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1066 (1977)

von David Howarth

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1,3302410,875 (3.88)60
While the date 1066 is familiar to almost everybody as the year of the Norman conquest of England, few can place the event in the context of the dramatic year in which it took place. In this book, David Howarth attempts to bring alive the struggle for the succession to the English crown from the death of Edward the Confessor in January 1066 to the Christmas coronation of Duke William of Normandy. There is an almost uncanny symmetry, as well as a relentlessly exciting surge, of events leading to and from the Battle of Hastings.… (mehr)
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This is not a comprehensive history of the Battle of Hastings, and it is not meant to be. It is a great storyteller's version of events as he understands them.

Howarth uses mostly contemporaneous writings (17 of his 20 sources are within 100 years of the Battle of Hastings) to decipher and tell the history of the battle between King Harold of England and William the Conqueror of Normandy. He infuses the book with his own point of view, which at times can be borderline Francophobic. "[William] was a more barbarous primitive man than either Edward or Harold, but he is not to be blamed: he came from a more barbarous primitive country."

But it is this point of view, and this conversational tone that makes this book so enjoyable. You might not agree with his point of view, but it sure is fun to listen to. "Obviously, nobody could really make a speech to an army, and the chaplain rather gave the game away. He wrote: 'Nobody has reported to us in detail the short harangue with which on this occasion the Duke increased the courage of his troops...' - and he went straight on to quote the speech at great length word for word."

I'll definitely be looking out for Howarth's other books.

( )
  evenlake | Mar 23, 2021 |
This is a very well-written and well-researched book. It's interesting to see how much of our knowledge of the events leading up to, during, and following the Battle of Hastings relies on much conjecture, simply because the few records that exist often conflict with one another. Read my full review here. ( )
  littlebookjockey | Sep 15, 2020 |
I liked the writing style well enough; however, it felt just old-fashioned enough that I found it difficult to maintain focus. Part of this could be chalked up to personal circumstances, so I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading the book if it interested them. It's certainly an interesting way to present the events leading up to the Conquest. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 22, 2019 |
A terrific and concise narrative about the Norman Invasion, written in prose so clear that Strunk and White would say, "I don't know how he could have made it any better." Howarth presents the major figures of the Invasion as complicated people, and the Invasion itself as an example of what happens when luck intervenes in the best-laid plans. I woke up early to read it each day: is there a better endorsement? ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
In many ways David Howarth has done what other historical texts has not. Howarth admits his slight bias beforehand, and then does all he can throughout the text to present a balanced view - he quotes primary sources, and then explains why they are or are not accurate. In short, Howarth has done everything that makes a good historian good, or even great - he has tried to present the truest picture possible, with what scant evidence there is.

While the year 1066 immediately brings to mind the Battle of Hastings, the book itself details what life was like before, during, and after that time. He presents the historical context necessary to try to understand why Norway, Normandy, and England all acted in the manner in which they did. His overview is both in depth and concise, bound together by an unerringly accessible and direct prose.

I would highly recommend this book to just about anyone interested in this time period. Howarth is definitely a master at his trade. There is much to be admired in this book. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
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» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (7 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
David HowarthHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Barbour, TonyErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Belenson, GailUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Floyd, GarethIllustratorCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Stuart, NeilUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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A few years ago I wrote a book about Waterloo and one about Trafalgar, and tried to describe those battles from the points of view of men who fought in them. (Introduction)
It was not a bad life to be English when the year began; it was the kind of life that many modern people vainly envy.
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There is no end to the arguments about the ultimate merits of the Norman Conquest. It must always be hypothetical to compare the England of the following centuries with what it might have become if the English had been left to develop their own way of life. The consensus is that it was beneficial in the long run. But its benefits were no comfort to the people of 1066 because none of them lived long enough to see them. All they saw was a cruel foreign tyranny. It is reckoned that in the next twenty years two hundred thousand Normans and Frenchmen settled in the country, while at least three hundred thousand English people, one in five of the native population, were killed in William's ravages or starved by the seizure of their farm stock and their land. ("England : New Year's Eve" [last chapter])
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While the date 1066 is familiar to almost everybody as the year of the Norman conquest of England, few can place the event in the context of the dramatic year in which it took place. In this book, David Howarth attempts to bring alive the struggle for the succession to the English crown from the death of Edward the Confessor in January 1066 to the Christmas coronation of Duke William of Normandy. There is an almost uncanny symmetry, as well as a relentlessly exciting surge, of events leading to and from the Battle of Hastings.

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