The Anglo-Saxons at War (Book) Review
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books Ltd
Author: Paul Hill
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There is not an enormous amount of information from this war-like society, and they remain somewhat mysterious. Paul Hill does an excellent job compiling and summarizing historical documents about this time period. He does his best to stick to the facts, but (rightfully) does not dismiss tales and poems as sources of information. What the reader gets is an easy-to-follow interpretation of how and why the Anglo-Saxons fought their enemies… and each other.
The book is fairly concise (200 pages), and it is organized by topic, rather than chronologically. This makes it fairly easy to read in whatever order you choose. It also includes a handy index so that you jump to whatever section interests you at that moment. From the weapons and tactics they used, to specific battles like Ashdown and Hastings, to the reasons why the culture was so war-like and unstable, the book explores sources like the Bayeux Tapestry and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to provide a clear picture of what went on during this brutal period.
The book works well as an introduction to those who are interested but have not put a lot of study into the topic. It also works well as a high-level discussion of sources and what can be inferred and theorized from them. Either way, you will come away from this book with a greater understanding of the Anglo-Saxons and their culture of war.
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