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The Battle of Hastings Hardcover – August 9, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Npi Media Ltd (August 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075091291X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750912914
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,525,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Bradbury taught history at West London Institute of Higher Education (now Brunel University College) before taking early retirement in order to devote himself to writing. He has written widely on medieval military history, including 'Stephen and Matilda' (The History Press). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Toby Joyce on August 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Battle of Hastings was a key turning point in the history of Northern Europe. Together with the Battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge, this trilogy of battles enabled the great civilization that was coming into being in Western Europe penetrate into the British Isles, when at that time were culturally and economically part of Scandanavia. Bradbury's account is the best that I have read - it is clear, concise but detailed enough to satisfy anyone who wants to find out more about the climactic battle of 1066. I loved the way he used the Bayeux Tapestry right through as a reference document. Many accounts (and I would include Frank McLynn's recent '1066 - Year of Three Battles'), use the tapestry as a secondary source only, a sure sign of the tyranny of the written word! Yet the Tapestry was made within at least twenty years of the battle on the order of one of the major participants (Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the Conqueror's half-brother). It is therefore perhaps the prime source for the battle. It is also a significant document on the weapons and tactics used, besides being a prime work of art! You feel that Bradbury is judicious and discerning on the major puzzles - Did Harold swear an oath to William? Did Edward support William's succession? What use did the English make of horses? How did Harold die? Did the Normans win the battle with a 'feigned flight'? How did the Normans use their archers? Where were the English archers? Anyone with an interest in medieval politics and military history should have this book on their shelves.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Atheen M. Wilson on October 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Professor Bradbury (formerly of Brunel University, London) has definitely written a first rate work on one of the defining moments of history, the battle at Hastings between Harold Godwinson, made king of England by the nobility at Edward the Confessor's death, and a rival claimant, Duke William of Normandy. More than any other account, this one clarifies the entire situation surrounding the famous Norman Conquest.

The author discusses the political situations of both Normandy and England prior to Edward's death, so that the reader is well prepared to understand and evaluate events. The lineages of both Edward and William are discussed, leaving the reader aware of the precarious nature of the political situation of their times.

Left in a power vacuum by the retreat of Rome from the affairs of Western Europe, both France and England had to came to grips with the turmoil left in the wake of this abandonment. Nothing was guaranteed, every thing was questioned and challenged, and the-last-man-standing was often the method of determining who was "the rightful" king. If nothing else, the Battle of Hastings and its immediate aftermath brought some degree of political and cultural stability and set the feet of Europe on a path to a more structured and predictable world.

Professor Bradbury ably discusses the sources for the period and gives an honest estimate of their value to the historians that use them. For those unfamiliar with how history is "done," this will give you an insight into the process and a good standard when evaluating the works of other historians you read. It also allows the reader to evaluate the certainty of what is understood as "true." It definitely shows how flexible history can be and the degree to which interpretation shapes it.
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By John P. on February 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story was very informative for me, a novice whose ancestors fought in the battle but never had bothered to get any of the details.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Goldry Bluzco on December 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I wanted to learn something about this pivotal battle in British history. Unfortunately, the discussion of the battle itself does not take place until Chapter 7, or about 60% into the book. The preceding 6 chapters are an eye glazing account of who begat whom in medieval England and Normandy, endless dynastic struggles and intrigues and a discussion of the weaponry of the time, which I found mildly interesting. Speaking as an American, I think a good analogy would be if one were to buy a book on the Battle of Gettysburg, only to find that it began with the American Revolution and went into great detail about the history of slavery and the extension of that institution into the new territories and the internecine political battles that ensued through the first half of the 19th century and only then does a brief account of Gettysburg follow. Surprisingly, Mr. Bradbury only devotes a single chapter to the battle itself. Quite disappointing really. I found the work of reading this book hardly worth the effort. And to add to my frustration I then learned that there is so much that is unknown about the battle, such as where it actually took place (on a hill a mile or so from Battle Abbey?), what types of forces and strategies were employed, how Harold died (arrow in the eye or sword cuts?), where was the Malfosse?, and other important details. I suppose I cannot fault the author for this lack of specificity since he has to work with the materials that have come down to us, but, in truth, the pages devoted to the battle would suffice for a magazine article. One interesting fact that did strike me is that William the Conqueror is said to have never returned to the battlefield in later years. Perhaps he was simply too busy consolidating his power or perhaps he wasn't the nostalgic sort, either way it is a telling fact. In the end, I simply cannot recommend this book. One can learn as much, and perhaps quite a bit more, through an online search.
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