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The Battle of Hastings 1066

By (author) M.K. Lawson
Format: Hardback
Publisher: The History Press Ltd, Stroud, United Kingdom
Imprint: NPI Media Group
Published: 1st Sep 2002
Dimensions: w 172mm h 248mm
ISBN-10: 0752419986
ISBN-13: 9780752419985
Barcode No: 9780752419985

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Kirkus UK
The Battle of Hastings in 1066 is one of the most famous events in English history, but surprisingly little is known of what really happened in that October day, and much that we do think we know turns out to be questionable. Whether Harold really copped an arrow in the eye, for instance, is open to debate. Author M K Lawson, an expert on this period, points out that a problem for today's historians is a lack of reliable material to draw upon. Much of what we have offers only enticing clues that suggest the people of the early Middle Ages knew far more about the battle than they bothered to write down. Consequently, the Victorians decided to compose what they considered to be the definitive account, and their suppositions have gone largely unchallenged for more than a century. It seems they jumped to all sorts of dubious conclusions based on what they saw on the Bayeux Tapestry - ignoring its many enigmas. Now painstaking effort is made to understand these enigmas and much is revealed that was previously overlooked. The author is careful not to repeat the Victorians' mistake of jumping to rash conclusions. He analyses all sources of information about events leading up to the battle, and the battle itself, to determine what can really be known about the conflict and what can only be guesswork. His interpretations differ greatly from the accepted wisdom - but he supplies plenty of material to back up his arguments. So we learn that the battle involved far more men than was previously thought, that it was fought over a greater area and that the Bayeux Tapestry created false assumptions about what were the decisive factors in William of Normandy's victory. This is a great work of reference for anyone with an interest in English history. It is well argued, authoritatively researched and copiously illustrated. A vital addition to our knowledge of the past. (Kirkus UK)