The Battle of Hastings

  • Type: Books
  • By: Jim Bradbury
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Non-Fiction
  • Recommended by: Tom S.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781643136325
  • Check Catalog

1066 and all that

Here’s a fresh, readable account of the Battle of Hastings, an event that dramatically changed the course of European history.  Without the resulting Norman Conquest, there’d have been no Lion in Winter, no Robin Hood stories, no Joan of Arc, no Henry V by William Shakespeare, and we English speakers would probably still be dealing with grammatical gender.  

Besides being a page-turner of a book, The Battle of Hastings does something else so extraordinarily well that it could rightly claim space on a syllabus for a college historiography course: That something is the thoughtfulness with which Bradbury evaluates his primary source material.  For example, which document was written closest to the actual event, both in terms of time and of geography?  What are the biases of the various authors, and how do those biases affect the story the author wishes to portray?  Can the Bayeux Tapestry be regarded as a reliable source?  (According to the author, sometimes no; but sometimes yes indeed, especially regarding the arms and armor of the combatants.) 

Even if English history isn’t your thing, it’s a pleasure to read an author who so respects his craft and his source material.  Any speculation on the author’s part is clearly labeled as such and, in this book, historical evidence reigns supreme.