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Book and a Movie

January 26, 2009

Actually it was dinner and a movie, we went on a date!  Ok, it was two weeks ago now, but it ties into the book which I wanted to write about and have been procrastinating.  So…

I loved reading 1066-Year of the Conquest by David Howarth!  It begins with what life was like in the small country village of Horstede on New’s Year Day and ends with the Christmas Day crowning of William of Normandy as King of England after defeating Harold in the Battle of Hastings and just what that meant for villages such as Horstede.

I like accessible histories such as this one that don’t require you to have a master’s degree in the subject matter to understand what’s going on. I liked Howarth’s citing of contemporary writings of the time and when the source material is conflicting, he tells us what can be learned from the different accounts and how he came to his conclusions, as it is really hard to know exactly what happened almost a thousand years ago. 

I feel like I really got to know Harold and William and though I already knew the outcome, I found myself wishing desperately that Harold could triumph.  It was quite a miracle that William was even able to cross the channel and mount an invasion after having to essentially build (not just assemble) a navy.  After months of waiting he finally got a favorable wind quite late in the fall, after Harold had already disassembled his forces and returned to London only to find out that Harald Hardrada had invaded with his Viking army near York.  After fighting at Stamford Bridge and essentially annihilating Harald’s forces, Harold and the English then had to return south to face William and his army.  And we all know how that turned out.

I never thought a book about 11th-century military history would be a page-turner, but it really was!

*********************

So, I finished that book in the afternoon, and that evening we went to see Valkyrie, another story in which we knew the inevitable outcome from the beginning.  It was a great movie, I love World War II stories, but after that and reading 1066, I really need something with a happy ending!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 26, 2009 9:51 pm

    We’re planning to go see Valkyrie this weekend, for a date no less! I won some free tickets. 😀

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