Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Viking Wars: War and Peace in King Alfred's Britain: 789-955” as Want to Read:
The Viking Wars: War and Peace in King Alfred's Britain: 789-955
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Viking Wars: War and Peace in King Alfred's Britain: 789-955

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A history of Britain in the violent and unruly era between the first Scandinavian raids in 789 and the final expulsion of the Vikings from York in 954.

In 865, a great Viking army landed in East Anglia, precipitating a series of wars that would last until the middle of the following century. It was in this time of crisis that the modern kingdoms of Britain were born. In the
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Pegasus Books (first published November 2nd 2017)
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 Viking Wars, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Viking Wars

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  17 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I can't say I enjoyed the narrative in this which at times was pretty confusing.The book is basically a time line following Alfred's reign and those of his descendants through 955.The narrative is backed up by archaeological evidence and what we know of the finds and what potentially they mean to this period in British history and to Alfred's reign and his followers.It goes into everything from Anglo-saxon jewels and viking hoards to religion and battle.It is a scholary account and seemed well r ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Terence by: LRB review
A fascinating account of the political history of the British Isles from the (in)famous Norse raid on Lindisfarne to the death of Eadred, a grandson of Aelfred the Great. The author relies heavily and to good effect on archaeology to supplement the written sources from the period, revealing the essential fragility of the polity Aelfred bequeathed to his children.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book. Full review to follow.

Aelfred's Britain is an excellent book, not confining itself to the period of Alfred's rule but comprehensively offering an account of England from the reign of Alfred's grandfather to the end of the reign of his youngest grandson (King Eadred) in 955. This makes it much more than a book about Alfred and rather a book about Britain and the Vikings just before, after and during The First Viking Age.
Instead of focusing on England and the Vikings, the book c
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this hoping to gain greater context on the period of time leading up to, surrounding, and perhaps following the events of the ongoing Saxon Stories series by Bernard Cornwell. This did all of that and much, much more. I'm not terribly familiar with this time period beyond some surface level basics, but the author is thorough without leaving the reader feeling exhausted and writes in a very easily readable style. It does, at times, wander a bit, but this leaves the book feeling more like a ...more
Kevin Tole
Much has been made of the fact that Alfred is the one medieval English king that still has the epithet ‘Great’ attached permanently to his name. He is seen by the general British populace (or perhaps alone by the English populace) as the king who united the British Isles into a nation of the anglecynn – one nation that was multi-ethnic under one ruler. Max Adams makes it clear through this book that this was not really the case and it wasn’t until his grandson had the reins of power that this st ...more
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible. Do not attempt to read this.

I was looking so forward to this topic but the author simply has not found himself a capable flow. I attempted to endure for the sake of knowledge but it was not possible. He darts in and out of subjects and has no sense of flow.
Susanna Polakov
Opted to stop reading in the middle of the book as couldn't find energy to continue the arduous process of getting through. The aim was to learn the history of England during the Viking age but found the book very heavy-going. The language used is not for amateurs and I also felt swallowed by the difficult-to-pronounce names of places and kings, which all looked the same or very similar. Hope to find other books meeting the purpose but ones that are actually enjoyable to read
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My biggest issue with this book is that it is presented as a history--but it's not. It's an archeological treatise. Which means that instead of engaging with the people and events of the time, the focus is on which sites are most likely to have been where certain battles took place, and what coinage can tell us about the era. Which is fine, if that's what you're looking for ... but that was not what the book claimed to be about.

My other major issue with this book was the manner in which the info
Paul English
Started about couldn’t finish and shelved it at 20%.

Picked the kindle version up in a 99p sale and was excited to get started being interested in both vikings and the early Middle Ages.

Sadly the book just wasn’t what I had expected or hoped it would be. The historical non-fiction I read is mainly focused on the human aspects of the subject so I was expecting to read about Ælfred, the heathen army .. what, we believe, actually happened.

This book was more what was there with lists and dry informa
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Interesting. Primarily an archeological and chronicle analysis. Seeks to refute the idea that a national movement toward "England" started at this time. I have more questions about the minsters.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was readable, informative and enjoyable. I realised I know little about the historical environment in this period (a bit later than I usually look at). I like the arrangement of material, which I thought was very helpful to a non-specialist reader. It was a joy to be reading it while the British Library Anglo-Saxon exhibition was on.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
For the Kindle version: the lack of any editing after what appears to be a lazy pdf to eBook conversion was quite annoying. I guess I might be a picky reader and though most of the words are fairly easy to recognize for what they are (batde, battle; Icings or kangs, kings; Amglo-Saxon, etc.), it is the words and phrases that are new to me that make me pause and look up the correct spelling, sometimes the same old English name will be spelled three different ways in the same paragraph. It gets to ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Smith
Great depth of detailed background to not just Alfred's England and Britain but also before and after.

At times too much detail but this is a historical study and worth the effort.
Jasper Gardner
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly interesting book on a period that often doesn't get paid as much attention to as the later middle ages.
Josh Hay
rated it it was amazing
Jun 12, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jan 07, 2019
Dunkthebiscuit Kendrick
rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2018
Henry Morris
rated it it was amazing
May 09, 2019
Peter Andersson
rated it really liked it
Mar 21, 2018
Celia Martins
rated it really liked it
Mar 17, 2019
rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2018
rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2018
Liam Guilar
rated it really liked it
Nov 22, 2018
rated it really liked it
Oct 01, 2018
rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2018
Chris Wright
rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2018
rated it really liked it
May 27, 2019
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Struggle for Mastery: Britain, 1066-1284
  • From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307
  • Britain After Rome: The Fall and Rise, 400 to 1070
  • Domesday Book: A Complete Translation
  • England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075-1225
  • The Hollow Crown: A History of Britain in the Late Middle Ages
  • The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century
  • Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages
  • Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood: The Rise and Fall of Byzantium, 955 A.D. to the First Crusade
  • The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity
  • Conquest
  • An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409
  • Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford History of England)
  • Turkey: A Short History
  • Charlemagne
  • The Thieves' Opera
  • Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800
  • Edward I
See similar books…
Max Adams is the author of In the Land of Giants as well as a number of other books published in Britain. A university professor, Max lives in the northeast of England.