The Enigma of Hastings (Paperback)
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.