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A Brief History of Britain 1066-1485

Brief Histories
Narrated by: Roger Davis
Length: 18 hrs and 1 min
Categories: History, British
4 out of 5 stars (269 ratings)

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Summary

From the Norman Conquest to the Battle of Bosworth Field - how Britain was invaded and became a nation. The first volume in the stunning four-volume Brief History of Britain series. From the Battle of Hastings to the Battle of Bosworth Field, Nicholas Vincent tells the story of how Britain was born. When William, Duke of Normandy, killed King Harold and seized the throne of England, England’s language, culture, politics, and law were transformed.

Over the next 400 years, under royal dynasties that looked principally to France for inspiration and ideas, an English identity was born, based in part upon struggle for control over the other parts of the British Isles (Scotland, Wales, and Ireland), in part upon rivalry with the kings of France. From these struggles emerged English law and an English Parliament, the English language, English humour, and England’s first overseas empires. In this thrilling and accessible account, Nicholas Vincent not only tells the story of the rise and fall of dynasties, but investigates the lives and obsessions of a host of lesser men and women, from archbishops to peasants, and from soldiers to scholars, upon whose enterprise the social and intellectual foundations of Englishness now rest.

This the first book in the four-volume Brief History of Britain which brings together some of the leading historians to tell our nation’s story from the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the present day. Combining the latest research with accessible and entertaining storytelling, it is the ideal introduction for students and general readers.

Nicholas Vincent has published half a dozen books and some fifty academic articles on various aspects of English and European history in the 12th and 13th centuries. He has studied at Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, and Canterbury and now is professor at the University of East Anglia.

©2012 Nicholas Vincent (P)2012 Audible Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Best introduction to medieval history

I read  this book a year ago, yes audible I still read.  I thought it was great so I decided to also get the audiobook. It gives an excellent survey of the period.  The author is clearly an expert in the period.  He is particularly good on the the problem of sources for the period, and that we know far less than we think about the events.  He starts the book by saying the reason medieval historians were so good at code breaking in WW2 was they were use to piecing together a story from fragmentary facts. Some of the coverage of different periods is uneven.  The Norman conquest and the run up to it is given extensive coverage, but some  other periods are skipped over quickly. Religious social and economics factors are also covered, which means the book is covering a lot.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Everything you didn't know

Excellent book filling you in on whys, where, what's and who's of britian ! Had lots of ahhh & ohhhhhh moments - interesting listen

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

A bit dry

A very difficult book to work in Audio. Huge number of facts and names to try to absorb. Whilst it was well read the narrator, understandably being a factual book, was unable to put any emotion into it, subsequently it was rather dry. Found myself drifting away whilst listening to it.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

History made easy

I have enjoyed listening to this book and learning more about a period of history that seems to have had many different interpretations, dependant on whose account was used when you were taught at school!. The reader is a joy to listen to. I am looking forward to listening my way through the rest of history.

5 people found this helpful

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well read and intresting view of our history

very much enjoyed this book, I had heard of lots of the kings and queens but not in the depth provided here

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

a very informative read

if you're wishing to find out about this period, this is a very good book and covers most bases. I recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An essential history lesson

Really enjoyed this book, it is very well read and written in a style that a layman can understand. As someone born of mixed heritage but born in England I felt compelled to learn the history of the nation I was born to... Highly recommended

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

I really enjoyed this book a must for those wanting to learn about English history.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Very dry

A long list of names and dates and deaths punctuated by a few interesting titbits. E.g. the battle of Shrewsbury is described simply by listing the people who died there. I like a bit more flavour.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brief, but somehow very thorough

This book contains a summary of the history of 400 tumultuous years, in which many of the paths leading to the current state of Britain are established. Although brief by title, it is nonetheless thorough, conatianing a wealth of detail of life in Norman and then medieval times. The reading is occasionally rushed, with words piling into each other, but by and large this isn’t too detrimental. Recommended for anyone who’s forgotten ‘1066 & all that’ as taught in school.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Neil Chisholm
  • 23-07-13

Skating over an interesting period of history

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that there is little depth in this book as it is called A Brief History of Britain but I was disappointed at how little depth there was.

I find the conquest and then subjugation of the Britons and Anglo Saxons by the Normans fascinating - the way british collective personality seemed to develop at this time, the tenacity of the english language and the development of democratic government is so interesting but its not discussed in much depth which was frustrating.

The Wars of the Roses was dealt with very curtly and again this was disappointing.

I recommend this book as a primer - theres so much more to discover if you scratch the surface - this book really doesn't scratch very deeply at all.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • BVerité
  • 24-07-13

This is excellent! Very well-done!

I'm not from England, but for some reason I'm obsessed with English history. Despite all the books I've read on the subject, there were definitely a few issues that left me confused. This series of books has a different author for each, who specialize in that particular time frame, with the same fantastic narrator.

This book starts with William the Conqueror and the Norman invasion at the Battle of Hastings; it ends with Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field, where the sketchy Richard III is killed, thus ending the War of the Roses.

Incredibly well-written and well-read! It is a great story and is never dry or boring. If anything, this made me want to read more English history...

Speaking of, I'm starting part two already... It begins with the Tudors and encompasses the religious and political issues of a newer, more modern England.

My highest recommendation for this book and the whole series.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Francis Xavier
  • 13-05-16

Not for beginners

The writing itself assumes you have already got quite a bit of prior knowledge of British history of the period, and of what's coming next, and it's often matter-of-fact tone doesn't help distinguish the important parts from the asides. Found myself having to research quite a bit on Wikipedia around the subjects. Good narrator however.