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The Saxon and Norman Kings Paperback – November 28, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0631231318 ISBN-10: 0631231315 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition (November 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631231315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631231318
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,964,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"this classic exploration of the history of English kings and kingship from the sixth to the twelfth centuries..." Bollettino del centro internazionale promozione editoriale <!--end-->

"Brooke romps through the exceptionally long period 450-1154, and his treatment is highly intelligent, witty, and jokey ... a most attractive and learned jeu d'esprit." English Histroical Review

From the Back Cover

First published in 1963, this classic exploration of the history of English kings and kingship from the sixth to the twelfth centuries has now been updated for a new generation of readers. A prologue has been added summarizing changes in modern knowledge and underlining the difference between the history of the 'English people', a phrase of the sixth century, and the kingdom of the English, which only came of age in the tenth. An entirely new chapter discusses queens, including St Margaret, who became queen of Scotland. The bibliography has also been completely revised.

As in previous editions, one of the books most important features is that it is written from the sources inviting readers to reconstruct the story for themselves by engaging in a series of enquiries into, for example, the nature of king-making, the origins of the English kingdoms, and the meaning of the Bayeux tapestry.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Readalots on May 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
"The Saxon and Norman Kings" (2001 hardback) is an interesting and informative inquiry into medieval English rulers. Early on author Christopher Brooke admits that many of the earliest chieftains "are rarely more than a name; but as the centuries pass we find some who have left their mark..." in the pages of history (page 17). The book is well documented with many maps, black and white photos, charts and drawings (but surprisingly few footnotes and no endnotes). It concludes with four helpful royal genealogical tables prior to an extensive index.

Starting with the implosion of Roman Britain (about AD 400) Brooke systematically describes the reign of the Saxon and Norman kings. Originally, English kingship ascended from various regional tribal leaders. It is difficult to say who was the first powerful king (chieftains such as Egbert of Wessex, Ecgfrith of Mercia, Ethelbert of Kent, etc., might vie for the title). This history moves from the earliest Celtic and Saxon chieftains to the final days of Norman King Stephen (1154).

Professor Brooke points out that England's early kings were chosen, but not necessarily elected, by area elites. The "king" then took on the task of protecting the realm from foreign invasion. Later, he learned to levy taxes and lead a growing baronial class. (A woman might be chosen, at least early on, as queen. Sometimes, the queen ascended to power at the death of her kingly husband.)

Brooke speaks to Saxon, and later Norman, realm building. He relates palace, chancery, church, and priory construction. He talks about tax collection and administration.
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