Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England” as Want to Read:
The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,892 ratings  ·  346 reviews
An epic tale, with violence at its heart, and a triumph of narrative history.
The Norman Conquest starts with the most decisive battle in English history and continues with dramatic rebellions and their ruthless suppression, eventually resulting in the creation of the English nation. The repercussions of the Conquest are with us still.
The book begins with the Saxon kings,
Kindle Edition, 468 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Pegasus Books (first published March 29th 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Norman Conquest, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Roger Alix-Gaudreau Well, they were originally Vikings, to whom the French king granted the lands of Normandy (hence the name, because the Vikings were "northmen"), to ge…moreWell, they were originally Vikings, to whom the French king granted the lands of Normandy (hence the name, because the Vikings were "northmen"), to get them to stop raiding the rest of the country. They married into French bloodlines as a way of establishing legitimacy. Their Viking origins make the Norman Conquest a fascinating linguistic event, because although they spoke French, they spoke a form of it that was heavily dosed with Old Norse borrowings, which had the same roots as Old English, which is why so many French words ended up borrowed into English after the Normans conquered England. But, I digress. :-) (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,892 ratings  ·  346 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England
Rick Riordan
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was both fascinating and difficult. The Norman Conquest was such a pivotal turning point in history, I wanted to try to understand how it happened. Morris does an excellent job sifting through the sources and trying to make sense of all sides of the drama. Unfortunately, as Morris points out, our sources are slim and biased. You can’t get a very good sense of the major players as living people. We can only speculate on their motives and feelings. We can’t even be sure what happened or ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
”I have taken England with both my hands.”

Remark after William of Normandy stepped off his ship on the coast of England and fell into the sand (28 September, 1066)

 photo William the Conqueror_zps3xxmi3ef.jpg
William the Conqueror

1066 is a meaningful date in history that should resonate with most people from their school days. It is, of course, the date of the last successful invasion of England. To call it an invasion might be a bit misleading. Approximately 7,000 Normans and a contingent of currish, opportunistic mercenaries from all
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, e-books
When I was in elementary school, I recall looking at an illustrated history book and seeing a picture of William the Conqueror. In the picture he was riding through an English town (London?) with his pointy steel cap, short red beard and grim face, broad shouldered as a linebacker. He had just won a battle, and Harold (I didn't even know Harold was a king), dead at Hastings with an arrow through his eye. I vaguely remember not liking William too much, and that Harold was kind of an unlucky good ...more
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have, as yet, not managed to find a decent account of the Norman invasion that was both well written and informative. Morris has done an excellent job of both counts. The wonderful thing about this book is that there is a narrative thread, a real sense of an unfolding story. And having not really considered the politics of the period since I was a child, Morris managed to explain everything at a sensible pace without ever making me feel out of my depth in such unfamiliar territory. And the con ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Norman Conquest of 1066 was probably one of the most brutal colonisation of a Christian land by another Christian Country ever to have happened, or at least for several hundred years afterwards. Marc Morris chronicles the years leading up to 1066, putting character onto the various important figures involved during the late tenth and early eleventh Centuries. This includes trying to give insight into what was socially occurring in England prior to the invasion and what had gone before. Also, ...more
An immensely enjoyable and informative book on one of England’s pivotal moments in history.

Mr Morris presents the events in a readable way that binds the characters, their place in England, Normandy and wider to the lead-up to invasion and the events in medieval Europe that influence strategies and actions. For those looking for a work on the actual battle this isn’t the book; although its coverage whilst brief – in terms of the book itself – provided good insight and detail into what happened
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall: a very detailed, and very conscientious history of the Norman Conquest of England (exactly what the title suggests…), with a hard look at the evidence, and an interpretation at points which I hadn’t seen before. Some room is made for small bits on architecture, and cultural aspects, but the focus is clearly on the lives of Edward, Harold and William, how they are tied to the Conquest, what actually happened and how it worked out. Biggest plus is how Morris brings the era to life through ...more
Very interesting and well-argued book about England in the 11th century, focusing on the Conquest of course but with a long historical prelude that put it in context and with the follow-up difficult establishment of Norman rule after the battle of Hastings as England has had alien kings before but always shook them off eventually, while the Normans came to stay

Definitely recommended
Morris has given us a thorough yet readable explanation of events surrounding the Norman Conquest with this well-researched work. With a detailed look at the years leading up to William's invasion through the ascendancy of Henry II, the reader is made aware of each nuance of English life that was affected by the arrival of the Normans.

Morris has a brilliant style of writing that takes into account a variety of theories and tends not to more forcefully press with one than the evidence supports. H
An accessible non-fiction. Basically expands on what was written in contemporaneous accounts or in accounts written within a hundred years or so after. I feel this one is not really going to give you anything new if you have read books on this period of history before. It is the same old recap with very little new added to the story. My impression is that if you have read little on the Conquest or have read nothing at all, then this book will do you. If you are looking for more supposition and l ...more
K.M. Weiland
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It can be difficult to discovery history books that offer both profound integrity in research and readability. This book offers both, with a keen examination of what we do know about the Norman Conquest and what we do not, all while organizing itself in an entertaining way that makes it easy to remember who’s who and what’s a stake.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-history
Fantastic. As picturesque as the Bayeux Tapestry itself. Genuine pleasure to read (though bogged down a bit about 3/4 way though), plus superbly informative. Where historical sources or scholars disagree, Morris is a master tour guide through the material. Didn't need the extensive recapitulation in the last chapter--or. alternatively, read only that as a sort of study guide.
Kristina Church milashus
Outstanding book by Marc Morris. "The Norman Conquest", offers the reader a fantastic overview on how England became what it is today. Using sources such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronical, The Bayeux Tapestry, and contemporary sources from both the Anglo-Saxon and Norman viewpoint, Mr. Morris weaves together a fine overview of the times. The book starts with the reign of Edgar in 959, and gives the reader a great overview of the English and Danish rulers of England prior to 1066. The real story picks ...more
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
An extremely readable non-fiction that read almost like a novel, it was so entertaining. Marc Morris has meticulously researched and footnoted this fine book, although as a KindleUnlimited I would have to borrow again to utilize that feature.

The Norman invasion is important to many of us to better understand where our customs comes from. My maternal grandfather's family came with the Normans to England and then into Ireland by 1250, this book shone a light on that era for me. I understand why my
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
Hallmarks of a quality presentation of history: the ability to create tension despite the reader already knowing the outcome, events and their impact told from ground level, avoidance of conjecture unless explicitly described as such, and encouraging the positing and examination of theories and how they might apply today.

The author's writing style is confident, well-structured, and highly readable. He infuses his analysis with the all too human traits of his subjects, making millennium-past even
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris


William the Bastard (sometimes known as the Conqueror)


The ever-popular Athelred the Unready

Those dauntless, dazzling Danes: Cnut and Harthacnut

That pious prince: Edward the Confessor

The harried Highness: Harold II (also unready)

That odious oligarch: Bishop/Earl Odo

and a cast of thousands

This is a highly readable account of the conquest of England by William , Duke of Normandy in 1066. If you are looking for a lot of hard facts, forget
Apr 18, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie by: Wanda
Narrated by: Frazer Douglas
Length: 18 hrs and 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook

A riveting and authoritative history of the single most important event in English history: The Norman Conquest.

Description: An upstart French duke who sets out to conquer the most powerful and unified kingdom in Christendom. An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought.

This new history explains why the Norman Conquest was the most significant
Carol McGrath
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a superb analysis which is extremely valuable for the footnotes. It contains some excellent words of caution on primary source material too. It is succinct and to the point.
Mercedes Rochelle
Considering the wealth of material available about the Norman Conquest, a book needs to be very special in order to stand out. Here, it was refreshing to recognize the Norman Conquest as something that did not end at the Battle of Hastings. In fact, Hastings was just the beginning of a tumultuous campaign to replace one ruling class with another, while subjugating a mutinous population. In fact, by the time Hastings is over, we aren't even halfway through the book yet.

The first few years after W
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1066
At one point in 'The Norman Conquest', writing about the Bayeux Tapestry, Marc Morris says; "No other source takes us so immediately and so vividly back to that lost time."

I'll say exactly the same about this book.

It really is an astoundingly well written and well put together book. Easily the Norman period's equivalent of Max Hastings' 'All Hell Let Loose' and Anthony Beevor's 'The Second World War.' For what it's worth, for me, that's the highest praise I can come up with. As with those two,
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a masterpiece. I hope Mr Morris is well and truly proud of what he was able to do with this book, because he should be. He weaves a rich and textured tapestry (see what I did there?) of the eleventh and twelfth centuries in England. His main focus, yes, is the Battle of Hastings, which reconfigured the landscape (literally and figuratively) of the country, but the scope of his text goes beyond this one seminal event as well, exploring the periods before and after the Battle with equal dilig ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-history
Well, I'll confess that I never finished this book despite really enjoying it. I was probably more than 3/4 done when I had to stop due to an unforeseen family emergency. I just never picked it back up after a long hiatus on reading any books. By the time I started reading again I was no longer interested in finishing it. Maybe someday I'll try it again.

What I did read I rather enjoyed. The book is a detailed look into the entire period from William's claim to the throne and outrage at the perc
Feb 16, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie
16 FEB 2014 -- purchased on the cheap from Barnes & Noble ($1.99). Many thanks B&N. Looking inside, there are maps and family trees which appeal to me so greatly, I may forget to read further (not a chance, the Battle of Hastings (1066) is an extremely important date in history). And, the cover is not done justice here. It is exquisite in-person (or, rather as in-person as my HD ereader will allow). I am thrilled! ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very good overview of English history leading up to, during, and following the conquest with disparate historical accounts weighed against current evidence. The stories told of the men (and often forgotten women) are compelling, and provide a great picture of a very important turning point in English history.
Alyson Stone
Book: The Norman Conquest
Author: Marc Morris
Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars

This one was a tough one for me. On the one hand, I enjoyed reading about the Norman Conquest. However, at the same time, I didn’t. I mean, there is only so many ways that you can tell the events of 1066 and what happened afterwards, but still. I have read and watched a great deal about the subject, but Marc Morris just really didn’t wow me.

I will admit at first that I did enjoy the book, but as time went on, it just seemed to
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Incredible overarching synthesis, weaving back and forth between the Norman and Anglo versions of events. Highly recommended.
Paula Lofting
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris
"An upstart French duke who sets out to conquer the most powerful and unified kingdom in Christendom. An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought. This riveting book explains why the Norman Conquest was the single most important event in English history. Assessing the original evidence at every turn, Marc Morris goes beyond the familiar outline to explain why England was at once s
A Duke – an Abbot – and a Horse:
I have yet to write my review on the highly acclaimed Dr. Bates academic biography of Duke William but this book will allow you to find the pleasure of History here much different from Marc Morris. Morris introduces us first to the results of Viking conquests prior to William with King Richard II (grandfather to William) and his son Robert (William’s father.) This is in chapter 5 entitled “Holy Warriors.” Within one small section of this chapter, it is here that t
Nathan Miller
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even if you think you know everything about the Norman Invasion of 1066, I highly recommend this book. Morris begins a generation before that, to lay out the foundations for events that led to William's conquest, and concludes with the Conqueror's death and a discussion of the ramifications of what he and his sons did to and for England. It's pretty dense, which is one reason it took me a while to read, which in turn means I'll be doing at least a re-skim at some point. The level of scholarship ...more
Jamie Collins
This is a really enjoyable history of the Conquest, although it’s fairly scholarly, and not a light read. Morris begins with the death of the viking king Cnut, who ruled England for almost 20 years, then describes the path by which Edward the Confessor becomes king, and leads to the reasons why William of Normandy might feel he had a claim on the throne of England.

Then the story of the Battle of Hastings, followed by two decades of struggle between the English and the Norman occupiers. The narr
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What is the definition of Popular Fiction? 1 6 Dec 07, 2014 08:20AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation
  • The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England
  • The Black Prince: England's Greatest Medieval Warrior
  • The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors
  • The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, The Power Behind Five English Thrones
  • The Wars of the Roses
  • Summer of Blood: The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
  • Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty
  • Crusaders: The Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Lands
  • Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England
  • Athelstan: The Making of England
  • The Borgias: The Hidden History
  • Matilda: Empress, Queen, Warrior
  • Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
  • Pax Romana
  • Viking Britain
  • The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings
  • Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom
See similar books…

News & Interviews

From independent presses, to tales in translation, to critical darlings and new debut novels, these books (all published in the U.S. this year)...
45 likes · 3 comments
“The English remained paralysed by their own rivalries until the following April, at which point Æthelred made an invaluable contribution to the war effort by dropping dead, clearing the way for Edmund to succeed him.” 3 likes
“Indeed, the point of the famous story about the king and the waves, as originally told, was not to illustrate his stupidity, but rather to prove what a good Christian he had been. ‘Let all the world know’, says a damp Cnut, having conspicuously failed to stop the tide from rising, ‘that the power of kings is empty and worthless, and there is no king worthy of the name save Him by whose will heaven, earth and sea obey eternal laws.’2” 2 likes
More quotes…