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4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  108 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Everyone knows what William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but in recent years is has become customary to assume that the victory was virtually inevitable, given the alleged superiority of Norman military technology. In this new study, underpinned by biographical sketches of the great warriors who fought for the crown of England in 1066, Frank McLynn sho ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 2nd 1999 by Pimlico (first published November 18th 1998)
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Dec 22, 2013 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forget Game of Thrones: McLynn's expansive revisionist history of that most famous of battles in the course of the Sceptered Isle's southern majority sequence is the real deal. The maneuvering between native Saxons, outlier Britons, and the ravenously acquisitive appetites of the Dane, Norwegian, and Norman potentates who eyed England as a most tempting of prizes—one as readily sought through wedding or inheritance vows as the dangerous game of armed conquest—is just superbly narrated, most espe ...more
Jul 14, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
In spite of the fact that this scholarly work has encapsulated many years of warfare, it doesn't have the gritty edge of a battlefield account. I guess you could say that the book is interesting and educational, but it is certainly not thrilling. Let's face it...we all knew the outcome going into this one.

The author provides us with detailed histories of the principals involved in the battles of the titular year and outlines the events and personalities that combined to bring about the Battle of
Mar 23, 2012 Kevin rated it really liked it
There are very few sources regarding Hastings and Harold Godwinesons defeat. Most was written by the victors, by French Bishops. However modern analyses points out some errors, mainly that of the scene in the Bayeaux Tapestry that depicts two things; one, the arrow in the eye and second, of a Saxon being ridden down by Norman Knights. These two embroidered scenes are underneath the Latin quote saying Harold Rex (Harold King) dies. The arrow in the eye is actually not really written about in the ...more
Aug 25, 2010 Kbullock rated it it was amazing
The best account of the events of 1066 I've encountered so far. McLynn draws heavily on Norse records to draw a detailed picture of Harold Hardrada, a terrifying and fascinating figure who is given short shrift in other accounts.

There is also a great treatment of William's unlikely accomplishment in bringing his vassals (and then some) on board for what appeared to be a suicide mission, followed by the impressive logistical effort that was required to keep the Norman invasion force in place for
Tony Calder
Mar 09, 2012 Tony Calder rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Ask people about the year 1066 in England and most of them would know about the Battle of Hastings, those with an interest in history may know about the Battle of Stamford Bridge, but only those with a specific interest in Dark Ages English history are likely to know about the Battle of Fulford Gate. Primarily, this is because King Harold did not participate in the battle, but it was to have a significant effect on how the events of that period played out.

Much has been written about Hastings ove
Nicholas George Setford
Very, very interesting indeed! The detailed biographies of the various protagonists is enlightening to say the least - a bloodthirsty lot, who were mostly very experienced and proficient in the art(s) of war! It also exposes the post-conquest Norman propaganda for what it was, just the victor's self righteous altering of the facts to suite the murky outcome! This altered, perfidious truth, was, at least in my day, what we were taught in school, and in England too! The actual battle descriptions ...more
Mar 21, 2016 Brendan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most people regard 1066 as the year in which William, Duke of Normandy, invaded England in the last successful cross-Channel invasion of that country, killing the Saxon King, Harold II, at the Battle of Hastings, and beginning the thousand-year process by which "England" became "Great Britain". However, as Frank McLynn shows in his meticulously researched and admirably accessible account, the Battle of Hastings was itself just the culmination of a series of political tides and dynastic struggles ...more
Oct 14, 2009 Sam rated it liked it
This was a good book. It covered an area of history and the world that I knew very little about which meant at times it was actually even a little exciting. I found the inter-relation of the region very interesting and much more than I had thought. The awareness of the key actors of each other and the other regional politics was very interesting. I regret though that the author did not do any big "so what". At the end of the book he just finishes with Williams victory and ends the book. There wa ...more
Sean Brennan
May 25, 2013 Sean Brennan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Do not let the title mislead, the actual events that occurred in 1066, are only covered in the last two chapters of the book. What this book actually covers is all the major larger than life characters, who were eminent and important in the events leading up to The Battle of Hastings.

You really could not make this up, this really is history in all it's glory, it has everything greed, treachery, honour and in King Harold, William the Bastard of Normandy(no man truly deserved the title more)and Ha
Sep 09, 2011 Juan added it
A very detailed and vivid account of the events and main characters conducive to what possibly is the most momentous year in Englis history. The author is well versed in the sources and historiography concerning the subject, however, he also seems to be obsessed with contradicting old and widespread ideas about the events, particularly in regards to the battle of Hastings (and all the pro-Norman propaganda around it), which leads him to make his own unsupported statements, lacking rigorous analy ...more
Mar 27, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the conquest of England and the characters involved.
A very interesting book, but it was a little hard to follow the characters. Each chapter deals with only one character at a time, and there are a few main characters, so each person's story may not pick back up for a couple chapters. If you can keep all the information in order, then it's nice when they finally meet in the end, during the big battles for dominance of England.

There were lots of nice maps and the footnotes were thorough and enlightening. I like a book that has maps of the places
Jul 15, 2014 Faisal rated it it was amazing
Pro. Frank is one of great history writers of all time
Very organized book
John Nellis
Oct 31, 2011 John Nellis rated it really liked it
This is a good book about the three battles of 1066, and the events leading up to that year. The author sets the stage very well, and tells short biographys of each of the key players. He also dicusses many of the legends and myths of the battles and events. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about this key event in history.
Jun 16, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Vikings! Kings! Treachery! Revenge! A bloodthirsty power hungry struggle for the rule of England! I now know more about eleventh century politics in northwestern Europe than I ever really wanted.
Gary P.
Aug 07, 2014 Gary P. rated it really liked it
Interesting stuff and a plausible theory.
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Frank McLynn is a British author, biographer, historian and journalist. He is noted for critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Jung, Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley.

McLynn was educated at Wadham College, Oxford and the University of London. He was Alistair Horne Research Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford (1987–88) and was visiting p
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