Great Tales from English History: The Truth about King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More [NOOK Book]

Overview

With insight, humor and fascinating detail, Lacey brings brilliantly to life the stories that made England--from Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to Piers the Ploughman.
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Great Tales from English History: The Truth about King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More

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Overview

With insight, humor and fascinating detail, Lacey brings brilliantly to life the stories that made England--from Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to Piers the Ploughman.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759511613
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 6/3/2004
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 186,158
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Great Tales From English History


By Robert Lacey

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2003 Robert Lacey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-10910-X


Chapter One

CHEDDAR MAN

c.7150 bc

THERE WAS A TIME, AS RECENTLY AS NINE thousand years ago, when the British Isles were not islands at all. After the bleakness of the successive ice ages, the south-eastern corner of modern England was still linked to Europe by a wide swathe of low-lying marshes. People crossed to and fro, and so did animals - including antelopes and brown bears. We know this because the remains of these creatures were discovered by modern archaeologists in a cave in the Cheddar Gorge near Bristol. Scattered among numerous wild horse bones, the scraps of bear and antelope had made up the larder of 'Cheddar Man', England's oldest complete skeleton, found lying nearby in the cave with his legs curled up under him.

According to the radiocarbon dating of his bones, Cheddar Man lived and died around 7150 bc. He was a member of one of the small bands of hunter-gatherers who were then padding their way over the soft forest floors of north-western Europe. The dry cave was his home base, where mothers and grandmothers reared children, kindling fires for warmth and lighting and for cooking the family dinner. We don't know what language Cheddar Man spoke. But we can deduce that wild horsemeat was his staple food and that he hunted his prey across the grey-green Mendip Hills with traps, clubs and spears tipped with delicately sharpened leaf-shaped flints.

Did Cheddar Man have a name of his own? A wife or children? Did he have a god to whom he prayed? The answers to all these basic questions remain mysteries. Bone experts tell us that he was twenty-three or so when he died - almost certainly from a violent blow to his head. So our earliest semi-identifiable ancestor could have been a battle casualty, or even a murder victim. And since the pattern of cuts on his bones is the same as the butcher's cuts made on the animal bones around him, we are confronted with another, still more gruesome possibility - that our early ancestors were cannibals. According to some archaeologists, the reason why so few human skeletons survive from these post-ice-age years is because relatives must have eaten the dead, cracking up the bones to suck out the nourishing marrow inside.

As we set out to explore the past, we should keep in mind the first rule of history: the things that we don't know far outnumber the things that we do. And when we do unravel secrets, the results seldom fit in with our own modern opinions of how life should be.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Great Tales From English History by Robert Lacey Copyright © 2003 by Robert Lacey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2004

    English History As It Was Meant To Be

    These tales are the 'precious stones set in a Silver sea' of English history. And Robert Lacey is a master historian ~~ one of the best Britain has to offer civiliazation today. Each tale is told simply with enthusiasm in a style that is 'Anglo-Saxon' ~ simple, clear & precise. A pleasant book & one I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for the footnotes to the historical events of England's Middle Ages.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Erroneous listing

    Do not order the Nook version of this book; you'll get a totally different book, albeit by the same author! I brought this to B&N's attention, but after more than a year, it's still not corrected.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted January 23, 2010

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