Historian Marc Morris presents an enjoyable and modern account of the Norman invasion that created the foundation for the English nation. Beginning with the Saxon kings and the constant conflicts besetting England as she fell prey to both Vikings and Normans, Morris lays bare the intrigues and betrayals that marked the Anglo-Saxons' rule. With his silken voice and impeccable timing, narrator Frazer Douglas recounts these events with great familiarity and relish. Morris sets the stage for William the Conqueror's invasion and shows how his hopes for a united Anglo-Norman realm were dashed by rebellions, Viking invasions, and the demands of his fellow conquerors. Listeners will be entertained by this rambunctious look at the most important period of English history.
A riveting and authoritative history of the single most important event in English history: The Norman Conquest.
An upstart French duke who sets out to conquer the most powerful and unified kingdom in Christendom. An invasion force on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans. One of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought.
This new history explains why the Norman Conquest was the most significant cultural and military episode in English history. Assessing the original evidence at every turn, Marc Morris goes beyond the familiar outline to explain why England was at once so powerful and yet so vulnerable to William the Conqueror’s attack; why the Normans, in some respects less sophisticated, possessed the military cutting edge; how William’s hopes of a united Anglo-Norman realm unraveled, dashed by English rebellions, Viking invasions, and the insatiable demands of his fellow conquerors.
This is a tale of powerful drama, repression, and seismic social change: the Battle of Hastings itself; the sudden introduction of castles and the massive rebuilding of every major church; the total destruction of an ancient ruling class. Language, law, architecture, and even attitudes toward life itself were altered forever by the coming of the Normans.
©2012 Marc Morris (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Morris has really done his research here and presents a thoughtful, thorough and supremely interesting account of England before, during and after the Conquest. So the book itself is fantastic.
The narrator, however, is flat-out godawful. He has a pleasing enough voice but he reads the entire book in the same monotone sing-song. A really second-rate, poor job. I had to get past the narrator to finish the otherwise wonderful book.
Dan Jones' "The Plantagenets".
No I would not listen to him again.
One man changed history...The Conqueror
Love to Bungee!!
Audio histories are often chancey proposition. Often a history is only understood when it is READ and the author provides accompanying maps or charts to explain his/her points. Marc Morris's - The Norman Conquest is the exception. Morris takes this obscure history and provides the reader with an easily understood narrative. Frazer Douglas's narration turns it into an outstanding audio experience. Great book, great narration - hard to turn off.
"Thorough and entertaining"
This is an excellent overview of the Norman Conquest, from it's pre-history in the early 11th Century to it's lasting legacy through British History. Morris will be criticised for being pro-Norman, but he does illustrate quite convincingly that Harold's claim to the throne was less than dubious. He's certainly no Norman apologist when it comes to the Harrying of the North and their ruthless political (if not literal) decapitation of the Saxon nobility.
What Morris does manage to do is to incorporate the source material effectively into the narrative. As such, he provides an insight into the way that Historian's handle the contemporaneous accounts of the Conquest whilst turning their author's into characters in their own right.
Frazer Douglas' reading is slightly odd. He has a tendency to ponderous hesitancy and some of his pronunciation of place names is irritating (his rendering of Ely, the Cambridgeshire town, as EE-LIE rather than EE-LEE was particularly poor). Also, his adoption of a 'posh vicar' voice when quoting from the original source material grated after a while.
Good content and structure, but despite the authors promise at the start it is very biased towards a Norman perspective.
In respects of the narrator he is very clear and easy to follow, but it is let down by pronounciation of Danish and old English names and words.
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