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The Struggle for Mastery: The Penguin History of Britain, 1066-1284

by David Carpenter

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265376,007 (3.9)8
The years from 1066-the Norman conquest of England-to 1284-the English conquest of Wales--were momentous ones in the history of Britain. In this comprehensive synthesis canvassing the peoples, economies, religion, languages, and political leadership of medieval Britain, David Carpenter weaves together the histories of England, Scotland, and Wales. Arguing that English domination of the kingdom was by no means a foregone conclusion, Carpenter analyzes the multiple struggles for mastery of Great Britain. He explains why English monarchs focused on continental landholdings more than the island of Great Britain and narrates the loss of Normandy, Anjou, and Acquitaine. He recounts how the Welsh kings strove to recover areas lost to the Normans and to assert dominion over one another, and how the kings of Scotland expanded their realm to create a united Scotland. Based on readings of primary and secondary sources, Carpenter sheds light on major highlights of the period including the Battle of Hastings, the murder of Becket, and the signing of the Magna Carta, as well as intermarriage, the feudal system, and the characters of key figures. This new interpretation is a definitive introduction to the period for general readers. The Struggle for Matery was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2005.… (more)
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A history of Britain from 1066 to Edward I's conquest of Wales.

For once it really is a history of Britain with each chapter giving if not equal time at least proportionate time to the different British nations. It had a lot I didn't know from more Anglocentric accounts about the early history of Scotland and Wales.

It was fairly heavy going in places but worth persevering. I would have liked to know whether the move to a more bureaucratic, record-keeping state was in line with a general European movement, or lagged behind such developments on the Continent, or whether England was a front runner. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Aug 26, 2018 |
Very dense reading, and somewhat hard to get through. Really good source of information, with lots of attention to historiographical debates and areas of contention. Good bibliographies. I tend to disagree with Carpenter's interpretations on several points. ( )
  Gwendydd | Dec 18, 2007 |
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Britain as a geographical entity was a familiar concept to midieval writers.
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I order you to hold a free election but forbid you to elect anyone save Richard, my clerk.

–Henry II Plantagenet
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The years from 1066-the Norman conquest of England-to 1284-the English conquest of Wales--were momentous ones in the history of Britain. In this comprehensive synthesis canvassing the peoples, economies, religion, languages, and political leadership of medieval Britain, David Carpenter weaves together the histories of England, Scotland, and Wales. Arguing that English domination of the kingdom was by no means a foregone conclusion, Carpenter analyzes the multiple struggles for mastery of Great Britain. He explains why English monarchs focused on continental landholdings more than the island of Great Britain and narrates the loss of Normandy, Anjou, and Acquitaine. He recounts how the Welsh kings strove to recover areas lost to the Normans and to assert dominion over one another, and how the kings of Scotland expanded their realm to create a united Scotland. Based on readings of primary and secondary sources, Carpenter sheds light on major highlights of the period including the Battle of Hastings, the murder of Becket, and the signing of the Magna Carta, as well as intermarriage, the feudal system, and the characters of key figures. This new interpretation is a definitive introduction to the period for general readers. The Struggle for Matery was a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2005.

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