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Norman Knight AD 950-1204 (Warrior) Paperback – March 25, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Insights into the real lives of history's fighting men, packed with full colour illustrations, highly detailed cutaways, exploded artwork of weaponry and armour, and action-packed battle scenes.

About the Author

Chris Gravett is a former Senior Curator at the Royal Armouries, Tower of London, and a recognised authority on the arms, armour and warfare of the medieval world. He has worked as an advisor for numerous TV and film productions, and has written many books for Osprey. He currently works as a curator at Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.
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Product Details

  • Series: Warrior (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (March 25, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855322870
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855322875
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,113,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tierni H. Moore on June 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an excellent book for my research. It depicts everything from articles of clothing to chain mail, scale armor and the varying saddles and horses used. Weapons are covered along with with the evolution of the knight, and the protective devices formed for themselves and their horses. Not only did the author take the time to describe each weapon or piece of equipment, but the illustrator has wonderfully depicted pictures that allow you to actually understand with full clarity was is being described. Loved reading this one, and an excellent resource for most ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
This Warrior Osprey title remains, despite its age (it was first published in 1993), a good overview on the “technical” aspects and components of an early medieval knight up to the 13th century, and a Norman knight in particular.

The historical background and chronology are short, but the main events and evolutions are pointed out, apart from one glitch. The author seems to have confused Robert Guiscard with one of his elder brothers (William or Humphrey or Onfroi in old French?). He was not present at Monte Maggiore in 1041 against the Byzantines because he only arrived in Southern Italy six years later.

The “technical” aspects – clothes, mail, helmets, lance, sword, spurs, horses and so on – are presented in a clear and concise way, together with the training, logistics, motivations and tactics used by Norman knights (and more generally “Franks”) from about 950 to 1204. A good feature is to show how the various pieces of equipment slowly evolved over time. Another key piece is to show the role of the “young” knights, meaning those that had not yet established themselves and acquired land, as opposed to being necessarily young in age. A further piece of interest, presented especially in the sections on “Motivation” and “Logistics”, is to show that pitched battles were rather exceptional and avoided where possible in medieval warfare and to explain the reasons for this.

Also valuable is the section presenting short summaries of some of the main tactics used during some of the most noteworthy engagements fought by Norman knights. Another interesting piece was to single out Bohemond and present a short summary of the eventful and adventurous career of the first Prince of Antioch.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Wanderer on April 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Osprey range of military history books have an excellent reputation for detail and accuracy, and "Norman Knight, AD 950-1204" by Christopher Gravett does not disappoint. Although the book is only 64 pages long, it contains a wealth of information regarding the equipment, training and tactics of the knight as they developed from the end of the Viking period through until the early 13th century.

The documentary and archaeological evidence for this period is sparse to say the least, but Gravett draws all the available sources together in a convincing and remarkably comprehensive fashion. Certainly you will not this level of detail in any of the standard texts on the period. Context is provided by a timeline and by black and white photographs of contemporary artefacts and documentary illustrations, which appear on almost every page. What really helps the reader in visualising the knight's appearance, however, are the centre pages - 12 full colour plates - which contain artists' impressions of the knight and his equipment - helmet, mail, shield, sword and horse - as they changed over the course of this period. Unfortunately the bibliography provided is short and somewhat out of date, as it lists no works later than 1989 ("Norman Knight" was originally published in 1993 and has not been revised since), which means that there are limited opportunities to do further reading and discover more, but this is only a minor failing.

All in all, "Norman Knight" is a concise, readable and highly informative guide to this medieval warrior. For me, as someone currently writing a historical novel set in the period, this book has proved to be an indispensable guide to understanding not just the knight's arms and armour but also his motivation. Any armchair military historian will find this a fascinating and accessible insight into the warfare of the time.
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