26 Books to Read in 2015: #17

I am going to make this challenge happen, no matter how much I have to bounce around the list.  This time I will not fail!

For those who might not have heard, I’m attempting to participate in a reading challenge this year.  It’s called 26 Books to Read in 2015, hosted by Bringing Up Burns.  Here’s my first title for the challenge!

#17: A book that will make you smarter: The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Marc Morris.


Well, I’m now smarter about the Norman Conquest.  So that counts!

Morris is an engaging writer, one who is clearly super-passionate about his subject.  His tone is that of a fun history teacher, telling you all about the context and set-up of the Norman Conquest, as well as the immediate aftermath.  He begins with the reign of Edward the Confessor, and goes into the relationship between England and Normandy at the time.  Again and again Morris stresses how little we actually know for sure, and takes care to explain the genesis and biases of what sources we have.  But he presents a cohesive and coherent story, managing not to take sides and to portray everyone involved as human and of their time period.  The immediacy, particularly when talking about the Battle of Hastings, is wonderfully done.

A great read for those who, like me, have only the barest knowledge of 1066 and all that and want to know more.  It’s compelling and well-told, so if you’re not usually a non-fiction reader (again, like me), you’ll keep on reading.



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