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The Normans: Power, Conquest and Culture in 11th Century Europe (Hardcover)
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A bold new history of the rise and expansion of the Norman Dynasty across Europe from Byzantium to England
In the eleventh century the climate was improving, population was growing, and people were on the move. The Norman dynasty ranged across Europe, led by men who achieved lasting fame, such as William the Conqueror and Robert Guiscard. These figures cultivated an image of unstoppable Norman success, and their victories make for a great story. But how much of it is true?
In this insightful history, Judith Green challenges old certainties and explores the reality of Norman life across the continent. There were many soldiers of fortune, but their successes were down to timing, good luck, and ruthless leadership. Green shows the Normans’ profound impact, from drastic change in England to laying the foundations for unification in Sicily to their contribution to the First Crusade. Going beyond the familiar, she looks at personal dynastic relationships and the important part women played in what at first sight seems a resolutely masculine world.
About the Author
Judith A. Green is professor emeritus of history at the University of Edinburgh. Her many distinguished works include Henry I and The Aristocracy of Norman England.
“Green is intent on cutting through the chainmail of hype. This is a very serious book that’s bound to delight her academic colleagues.”—Gerard DeGroot, The Times
“This is a faultless study. . . . Throughout, Green tries to pin down the secret of the Normans’ success, but she finds broad conclusions hard to reach because, like many of the most capable conquerors before them, the Normans were chameleons. Wherever they went, they came, they saw, they conquered, then they melted into the background.”—Dan Jones, Sunday Times
“Normans—the culmination of a life’s work as a medieval historian— . . . really gives a flavour of what it means even to try and reconstruct what happened, and how life felt, nearly a millennium ago. . . . A salutary reminder that history very often needs to be rewritten.”—Tim Smith-Laing, Daily Telegraph
“Green’s book is immensely readable and based on impeccable scholarship.”—Tony Barber, Financial Times, “Best summer books of 2022”
“Untangles the mystery of how, as Europe emerged from the Dark Ages, and became richer and more populous, the Normans managed to seize territory right across the continent, from Byzantium to Sicily to England.”—Simon Heffer, The Daily Telegraph ‘Best History Books 2022’
“Power is key to explain the history of the Normans in eleventh-century Europe, so Judith Green argues in her magisterial new book. It offers a compelling analysis of the distinctiveness of each power grab in England and across the Mediterranean.”—Elisabeth van Houts, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge
“An ambitious and modern retelling of the medieval Normans and their culture. Green deploys her encyclopedic knowledge of medieval sources and modern scholarship to challenge existing perceptions on who the Normans thought they were, the places they voyaged to, regions they conquered, and why. Clear, concise and accessible, this book is recommended reading for anyone who is interested in this most fascinating of medieval peoples.”—Charlie Rozier, University of Durham
“Judith Green paints a novel portrait of evolving Norman identity, character, impact and achievement in a bold new perspective. Richly and impressively documented, this lucidly written study weaves together British, continental, Scandinavian, and near-Eastern sources leading to novel, sometimes bold, conclusions.”—Sally N. Vaughn, University of Houston
“A thoughtful and carefully-crafted exploration of the Normans at the height of their medieval power. Judith Green brilliantly writes the Normans in Europe through meticulous research, illuminating the times, places and people that made these exciting and diverse worlds.”—Katherine Weikert, University of Winchester