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Robin Hood

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  169 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Professor James Holt presents evidence of crucial importance in identifying the original Robin Hood, as well as showing how the exploits of other outlaws contributed to the legend and giving an entirely new interpretation of Robin Hood's most famous characteristic--that he robbed the rich in order to give to the poor.
Unknown Binding
Published January 1st 1982 by Thames & Hudson (first published 1971)
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J.M. Hushour
Feb 10, 2016 J.M. Hushour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love any book that is said to be "the last word" in anything and I love books guaranteed to piss off people who have no better way to spend their time than arguing about fictional characters and how they're really not fictional at all.
This book satisfied me on both counts. It's pretty definitive and straightforward and it probably infuriated the whole Robin-Hood-was-a-real-guy crowd. I'm not ruining anything by saying that Holt is cautiously inconclusive, as any investigation into things like
Mrs. C.
Oct 27, 2016 Mrs. C. rated it it was amazing
Research on the legend of Robin Hood covering (a) the search medieval manuscripts in a search of a "real" Robin (or Robert), and (b) the development of the legend over time. This isn't a collection of Robin Hood stories for youth. It's more of a scholarly work on history and literature.
Barry H. Wiley
A very well presented history of the Robin Hood legend. No one highwayman was the source of the legend. It developed across the decades with additions here and there, with the later "legend" owing something to Errol Flynn. A solid read.
Mary Catelli
An extensive look at the sources and development of the legend of Robin Hood. Up to the Romantic Era. The Child ballads are in the chapter "Later Tradition."

Having hit on the first mention, in Piers Plowman, where Sloth says he knows rhymes of Robin Hood, it goes on to the next century, where we have actual tales. It covers the five known medieval ballads -- A Gest of Robyn Hode, Robin Hood and the Monk, Robin Hood and the Potter, Robin Hood his Death, and Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne -- and
Feb 07, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, another non-fiction chestnut from the dusty, inexplicable depths of my To Read list. I’m sure most familiar with the many screen iterations of this legend are happy with the wool firmly secured over their eyes, but I’m pleased to report that you can have the most fancifully Romantic notions of R. Hood (he is my first crush, favorite Disney movie, and earliest bedtime story all rolled up into one very merry man) and still not mind at all Mr. Holt’s basic assertion that everything we think abo ...more
Apr 03, 2009 Mariah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those w/ a scholarly interest in R.H.
Recommended to Mariah by: Hester NicEilidh
Who was Robin Hood, if the man existed, and how has the lore surrounding him evolved? J.C. Holt traces the legend of Robin Hood back to the area of Wakefield and Barnsdale forest in 1225.

One of the key things that I learned from this book was the distinction between tales taking place in Barnsdale vs. Sherwood forests. I realized that growing up, I heard the Sherwood stories, in which Robin and his Merry Men fight against the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham. Whereas the older Barnsdale stories had
Jun 14, 2012 Amarilli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Partendo dalle più antiche fonti letterarie che parlano di Robin Hood, Holt scava tra gli elementi stratificati nei secoli per cercare le eventuali prove dell'esistenza del leggendario fuorilegge. L'analisi parte dall'ambito filologico e si espande includendo storia e geografia dell'Inghilterra medievale, la struttura della società feudale e i suoi cambiamenti dal XII al XIV secolo, l'arte dei menestrelli, l'influenza del tipo di pubblico sull'evoluzione del racconto da tradizione orale a libro ...more
Two stars because it does give some of the original poems about Robin Hood, and some of the inspirations for the character. It also clears up his background and how the story evolved throughout the centuries. Then, I don't know what happened. There were chapters tht I finished entirely, and ones that I skipped most of because Holt doesn't form his own opinion, but simply presents facts from other scholar's research. I was expecting him to take a side on the matter, even if it was to refute the e ...more
Michael Kucharski
Robin Hood by J. C. Holt was a very dry, very serious academic essay into “Who was the real Robin Hood or was there none?” Unfortunately Professor Holt is not Geoffrey Ashe whose numerous books on King Arthur are far more readable; the first 186 pages could be skipped and the last four pages, the epilogue, could be read and the core of the material could still be gleaned. Although I must admit that I did learn a few new historical facts that I did not know beforehand.
Nov 02, 2010 Rose rated it did not like it
Shelves: mythological
One of the most monotnous authors I have ever read. The book is 208 pages and it only has 8 chapters - including prologue and epilogue.
That's about 20-somthing pages per subject, which normally isn't a problem except that these are simple ideas. What information he gives through out the whole book could have been condensed to less than half. Instead he chose to pound on a topic in agonizing length until you wanted to put it out of its misery - or at least, the author.
Stephen Basdeo
Dec 24, 2014 Stephen Basdeo rated it really liked it
Professor J. C. Holt's examination of the Robin Hood legend, from its earliest incarnation in medieval ballads to his appearance in modern day movies, is one of the most enjoyable academic texts on Robin Hood I have ever read. I do wish however, as he aimed to discuss the legend itself, that he would have paid more attention to the later legend as it developed in the 1700s and 1800s. He ends on a high however with putting forward a convincing case for a "real" Robin Hood candidate.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leslie D. Soule
Oct 07, 2015 Leslie D. Soule rated it really liked it
Shelves: documentary
This book was pretty good. You can tell that the author did their research into the subject and it was fascinating to read about all the difficulties in pinning down a historical Robin Hood. Also, this book relates some of the Robin Hood story that you never hear, like how he died from a botched blood-letting (that may not have been accidental) at Kirklees.
It was interesting, it was true. But Holt focuses most of his attention on the earliest parts of the legend. He has disdain for "more recent" additions. Anything from 1500 muddies the waters and damages the legend. Um, the fact that the legend is so flexible is one of the reasons I love it so much. Clearly Holt feels differently.
Blair Hodgkinson
Sep 08, 2012 Blair Hodgkinson rated it it was amazing
This is still the classic work on the subject of Robin Hood: who he may have been, what he really may have done, how the legend sprung up and the influences on the legend that shaped it into the story (we think) we know today. First class historical detection, written in a clear and lucid style.
Oct 05, 2015 robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, historical
this is what serious research looks like. An easy read? No. But a completely engrossing analysis of the men who could have been the original flesh and blood Robin Hood and the myths, history, and oral tradition that made him the man we know today,
Solo per accademici. Non è la "Storia del ladro gentiluomo" del sottotitolo, bensì un noioso trattato che cerca la verità storica della leggenda di Robin Hood, trovandone ben poca sin dalle prime pagine!
Tim Weakley
A scholarly work. If you're looking for a lite discussion of the origins of Robin Hood this isn't the book you want. If you like history and investigation this might do the trick.
Lynn Cullivan
Jan 02, 2013 Lynn Cullivan rated it liked it
In case your wondering, not a Robin Hood story -- it's a scholarly examination of the Robin Hood myth. Engaging and well-written.
Jan 21, 2014 Larry rated it liked it
How Robin Hood, who may or may not have existed, became a legend is fairly interesting, as is the account of how the legend changed over time. The book is academic in tone and content.
Margitm rated it it was ok
Jul 13, 2011
Tracy rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2013
Raymond rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2014
Dan Ryan
Dan Ryan rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2015
Sunna rated it it was amazing
May 04, 2012
Susanmu rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2011
Martin Marshall
Martin Marshall rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2012
Lisa McGowan
Lisa McGowan rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2016
Tammy Brown
Tammy Brown rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2015
Levi rated it liked it
Nov 01, 2015
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J. C. Holt
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Professor Sir James Clarke Holt FBA (born 26 April 1922[1]) is an English medieval historian and was the third Master of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University.

Educated at Bradford Grammar School, Holt graduated, and subsequently took his DPhil, at the University of Oxford. He held the positions of Professor of Medieval H
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