The Normans: From Raiders to Kings

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings

4.0 72
by Lars Brownworth

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There is much more to the Norman story than the Battle of Hastings. These descendants of the Vikings who settled in France, England, and Italy - but were not strictly French, English, or Italian - played a large role in creating the modern world. They were the success story of the Middle Ages; a footloose band of individual adventurers who transformed the face of…  See more details below


There is much more to the Norman story than the Battle of Hastings. These descendants of the Vikings who settled in France, England, and Italy - but were not strictly French, English, or Italian - played a large role in creating the modern world. They were the success story of the Middle Ages; a footloose band of individual adventurers who transformed the face of medieval Europe. During the course of two centuries they launched a series of extraordinary conquests, carving out kingdoms from the North Sea to the North African coast.
In The Normans, author Lars Brownworth follows their story, from the first shock of a Viking raid on an Irish monastery to the exile of the last Norman Prince of Antioch. In the process he brings to vivid life the Norman tapestry’s rich cast of characters: figures like Rollo the Walker, William Iron-Arm, Tancred the Monkey King, and Robert Guiscard. It presents a fascinating glimpse of a time when a group of restless adventurers had the world at their fingertips.

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"Lars Brownworth's The Normans is like a gallop through the Middle Ages on a fast warhorse. It is rare to find an author who takes on a subject so broad and so complex, while delivering a book that is both fast-paced and readable." ---Bill Yenne, author of Julius Caesar

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Crux Publishing
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The Normans: From Raiders to Kings 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Bookhobbit More than 1 year ago
Lars Brownworth has written an interesting and detailed history of the Normans that goes far, far beyond what I learned about the Norman invasion in 1066. I am woefully ignorant of much of European history, especially history in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.  As a result, I found this book interesting and informative.  An added bonus is that the information is written in a very readable manner; it isn't dull or overly detailed.  For the casual historical reader or amateur history buff, this is an excellent source on a group of people who had a tremendous effect on western European society.
SQuinnsar More than 1 year ago
Nice change of pace to see a history book on Free Friday. I'm a bit of a history nerd and I can't put this one down. The Norman story is chock full of larger than life characters who parade past in fascinating sketches. There's more to the Normans than just 1066! If you like his style, the author also has a book on the Byzantines which is good as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delighted to find something other than the typical romance drivel being offered on Free Fridays -- hip hip!
casual2atee More than 1 year ago
It was great to see a non-fiction, history book hit the Free Friday shelves. It shouldn't be assumed that there isn't a following for all types of genres when choosing the Free Friday selection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a perfect primer for anyone wanting to understand the Middle Ages in Europe. Brownworth's skill is in tying up disparate events to make a grand narrative that reads as good as any piece of fiction. With deft vocabulary and plot twists that would make a writer of creative non-fiction jealous, Brownworth brings to life a period in Western civilization that is often overlooked. I had no idea how strong the Roman Empire remained once it moved to Byzantium. The sections detailing the rise of papal authority are fascinating. Who knew the Pope had his own military? The best part of the book is seeing the transformation of the Normans, themselves, from bloodthirsty Vikings to landholders seeking respectability in an increasingly Christianized Western Europe. It's amazing to see how close Western civilization was to remaining in the Dark Ages forever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be interesting and well written. My interest was captivated from the start and I find myself on an interesting journey of history while reading this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoy a wide variety of subjects and read this from cover to cover. Not preachy, but gives you an overall view of history without being boring.
AnastasiaAB More than 1 year ago
Well researched, well written - great read!
JohnBellJB More than 1 year ago
It's nice to read well written history. A flowing, conversational narrative that unlocks an overlooked bit of history. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Presented in a very readable manner- it's like reading a novel with fascinating characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was pleased to read this advance (in ebook form) copy of THE NORMANS: FROM RAIDERS TO KINGS by Lars Brownworth; published by Crux Publishing Ltd. in the UK. Not being familiar with Mr. Brownworth, I did a bit of preliminary research on the author before I started. Mr. Brownworth is an author, speaker, historian and teacher. He has written 3 books, LOST TO THE WEST: THE FORGOTTEN BYZANTINE EMPIRE THAT RESCUED WESTERN CIVILIZATION; 12 BYZANTINE RULERS: THE HISTORY OF THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE, and THE NORMANS: FROM RAIDERS TO KINGS. A new book, THE SEA WOLVES: A HISTORY OF THE VIKINGS is due in the fall of 2014. He attracted attention for his book, 12 BYZANTINE RULERS, and a subsequent podcast of this material. I listened to several episodes of the podcast (which is free on ITunes) and became very interested in the material and Mr. Brownworth's presentation of the material. I noticed that Mr. Brownworth had a podcast of THE NORMANS and I began listening before I started reading the book. It is very easy to follow along with the podcast - Mr. Brownworth's delivery and mastery of the material created a very interesting and enjoyable history lesson. I greatly recommend the podcast: if you like audio; if you are interested in a summary only and if you don't mind the absence of visuals and access points. I like and recommend visuals and access points. There is nothing like a good map or footnote to get me excited and I began (as I always do) with the cover. The cover is a portrait/model of a Norman knight slightly in the background of the Bayeux Tapestry (a tapestry from the 11th century which depicts the events leading up to the Norman Conquest). This is fabulous cover art and the picture with its very mellow color tones, welcomed me into the book. The book contains many excellent access points, also, that guide the reader throughout his/her reading. IThey include maps; lists of personages, places and terms; a prologue and epilogue; a brief explanation of the Papal States and Romans, Holy Romans and Byzantines; a list of various dynasties and emperors; a family tree of the House of Hauteville; a table of contents and a general introduction. Detailed footnotes and a bibliography of primary sources and more modern works follow the text. I would have used an index, but an index was not included. I think the very detailed information and the many people and places to keep track of warranted an index. The writing style is very conversational and is easy to follow. Any information that requires added explanation is footnoted. I felt as though the author was speaking directly to me and offering me very personal information about these people, places and events. Though I am no expert on Norman source material, the bibliography seemed very extensive and I did look at several of the sources online. THE NORMANS is a book full of fascinating details. I began taking notes instantly in the hope of keeping all the people, places and events straight in my mind and soon had a small notebook full of notes and questions. I often read THE NORMANS with other reference books at hand which were helpful in their visuals. Visuals/illustrations compliment a text and would have been a welcome addition here. Would I recommend this book to anyone? Absolutely. History is about PEOPLE and Mr. Brownworth helped these people from the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries come alive with his research and writing. In knowing about and understanding them, I think we understand a bit more about ourselves. A must-read for any history enthusiast.
JBR24 More than 1 year ago
Really interesting book.  Glad I gave this one a shot- very readable with the right amount of detail.  I would have liked a few more pictures, but the maps were helpful. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never cared for history when it was a list of dates and names.... Mr Brownsworth has made that history come alive as he artfully weaves stories and characters in his book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thrilled to see a free friday offering that is something other than romance or fantasy easy and informative
RCCnLA More than 1 year ago
This book won't help you much if you are trying to fill in the background for the History Channel's "Vikings" series, but it really expanded my knowledge of how things worked in the Med for many centuries before more modern times. This was an easy read and enjoyable narrative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rather enjoyed this book on a comparatively underexplored subject matter of European history and now have greater appreciation of the role of the Normans in European history beyond 1066.
jea66 More than 1 year ago
Very readable and well researched. I confess I enjoy reading about this time period, but the book is well worth one's time and $$$$$ if one is at all interested.
Bridgette0 More than 1 year ago
This book was not only well written but was extremely interesting--not an ordinary history type book. Having always been interested in the Normans, I learned a good deal that I did not know.
nookreader1248 More than 1 year ago
recent viking series on cable ties right in with understanding how that ties into early England. Enjoyed reading
BobCathy More than 1 year ago
This book is no dry dusty history tome. It is a moving along story line of a mostly ignored period of history. The author gave life to the people portrayed, showing their true selves as they were, both good and bad. Lars Brownworth failed to fall into the sin of romanticizing either the subject or the characters within, which made for an interesting and entertaining read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great. A well-written and entertaining look at a certain time in history. Not a textbook, you will find yourself rolling alongside these historic figures. I learned SO much without felling I was in a lecture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was hard to put this book down as it reads like a story.    I had recently wondered if the Viking conquest of England contributed to England's pursuit of its empire and this book helped with that question.  The Viking influence was explained in a surprisingly easy to understand narrative.  Great book.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story worth telling, told well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was fascinating to learn what kind of impact the Normans had on the world. The book was filled with a lot of information but never felt boring.
prospectorBW More than 1 year ago
Well written and informative.