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Why Alfred Burned the Cakes | [David Horspool]

Why Alfred Burned the Cakes

When the BBC conducted their Greatest Briton poll, Alfred the Great was the only king to make it into the top twenty. One can be sure that the story of the cakes left to burn by a disguised monarch on the run was what most veters remembered about him. For a long time, the legend of the burnt cakes was only one of dozens of stories that were associated with the King and his time.
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Publisher's Summary

When the BBC conducted their Greatest Briton poll, Alfred the Great was the only king to make it into the top 20.

One can be sure that the story of the cakes left to burn by a disguised monarch on the run was what most veters remembered about him. For a long time, the legend of the burnt cakes was only one of dozens of stories that were associated with the King and his time.

Alfred's historical achievements - saving his kingdom from invasion, attempting both to expand and educate his realm - and the way his story was told from the beginning, combined to make him the founding mythic figure of England.

In stripping away the fables, historians have left an Alfred whose place in the popular imagination has all but vanished, and which is here restored. David Horspool offers a memorable portrait of a great ruler - he attempts to recover a popular Alfred, understand how he came to be 'Great' and how much myth had to do with that.

©2007 David Horspool; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

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