Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Mysteries of the Norman Conquest: Unravelling the Truth of the Battle of Hastings and the Events of 1066

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Mysteries of the Norman Conquest is a well annotated and layman accessible monograph on deciphering the extant sources (and later interpretations) from the Battle of Hastings and the events of 1066. Due out 14th July 2022 from Pen & Sword on their Frontline imprint, it's 248 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

I was fascinated reading the author's presentation of both the primary historical sources on the Norman incursions into England and events of the period which have been muddled or partially lost to the passage of time. The author begins with a helpful recap of the undisputed events of the period, and on to the salient battles (Fulford, Stamford Bridge, and finally Hastings). He also examines the composition of the warring forces, their technology, and the relevant physical terrain, then and now. 

It's annotated well throughout, and the chapter notes and bibliography will give rich scope for further reading for keen students of the period. Probably the highlight for me was the author's riveting (really!) discussion of the Bayeux Tapestry and its inception and known history. I'm a keen embroiderer (it's not a tapestry, as most people know by now) and reading about the work and the history and disposition of the piece, as well as the missing/lost panel of William's coronation, was fascinating. The sheer scope of the tapestry has always amazed me and although not lavishly illustrated, the text was fascinating.

The final release version will also include a number of photographs and maps of relevant locations described in the text.

Four and a half stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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