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Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England
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Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  90 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
On a gusty March day in 1016, Earl Uhtred of Northumbria, the most powerful lord in northern England, arrived at a place called Wiheal, probably near Tadcaster in Yorkshire. Uhtred had come with forty men to submit formally to King Canute, an act that completed the Danish subjugation of England and the defeat of Ethelred the Unready, to whom Uhtred had been a loyal ally an ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2002)
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Mercedes Rochelle
Bloodfeud is one of those reference books that you would want to read after you have a decent working knowledge of the period's history; otherwise many of the subtleties may be lost on you. If you are looking for those fine details that help to connect the dots - so to speak - this is an amazing source. Richard Fletcher, professor emeritus at the University of York, gives us a thorough exploration of the customs, habits, and motivations of this shadowy culture which the moderns of European desce ...more
Although this is a study of a bloodfeud between two Northern families I'd recommend it as an introduction to late Anglo-Saxon England, or even to the family politics of early medieval Europe.

Because of the paucity of the source material Fletcher has to explore the social and political context thoroughly, but at the same time the rivalry of the two families, with outbreaks of extreme violence, acts as a ribbon of plot that runs through the book.

For readers familiar with Anglo-Saxon England there
Matt Brady
Very entertaining story of a violent feud between two Northumbrian clans that spanned generations. It also doubles as a pretty concise history of the north of England, and Anglo Saxon England as a whole, in the 11th century. The culture of feuding, the laws built around it, the ways the Church got involved and how it impacted contemporary society as a whole are all covered, painting a picture of a more sophisticated society than is usually portrayed in pre Norman Conquest England, but also a soc ...more
An interesting book, but not what I was expecting. The whole problem with the Dark Age era is the lack of primary sources on which historians can base their works. On reading the blurb of this, a book solely occupied with feuding families in 10th century Northumbria, I imagined that the book would open up new nuggets of information, leading us to new ways of understanding about the way of life in those times...

It sort of misses the mark, and that's because a large section of the book is padded.
Jul 09, 2012 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Fletcher's book is good on Anglo-Saxon England, and on the general historical background of the time, but I felt he kept drifting away from the supposed focus of the book. I was hoping for something that focused a little more clearly on the bloodfeud, rather than sticking to generalities I was already aware of.

It's easy to read, and interesting stuff, but not what I was hoping for.
Nov 23, 2008 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The murder of Uhtred Earl of Northumberland serves as a fascinating jumping off point to give a vivid account of life in late Anglo-Saxon England. Documentary sources are very thin, and if you want a work of history that is full of dates and facts, this is not it. This can be frustrating at times, because just as I got deeply engaged in the personal story of one of the characters, he or she would disappear off the record. So the strength of this book is in the skillful way in which the author mo ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A rather deceptive book in that it appears to be one concerning a distinct specific period in Anglo-Saxon politics that analyses the nuances of the culture at the time but turns out to actually be a fairly staid, generic book on the Anglo-Saxons from early days to the Norman Conquest, with the bloodfeud relegated to the status of an afterthought.
A good introductory book for those who are completely new to the period but one which will actually only antagonise those already with any kind of famil
Apr 15, 2009 Maggi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Great for those of you who: a) love the dirty side of medieval england; b) like lots of historical details, and are able to hold multiple early english names in your head (I can't keep my Eodreds straight from my Eothoreds; c) can devote some concentrated time to this. I am almost there, but not quite. I read it some years ago, and picked it up again for a diversion from the semester. But it defeated me this second time. I want the movie with Clive Owen and the new terminator dude.
Feb 19, 2009 Brackman1066 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students, anyone interested in Anglo-Saxon England
Shelves: medieval-studies
This is not only the best popular book I've ever read about Anglo-Saxon England, it maybe be the best book written for non-specialists that I've ever read about any medieval topic. The names can be jaw-crackers and confusing if you're not used to them, but this gets better if you focus and it's worth it. Recommend this highly to interested students!
Oct 29, 2011 Terri rated it really liked it
Read many years ago, but I remember enjoying it.
Wayland Smith
This is a decent overview of politics in Anglo-Saxon England. It might be a bit much for people who haven't read up on the period. If you have some knowledge of this period of history and this part of the world, it's a good read.

It does wander off from the implied subject about specific feuds. Frequently, it takes a much broader look at the era. I found it to be a good bit of historical writing, and enjoyed it.

Recommended for students of history and/or England.
Geoff Boxell
Mar 01, 2016 Geoff Boxell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading if you want to deepen your knowledge of troubles 'oop noorth' in the 11thC. It helps if, like me, you are well read in the period and thus have the background knowledge to appreciate the politics involved.
S. Pitt
Well researched and very readable.
It's hard to make a blood feud dry but this was in a few places.But it also was chock a block full of details of the time.
Nov 07, 2014 Adastra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting pop-scientific retelling of the conflicts between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings under the reigns of Canute and Ethelred the Unread. Speed-read for my thesis.
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  • From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307
  • The Saxon and Norman Kings
  • Edward I
  • The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages
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  • Harold, the Last Anglo-Saxon King
  • The Struggle for Mastery: Britain, 1066-1284
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  • Conquest
  • Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500
  • The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the Middle Ages
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  • The Anglo-Saxons
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Richard A. Fletcher was a historian who specialized in the medieval period. He was Professor of History at the University of York and one of the outstanding talents in English and Spanish medieval scholarship.

Obituary @ the Times Online
More about Richard Fletcher...

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