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Bloodfeud by Richard Fletcher

Bloodfeud (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Richard Fletcher

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193561,059 (3.83)2
Authors:Richard Fletcher
Info:Allen Lane (2002), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:Anglo-Saxon, England, History, Medieval, Medieval History

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Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England by Richard Fletcher (2002)



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I lived in England a couple years, back when I was nine and ten years old. So I learned the Kings and Queens of England in school, rather than the U.S. Presidents. But we started with William in 1066. We did discuss a bit the earlier folks... Ethelred the Unready - but not much.

One of our family dream adventures is to walk the Hadrian's Wall Path. Certainly I expect there to be a lot of Roman history along the way there. But surely some Anglo-Saxon history too. Maybe I could learn a bit of that to be better prepared?!

Fletcher's book did a great job on just sketching out life around the year 1000 in England. I really like how studying a detail creates a kind of point of perspective around which a whole cultural universe can be constellated. Fletcher looks at a feud between two Northumbrian baronal families, a series of murder and slaughters over a couple centuries. It's a nice thread that ties together a lot of history. Fletcher does a nice job of filling in enough context that a total novice like myself doesn't get too lost. But I expect folks much more knowledgeable won't be too annoyed. Fletcher seems to do a good job of providing sources and indicating the varying degrees of speculation involved in building a plausible coherent narrative. ( )
  kukulaj | Jun 21, 2013 |
Fletcher's book is good on Anglo-Saxon England, and on the general historical background of the time, but I felt he kept drifting away from the supposed focus of the book. I was hoping for something that focused a little more clearly on the bloodfeud, rather than sticking to generalities I was already aware of.

It's easy to read, and interesting stuff, but not what I was hoping for. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
There is much to enjoy in this analysis of a long running family feud in the 11th century, esp. the nature of late Anglo-Saxon society and the interplay between land ownership, inheritance and family honour and local independence from the English kings. ( )
  john257hopper | Feb 28, 2009 |
This is an excellent combination of solid history and intrigue. In my personal view, its a great example of that saying "truth is stranger than fiction". The story of a multi-generational feud in late Anglo-Saxon England, told against the backdrop of the Conquest, this book provides the reader with not only a great introduction to the period, but explores two particular families' feud in a detective-like manner, which provides an interesting alternative means of exploring history. ( )
1 vote fastred | Aug 14, 2006 |
I liked this book well enough but the title is a bit of a misnomer. Though feuding between some specific families in the north of England through the Norman conquest is the hook that Fletcher hangs his book on, this is really a general survey of England from the establishment of the Danelaw through the Conquest. Those people looking mostly for the thrill of aristocratic intrigue (though there's some of that) will probably be disappointed. ( )
3 vote Shrike58 | Aug 10, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140286926, Paperback)

One gusty morning in March 1016, Earl Uhtred of Northumbria came with 40 followers to a wooden hall at a place called Wiheal outside York, to parley with the recently crowned King Canute who was attempting to bring his mighty northern subjects properly under his control. They were given guarantee of safe conduct, and came unarmed. But they were ambushed in the hall by an old enemy of Uhtred's, with Canute's connivance, and murdered, every one. From here, Richard Fletcher moves on to explore the whole culture of vengeance and reparation in early Medieval England. As well as the culture of aristocratic and inter-familial violence in Christendom, Fletcher looks closely at the Church's attempts to limit or discredit an institution closely tied with residual paganism. Another element of the book considers the tensions between monarchical authority and wilful local indulgence in vendetta on the one hand, and the influence of feud on high diplomacy on the other.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:43 -0400)

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