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Badon and the Early Wars for Wessex, circa 500 to 710 (Hardback)

Military P&S History > British History P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History

By David Cooper
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 260
Illustrations: 16 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526733573
Published: 3rd July 2018



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David Cooper’s book reappraises the evidence regarding the early battles for Wessex territory. It charts the sequence of battles from the c. AD 500 siege of Badon Hill, in which the Britons defeated the first Saxon attempt to gain a foothold in Wessex territory, to Langport in 710, which consolidated King Ine's position and pushed the Britons westwards. Discussion of the post-Roman British and Germanic factions provides context and background to Badon Hill, which is then covered in detail and disentangled from Arthurian legend. In considering how the opposing commanders are likely to have planned their campaigns, enduring principles of military doctrine and tactics are discussed, using examples from other periods to illustrate how these principles applied in Dark Ages Britain. Going on to follow subsequent campaigns of the West Saxons in southern Britain, a credible assessment is made of how these resulted in the establishment of a viable Wessex kingdom, two centuries after Badon. Grounded in the latest academic and archaeological evidence, David Cooper offers a number of new insights and ideas.

Overall I found this to be an entertaining and thought provoking examination of an obscure period.

Read the full review here

History of War

It is a brave historian who looks for battlefields in the murkiest corner of the so-called Dark Ages.

An interesting read, perhaps inspiring to visit a fascinating hillfort.

The Battlefields Trust

The book is illustrated by many very useful maps to understand the confusing campaigns that characterize the time of the Saxon conquest of Wessex.

VaeVictis, January/February 2019

Grounded in the latest academic and archaeological evidence, David Cooper offers a number of new insights and ideas.

Read the full review here

Books Monthly

I appreciate that this isn’t a book for everyone and certainly isn’t a primer, but it’s an interesting and thought provoking read about one of the great historical mysteries.

Ripperologist, June/July 2018 – reviewed by Paul Begg

As featured 'ON THE BOOKSHELF'

Wargames Illustrated, July 2018

About David Cooper

David Cooper OBE is a retired British Army Lieutenant Colonel with 36 years’ service. He was initially taught military history and doctrine by the Burnham lecturers at Sandhurst and later gained a Masters degree in Defence and International Affairs. In the latter part of his career David instructed young officers in doctrine and tactics and wrote related publications for the British Army. Due to an abiding interest in the period he began to study the Dark Age Wessex campaigns in detail in 2002, and this book is the result.

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