1066: The Year of the Conquest

1066: The Year of the Conquest


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140058505
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1981
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 187,378
Product dimensions: 5.07(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Howarth was a British officer and spymaster during World War II. He was the author of 1066, Lord Nelson, Tahiti, and The Voyage of the Armada. He died in 1991.

Table of Contents

England - New Year's Day
Death of a King - January 4
Coronation - January 5
Rouen - January 10
The Comet - April 18
Normandy - Spring
Norway - Summer
North Wind - August 10-September 12
York - September 20-25
The English Channel - September 28
The Challenge - October 3-13
Hastings - October 14
London - Otober 15-December 25
England - New Year's Eve
Sources and Acknowledgments

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1066: The Year of the Conquest 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While a previous reviewer may or may not be correct in deciding that Howarth is an unskilled writer, I can tell you this. While I relate somewhat in having been born and raised not far from Hastings in England, I dropped History in high school because it bored me much of the time. Having what I considered a terribly dry history teacher certainly could not have helped. Yet when I picked this book up in a Barnes & Noble in Michigan I read the first 3 pages and realized I had to buy it to finish it. Which I did, and very easily too. This book has the all the elements it needs to put you there, and I think much of it could be turned into a movie of epic proportions and still remain fairly accurate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be historically informative concerning the events leading up to and including the invasion. Howarth presents enough detail to feed a mind hungry for historical knowledge while avoiding unnecessay minutia. I enjoyed the book so much I began a further quest for knowledge of medieval rulers. I would recommend you have a map of England handy when you read the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this information so much I carried it with me. I ran to it like I do a good historical fiction. It is short and full of the most likely interpretations and it isn't burdened with the less likely opinions or possibilites. David Howarth's brings all the characters to life and I was interested in everyone. And I found the ancient military tactics fascinating.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Howarth does a fine job of telling the human story behind the Conquest. He does not try to put 20th century motivations into individuals living in the 11th century. It is eye-opening to read of the chaos as the claimants for the English throne struggled for the prize, The writer is honest about his own sympathies and that adds even more humanity to what could have been a dry account.
kant1066 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
The year 1066 is so important, so vital to the course of European history, but somehow we manage to reduce it to ¿the Battle of Hastings.¿ That is largely what I was expecting with this short history by David Howarth, a popular historian better known for his takes on more recent history, including World War II and the Battle of Trafalgar. But the most popular battle of the Norman invasion takes up only one chapter of the book, with much of the rest providing a cultural and social history within which you can get a better understanding of the historical arc of the entire year.Before Howarth jumps into any history, however, he gives sets up a picture of daily life in a village called Horstede, which happens to be where King Harold first learned about William¿s invasion across the English Channel. A rudimentary description of the feudal system is given in the first few chapters replete with earls and thanes. We get a discussion of English and Norman politics, including William¿s motive to invade in the first place, a topic which requires some psychological second-guessing. Howarth seems to think that Edward had somehow promised William the throne in the last years of his life, and was nonplussed when Harold was immediately selected by the Witenagemot, the Anglo-Saxon advisory council that served the king. And to confuse political matters even more, there is another Harald ¿ Harald Hardrada, King of Norway (but note the difference in spelling) ¿ who also thought that he had a solid claim to the throne, and was invited to invade English by Harold¿s estranged brother Tostig, earl of Northumbria. Harald Hardrada and Tostig both die in what is maybe the penultimate battle of the Norman invasion, the Battle of Stamford Bridge. I said ¿historical arc¿ above because in the year 1066, Edward the Confessor dies (January 5th), Harold takes the thrown on the very same day, the Norman invasion is won and lost, and William ¿the Conqueror¿ takes the thrown again on December 25th. That¿s three monarchs in one year ¿ and four if you count the fifteen-year-old Edgar the Aetheling, who held the throne for about two months before being forced to remit it to William. That¿s a busy year. This isn¿t model academic history. There are no footnotes, and there is a lot more conjecture ¿ sometimes couched in the language of verifiable historical record ¿ than I am usually comfortable with. I would approach this as I would any book of popular history: take it with a grain of salt and depending on how interested you are in the subject, consult more scholarly sources. My only complaint about the book is that there is quite a bit of detailed battle strategy (this flank was left exposed, a certain person went Berserk at Stamford Bridge) which I think could have been put to better use in explaining the politics or cultural life; these parts didn¿t hold my interest as much. But for all of that, it is engagingly written, and serves as a nice foot in the door for those who want to learn about the major events and the important near-contemporary historians (like William of Malmesbury) through which we know much of what happened that year.
Peleiades44 on LibraryThing 2 days ago
Well-written and easy to understand, this book is a good introduction to the Norman Invasion but it is not without its flaws. Of course, when it comes to events that happened so long ago it's always hard to know exactly what happened and sources often conflict, but Howarth relies a lot on conjecture and seems, at least to me, to be incredibly biased. In the end, his whole thesis seems to be that the "Normans were a terrible, no-good, really bad folk. They were cowardly, greedy and stupid and their victory had nothing to do with careful planning, manpower or intelligence but was merely the result of a multitude of random coincidences that could not have been foreseen or planned for" ... which may be the case, but I doubt it. After reading this book I just felt annoyed and unsatisfied and I plan on looking for another book about this period which I hope will treat the subject a bit more fairly.
Stbalbach on LibraryThing 2 days ago
The events of 1066 cast a large shadow over the past 1000 years. It's easy to mythologize what it was like at the time, to make the actors and period heroic. In a popular history, Howarth resists this tendency and rather brings it down to a personal scale in a believable way without going to the other extreme of dullness. He has the feel of an amateur historian, but in the best sense, mixing professional practices with colorful narrative stories. Although Howarth's analysis often feels simple, it is expedient and reasonable given the lack of sources. The simplicity and directness of the people he writes about matches his writing style. History here has no overarching theory or grand design, it is a series of contingencies, one after the next, that create the whole. In the end, it was mostly "luck" that made William the Conqueror, according to Howarth. Although this is the most detailed account of 1066 I have read, I am familiar with some aspects Howarth missed entirely. For example, an arrow in the eye is medieval iconography for someone who has lied under oath. Howarth doesn't mention this fact, but it challenges the Norman story of Harold's death by arrow in the eye. I'm not sure what is better about 1066, the amazing things we know happened, or the myths and legends surrounding it.
thierry on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This excellent book tells of a very turbulent year during which Harold II ascended to the throne of England, defeated a pretender to his kingdom, Harald Hardrada of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge and was in turn defeated by another pretender to his throne, William the Conqueror of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings. The author invites us to imagine the life of a peasant in southern England describing their life, universe and aspirations while also provides us with insights into the political considerations at the highest levels of the various kingdoms involved in this account. I felt that this top and bottom approach worked quite well, with the point of view of the common man grounding and framing the story and giving it substance. I also enjoyed the political elements ¿ from the consolidation of Harold¿s power, to the justification of the conquest, including the buy-in from the Pope. The contention that the reason for the invasion hinges on a promise made in a time of despair when Harold was shipwrecked in Ponthieu is amazing if true ¿ but it is a conjecture, as rightly pointed out by the author. This book was short and sweet ¿ offering a riveting account of a seminal year in England¿s history.
FarmerCotton More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I'm the first to write a review of this book. David Howarth was a genius at making history interesting and fun without dumbing it down. Learn how England went from an egalitarian monarch (with democratic "moots") to a conquered land invaded by Vikings by way of France. A turning point in history that a young J.R.R. Tolkien argued against in a cheeky debate while he was a schoolboy. What if poor King Harold hadn't been shot in the eye at the Battle of Lewes? History changes on a dime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Astaldoath More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up because of my interest in the Norman conquest of England and wanted to know more that what your world civilization college history class would offer. I have always had a keen interest in history and this book added to my interest in this time period. It was a great overview and made some real good points. David Howarth did a good job describing the events of that year without going into great detail. Overall it was a good read and recommended to people who have interest in the conquest and not looking for something too wordy.