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1066 (1977)

by David Howarth

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,2552210,599 (3.85)58
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.… (more)



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» See also 58 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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 |
An older book (1977) but the author has a gift for explaining the personal side of history. Howarth reflects upon the mystery of the Anglo-Saxon defeat at Hastings, and how William's victory was most likely hollow to him. ( )
  LaurelPoe | Dec 25, 2017 |
More than an account of the conquest of England, this book talks about the everyday people and their everyday lives in that pivotal year.

The Normans defeated the Saxons, but it was the English who ultimately won. The Normans were assimilated into the culture, and a new people were born. Howarth tells how this all happened.

Even if you're not into the intricacies of Harald vs. Harold, "1066" is still a good read and a look at how the English world was created.

More reviews at my WordPress site, Ralphsbooks. ( )
  ralphz | Jul 25, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Howarthprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barbour, TonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belenson, GailCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Floyd, GarethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuart, NeilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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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Book description
It is one of the most important dates in the history of the Western world: 1066, the year William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings and changed England and the English forever. Yet the events leading to-and following-this turning point in history are shrouded in mystery and distorted by the biased accounts written by a subjugated people, and many believe it was the English who ultimately won, since the Normans became assimilated into the English way of life. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary sources, David Howarth gives us memorable portraits of the leading characters and their motivations. At the same time he enables us to see the events of that year from the viewpoint of common Englishmen, and along the way we learn how they lived, worked, fought, and died-and how they perceived from their isolated shires the overthrow of their world. Book jacket.
Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.
Haiku summary
William, Conqueror?/History has much to tell/The book tells much, too

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