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Robin Hood (Paperback)

The Life and Legend of An Outlaw

British History P&S History Victorian Era 20th Century Biographies 18th Century 16th Century 15th Century

By Stephen Basdeo
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 174
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526757586
Published: 6th November 2019
Last Released: 26th July 2022


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Robin Hood is a national English icon. He is portrayed as a noble robber, who, along with his band of merry men, is said to have stolen from the rich and given to the poor. His story has been reimagined many times throughout the centuries. Readers will be introduced to some of the candidates who are thought to have been the real Robin Hood, before journeying into the fifteenth century and learning about the various ‘rymes of Robyn Hode’ that were in existence. This book then shows how Robin Hood was first cast as an earl in the sixteenth century, before discussing his portrayals as a brutish criminal in the eighteenth century. Then learn how Robin Hood became the epitome of an English gentleman in the Victorian era, before examining how he became an Americanised, populist hero fit for the silver screen during the twentieth century. Thus, this book will take readers on a journey through 800 years of English cultural and literary history by examining how the legend of Robin Hood has developed over time.

Stephen Basdeo cuts through centuries of conflicting versions of the legend in Robin Hood: The Life & Legend of an Outlaw. The book -- concisely, but with a great deal of detail -- examines the earliest records of the Robin Hood tale, discusses the similarities and differences among disparate renditions of his story and explores the many ways in which Robin Hood's legend evolved through the years.

I learned a lot about the legend that I didn't know before -- and there are books and movies out there that I never knew existed and now have to find. Good job, Stephen -- this is a truly valuable addition to my Robin Hood library.


Here we learn not only about a national hero but also about our rich heritage of literature and while not particularly easy to read, this really is a worthwhile book, rich in facts and nicely illustrated.

If you are interested in literature, history and legends, this book is for you.

Yorkshire Gazette and Herald, 22nd January 2020 - reviewed by Bill Spence

As featured on Radio Out There

Radio Out There

The great power of entertainment of his stories remains that thanks to this book can be traced and appreciated in its origin and evolution.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

The author does a wonderful job of showing how a legend is shaped over centuries. Recommended.

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The Miniatures Page

This was such a fun and insightful book to read. Basdeo is able to combine the history of each century with how that changed the Robin Hood narrative and a light, readable writing style. This book feels like you are having a casual conversation with Basdeo about Robin Hood, Maid Marian, the merry men, and the numerous opponents Robin fought. If you want a book that gives great insight into the legend of Robin Hood and how it came to be, I highly recommend you read, “Robin Hood: The Life and Legend of an Outlaw” by Stephen Basdeo.

Read the full review here

Adventures of a Tudor Nerd

This was an interesting insight into the mystery and myth which surrounds the man. The quantity of material that mentions Robin Hood was impressive. However, as the author goes on to make clear, it is hard to determine what is fact and what is fiction. It was interesting to see how the story around Robin Hood changed through different periods of history, as it reflected political and social fashions.

As with most non-fiction I found certain parts more interesting than others. The book has a section filled with reprints of many illustrations that surround Robin, which was an added delight and a break from the narrative that I appreciated. Overall, if you have an interest in the man known as Robin Hood, it is definitely worth a read.

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Rosie Amber, Blogger

An impressively researched, exceptionally well written, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Robin Hood: The Life and Legend of an Outlaw" is an extraordinary combination of biography and cultural history. An inherently fascinating and informative read from beginning to end.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

As featured by

Village Link, July/August 2019

Author interview with Bold Outlaw

Bold Outlaw

About Stephen Basdeo

Stephen Basdeo is Assistant Professor of History at Richmond: The American International University. He has spent over a decade researching the life and work of G.W.M. Reynolds and is the author of several academic papers examining Reynolds’s novels. He has also published several books and academic papers relating to the works of other Victorian popular fiction authors.

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