The Fortress Kingdom (Hardback)
The Wars of Aethelflaed and Edward the Elder, 899–927
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In this the second part of his four-volume military and political history of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Paul Hill follows the careers of Æthelflæd, Alfred the Great’s eldest daughter, and Edward the Elder, Alfred’s eldest son, as they campaigned to expand their rule after Alfred’s death. They faced, as Alfred had done, the full force of Danish hostility during the early years of the tenth century, a period of unrelenting turbulence and open warfare. But through their military strength, in particular their strategy of fortress building, they retained their hold on the kingdom and conquered lands which had been under Danish lords for generations.
Æthelflæd’s forces captured Derby and Leicester by both force and diplomacy. Edward’s power was always immense. How each of them used forts (burhs) to hold territory, is explored. Fortifications across central England became key. These included Bridgnorth, Tamworth, Stafford, Warwick, Chirbury and Runcorn (Æthelflæd) and also Hertford, Witham, Buckingham, Bedford and Maldon (Edward), to name a few.
Paul Hill’s absorbing narrative incorporates the latest theories and evidence for the military organization and capabilities of the Anglo-Saxons and their Danish adversaries. His book gives the reader a detailed and dramatic insight into a very sophisticated Anglo-Saxon kingdom.
Review as featured inMedieval Archaeology Journal, December 2023
This book is the second part of 4 books and this book has been a brilliant read and has been thoroughly enjoyable and learn from. Most certainly recommended.The History Fella
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Exhaustively researched, impressively well written, exceptional in both organization and presentation, "The Fortress Kingdom: The Wars of Aethelflaed and Edward the Elder, 899-927" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community and academic library Medieval British History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.Midwest Book Review
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Most of the chapters focus on political and military history, the campaigns, battles and sieges, but there is considerable information about the building of fortifications (the burhs) and towns which were essential to the military organization, tactics and strategy employed so successfully. The Notes are interesting and the Bibliography excellent. A complicated period of history fully explored in an absorbing narrative which incorporates the latest theories and archaeological evidence. An essential read for anyone truly interested in Anglo-Saxon history.Norfolk Family History Society - 'The Ancestor' magazine