The Battles That Created England 793-1100 (Hardback)
How Alfred and his Successors Defeated the Vikings to Unite the Kingdoms
In popular imagination the warfare of the Early Middle Ages is often obscure, unstructured, and unimaginative, lost between two military machines, the ‘Romans’ and the ‘Normans’, which saw the country invaded and partitioned. In point of fact, we have a considerable amount of information at our fingertips and the picture that should emerge is one of English ability in the face of sometimes overwhelming pressures on society, and a resilience that eventually drew the older kingdoms together in new external responses which united the ‘English’ in a common sense of purpose.
This is the story of how the Saxon kingdoms, which had maintained their independence for generations, were compelled to unite their forces to resist the external threat of the Viking incursions. The kingdoms of East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria, Kent, Essex, Sussex, and Wessex were gradually welded into one as Wessex grew in strength to become the dominant Saxon kingdom.
From the weak Æthelred to the strong Alfred, rightly deserving the epithet ‘Great’, to the strong, but equally unfortunate, Harold, this era witnessed brutal hand-to-hand battles in congested melees, which are normally portrayed as unsophisticated but deadly brawls. In reality, the warriors of the era were experienced fighters often displaying sophisticated strategies and deploying complex tactics.
Our principal source, replete with reasonably reliable reportage, are the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, comprehensive in collation though subject to oral distortion and mythological excursions. The narrative of these does not appear to flow continuously, leaving too much to imagination but, by creating a complementary matrix of landscapes, topography and communications it is possible to provide convincing scenery into which we can fit other archaeological and philological evidence to show how the English nation was formed in the bloody slaughter of battle.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Caroline Palmer
This is a well written nonfiction book that tells the story of the Saxon battles that turned Wessex into England. I like that it draws its information from primary sources.
An excellent book if you looking to get into early military history or if your a student of the subject, you will enjoy this book.The History Fella
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A very well researched historical overview. As a student at school I was a big fan of history and it was my best subject. But I couldn't get into academic history books as they rather intimidated me in their size and depth. This had a highly manageable level of detail whilst providing expertise.NetGalley, Matthew Higgins
A highly enjoyable experience that I learned a lot from.
5 out of 5Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)
It is a superbly researched and thought through book about an Era that has always fascinated me.
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"It is an interesting and enjoyable read."Norfolk Family History Society - 'The Ancestor' magazine
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, April Allison
I quite enjoyed reading this. This is a nice, micro-view of England's Military history. This a good foundational read for anyone interested in English history.
I found it to be an engaging, thought-provoking read. I did have to have Google ready to look up a few maps, terms, and people to better follow along...but that's probably because I'm American, and might knowledge of British history is pretty basic.
I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in Ancient history, English history, or military history.
This is a well researched, in-depth look at all the kings and wars that built England. I have read many books about this era in the last year and it was another great one. Every chapter had footnotes and maps. It was expressed in a way that was easy to follow in the small amount of 225 pages. I would recommend this for new learners and old. This was interesting read that helped me learn more with every chapter.NetGalley, Naomi Sutherland
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Paula Cwikla
A fantastic overview of the events that shaped England into what we now know. This is a compelling, detailed and engrossing collection of the battles the Anglo-saxons had to face against The Great Heathen Army and the ultimate rise of Wessex to the dominating Saxon kingdom. The book does a fantastic job and providing enough detail to hold your attention and keep you interested without bogging down with so much that most people would be turned off.
A great read for anyone interested in the history of England, the Norse/Vikings or military history lovers in general.