

10. A Needle in the Right Hand of God: The Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Making and Meaning of the Bayeux Tapestry
by R. Howard Bloch
Audio CD: Pages (2007-02-01)
list price: US$59.99 -- used & new: US$40.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400133718
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Yale professor R. Howard Bloch reveals the history, the hidden meaning, the deep beauty, and the enduring allure of the Bayeux Tapestry, the world's most famous textile.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good story, but not enough pictures to help
The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the few artifacts that is truly unique. Measuring 230 feet long and only 20 or so inches high, it was designed to commemorate the Battle of Hastings. It depicts the death of King Edward the Confessor, the coronation of King Harold and then the invasion of William of Normandy who became known as the Conqueror.

I had high hopes for this book, but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for. It was strongest when it stuck to the story of the tapestry itself. I was fascinated to learn that the tapestry has been used as a symbol by everyone from the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans, the French, the English, and even the Nazis. It was captured by the Nazis after their invasion of France, but recaptured by the Allies. It was also interesting to learn about how the tapestry was made. There was a great chapter about the fabric itself, the stitchwork, the manufacture, and the design.

Where it lost me was in the subsequent chapters, which speculated about the influence of different cultures on the tapestry. From the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans, the Scandinavians, and even the Arabs, the author tried to trace their impact on the work. It was a cool idea, but hardly conclusive, and it went on much too long. In fact, the style made it hard to read in places. The writer used these long, involved sentences that I had to reread to find the verb in all those clauses.

Last year I really enjoyed 1066: The Year of the Conquest by David Howarth. He referred often to the Bayeux Tapestry, and I realized I had no idea what it looked like. Bloch's book did have color pictures of the tapestry, but it was too small to really enjoy the detail. So when the author would refer to the stitchwork or the little animals embroidered in the border, I couldn't really see what he was talking about.

Overall, I would recommend this to those really interested in the subject, but if there is another book out there on the subject I'd give that one a try first.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I'm only 1/3rd of the way through the book so far, but Mr. Bloch is presenting many unexpected threads and drawing them all towards the Bayeaux Tapestry. Interesting. I'm waiting for the CD-ROM I ordered to arrive so I can examine the plates as I read.

1-0 out of 5 stars A waste of a perfectly good title
This book was a huge disappointment. I listened to this on CD.The title is wonderful but the book is really boring.It's too didactic, full of blindingly dull details, and they go on and on.

The tapestry tells a wonderful story, unfortunately, the same can't be said for the author of this book.There must be so much about that time in history that is interesting and would be worth learning about, but all he can do is go on and on about this little detail along the edge and that little detail in the shield, and on and on and on.........

In the CD version, the narrator is just as boring as the story. A really good narrator is a story teller and can make even a marginally good book worth listening to, but, sadly, not in this case.

5-0 out of 5 stars Context for the Bayeux Tapestry
Of all the great historical and artistic sites in the world, the Bayeux Tapestry is perhaps second on my list of places I would like to visit (Troy comes first).Actually not a "tapestry" (it is technically an embroidery) the Bayeux Tapestry, dating from the Eleventh century pictorially tells the story of William the Conqueror's invasion of England and victorious battle at Hastings.Exactly who sponsored its creation, designed it, and embroidered it remain mysteries, as does its ultimate purpose.Bloch's new book does not seek to supply sensational answers to these continuing controversies (as did, for example, Andrew Bridgeford's "1066: The Hidden History of the Bayeux Tapestry"), nor even to solve the perplexing mystery of the identity of the woman "Aelfgyva" who appears in the Tapestry.Instead, Bloch provides a fast-reading discussion of the historical and artistic context for understanding the Tapestry.He concludes that there are many Scandinavian/Norman elements incorporated into the the design (and Scandinavian textiles are the most closely related art works known), but that Anglo-Saxon illuminated manuscripts appear to supply the models for the style of illustration.And the author traces back important design elements to Byzantine silk weavings.

Bloch contends that the Tapestry was consciously created as a way to bring together the Anglo-Saxon and Norman peoples on both sides of the English Channel (although it seems to me that this view is suspiciously congruent with modern notions of multiculturism rather than Eleventh century realities).Regardless whether one accepts or rejects this viewpoint, the book's narrative provides an informative examination of the Norman and Anglo-Saxon worlds which gave birth to this unique artistic treasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive!
Dr Bloch explains the tale of the Tapestry in a very clear and appealing manner.In particular, he describes the sequence of events depicted by the Tapestry itself as well as the political environment of early 11th century Europe that led to the pivotal Battle of Hastings.His insights are cogent and sound.I highly recommend this brief but thorough work. ... Read more

11. 1066: The Year of the Conquest
by David Howarth
Paperback: 208 Pages (1981-08-27)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140058508
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (85)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introductory Book
It's a short an easy read, and I've never been much of a person to read many history books.Is it comprehensive?No.Is it sterile and devoid of judgement by the author?No - it's quiet a vivid portrayal of events from a person as he best saw it.But his opinions are clearly distinguished from the facts, and they add much depth to the events.An excellent read, even if you have no idea what this book is about.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Piece of Popular History
Howarth states in his introduction that 1066: The Year of the Conquest is not to be read as a scholarly work, and that he hopes he pleases the scholars who do read it.He simply wishes to create a retelling of the excitements and miseries of that year.He does all of this quite well, painting a very vivid picture of the important events of a fascinating year of English history.

The work does seem somewhat biased, with King Harold portrayed as a victim of fate, thrust into his position rather suddenly, and doing his best to struggle against the never-ending torrents of fate that seem to be tearing him down just as quickly.Briefly described is Duke William's tragic upbringing, passed on from one caretaker to the next in a constant atmosphere of violence and upheaval.Howarth does a good job portraying each of them as real men with faults and passions, doubts and fears, not merely the instruments that shaped history, as much as they were that as well.

This retelling of the events of 1066 is compelling and quite exciting, especially bookended as it is with the first and last chapter describing the state of affairs within a small village (consequently, the author's home) before and after the conquest.An excellent read for anyone wishing to introduce themselves to this era of English history, or for one seeking to gain a bit more insight (as much as Howarth's knowledge of the events and educated guesswork can provide, at least) into the thoughts of the two most influential men of the year.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for any history buff!
This little book (only 201 pages) is a must-read for the history buff. Howarth writes in a marvelously conversational style with none of the pompous, wordy, frustrating pseudo-prose that many historians adopt when writing historical non-fiction.

The result is a very readable, concise look at the Norman Conquest. The players, King Harold of England, William of Normandy, and Harald Hardrada of Norway, are each in their own manner empathetic while the Battle of Hastings is finally presented without all the mumbo-jumbo military strat-egery.

Howarth, who passed away in 1991, was a historian for the average lay person. He wrote several books, including one about Waterloo, each imminently accessible and illuminating to read.

If you'd like to understand the real history behind those fabulous historical novels we all devour, do yourself a favor and pick up a Howarth book. You can read it in an afternoon and walk away a tad bit more edu-ma-cated that when you started.

5-0 out of 5 stars before all theothers on 1066 read this first
Howarth's book has not only held up well over the decades I actually think it improves each time I read it. Along with Alaistair Horne's incredible Price of Glory about Verdun in 1916 I am not sure there is a better "short" history of an event. They remain my high water marks for what history should and could be. Treat yourself to both, Howarth has great charm and writes with an ease as to be almost magical while Horne will knock your socks off- WW1 has been utterly forgotten; read Horne and you will learn why it is a disgrace that we no longer teach history in any depth, from elementary school through college.

4-0 out of 5 stars Royal intrigue at its best
This is royal intrigue at its best: the passing of a king with no heirs (Edward the Confessor), the mysterious coronation of a possible usurper (Harold Godwin), an angry distant cousin with legitimate claims to the throne (William, Duke of Normandy), a failed plot to overthrow and, ultimately, the taking of the throne by force at the Battle of Hastings. In 1066, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy -- a Frenchman -- became King William I of England. David Howarth tells the story in a readable, engaging way. He explores the subtleties of the traditional accounts and reveals nuances of the characters. Howarth offers conjecture about the motives and emotions of the characters. Some might say that he offers too much conjecture. For me, though, this was a valuable part of the book. Seeing his empathy for some characters and dislike of others, helped me to better understand the writer and his message. ... Read more

12. The Death of Anglo-Saxon England
by N. J. Higham
Hardcover: 234 Pages (1997-12)
list price: US$35.95 -- used & new: US$32.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0750908858
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A highly illustrated history of the 100 years before the Battle of Hastings. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)


This book printed in Britain is a well illustrated volume focusing on the endpoint of Anglo-Saxon England. Politics and invasion are central to the question what happened to bring about "the death of anglo-saxon England".

The chapters within this book are as listed below:

The Making and Unmaking of Aethelred the 'Unraed'
Power and Legitimacy: Danish Kingship and its Opponents
Crisis, Mishap and Opportunity: English Kingship 1035-1065
1066: Succession and Crisis
Further Reading

The book is lavishly illustrated with both maps and black and white photographs, with a center section of 8 pages of color photographs. The world of politics, ambition, intrigue of Anglo-Saxon England are well explored in this volume. A true value at present Amazon prices, years back I paid $15.98 for my copy. Well recommended by one who enjoys reading books centered on the events of 1066.

Another volume entitled HAROLD; THE LAST ANGLO-SAXON KING sit side-by-side on my library shelves.Both these books may be of interest to readers who enjoy this period.

Semper Fi. ... Read more

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