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The Normans: From Raiders to Kings

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings

Escrito por Lars Brownworth

Narrado por James C. Lewis


The Normans: From Raiders to Kings

Escrito por Lars Brownworth

Narrado por James C. Lewis

avaliações:
4.5/5 (52 avaliações)
Comprimento:
7 horas
Editora:
Lançado em:
Oct 28, 2014
ISBN:
9781494576196
Formato:
Audiolivro

Descrição

There is much more to the Norman story than the Battle of Hastings. These descendants of the Vikings who settled in France, England, and Italy-but were not strictly French, English, or Italian-played a large role in creating the modern world. They were the success story of the Middle Ages: a footloose band of individual adventurers who transformed the face of medieval Europe. During the course of two centuries, they launched a series of extraordinary conquests, carving out kingdoms from the North Sea to the North African coast.



In The Normans, Lars Brownworth follows their story, from the first shock of a Viking raid on an Irish monastery to the exile of the last Norman Prince of Antioch. In the process, he brings to vivid life the Norman tapestry's rich cast of characters: figures like Rollo the Walker, William Iron-Arm, Tancred the Monkey King, and Robert Guiscard. The Normans presents a fascinating glimpse of a time when a group of restless adventurers had the world at their fingertips.
Editora:
Lançado em:
Oct 28, 2014
ISBN:
9781494576196
Formato:
Audiolivro


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Avaliações de leitores

  • (4/5)
    If you enjoy English history, you will love this book! Brownworth presents an entertaining, yet informative, look at the Normans. The writer brings humor and panache to the subject matter. The author's narrow focus on one family provides an opportunity for a more intimate view than other works on the Normans. Brownworth's voice as an author is exceptional. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    I like history and reading about history, and reading about viking history is always highly entertaining. Far from the idea that they were a bunch of pirates and raiders, we see that they were also a cunning and resourceful people, as anyone who has read any saga would know.I cannot say how accurate the historical facts are in this book, but it certainly is a very entertaining read, with a lot of information given in a way that it sometimes reads as a story. It is also funny, really, I have laughed more than once while reading the adventures and misadventures of these men.I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the history of medieval Europe and in particular in the history of the Vikings outside of Scandinavia.
  • (4/5)
    I very informative and enjoyable read. I received a digital copy so it took me much longer to read it but it was worth it. This is one of my favorite historical subjects so I was happy to see a book on the topic that was readable for a broader audience. I would recommend this book.
  • (5/5)
    This book sets out to answer the question of how Western Europe, which was developmentally behind the Middle East, rose to dominance over only 2 centuries. It seems that it was due to only a few generations of Normans who quickly transformed themselves from raiders to rulers. Mostly, each chapter follows one colorful character and traces the line of descent. The Normans descended from a Viking named Rollo who occupied northern France. Around 1060, the Hauteville family began to spread from northern France to Italy and beyond to the Crusades. Generations later, the Normans ruled parts of Italy but fought among themselves and succumbed to decadence and lack of heirs.This a fascinating book, far too complicated and detailed to digest in one reading. I will definitely return to it as I read other books about medieval Europe to refresh my memory about the big picture of the Normans. Useful maps and family trees, too.Note: I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Ive always enjoyed a good bit of historical non-fiction, but the early medieval period has mostly passed me by before. I never previously really thought about the Normans outside of William the Conqueror. This book did a very good job of filling that gap. By keeping it's narratives tightly focused on a small handful of Norman dynasties, it deftly manages to demonstrate the impact of the Normans on the wider world.My only quibble, at any point in the book, was the way the Vikings were reduced to simple barbarians, consistently described in animalistic language. What makes this more jarring is that the author has written a similar book about the Vikings (which I'm tempted to pick up). This oversimplification doesn't appear to extend to the other cultures referenced in the book, though, and it really is only a minor quibble.In terms of practical considerations, I'd suggest picking up a paper copy of this book. The maps were too small to read on an ereader (though may be easier to see on a computer or tablet screen) and it was frustrating having all the family trees at the beginning, rather than by the relevant chapters.If you're looking to get a better sense of early medieval europe, or to put certain historical figures into a wider context, then I thoroughly recommend The Normans. I don't know if it would be of much use to someone already immersed in the period, but coming to it from the outside it was very informative.
  • (3/5)
    This was a very easy to read book but its very readability makes it feel less authoritative. It would not claim, I think, to be anything other than an overview of the period but the style makes it seem more like a novel than a non-fiction book. There was a feeling that the author picked out the interesting and exciting bits and glossed over the rest, which gave me a false impression of the passing of the years.
  • (4/5)
    I love history and I love historical books. This one did not let me down. It's a wonderful read.
  • (4/5)
    I found this book to be a very interesting read. I knew very little, if anything, about the Normans before picking it up. Brownworth is a good writer, and I felt he does a great job bringing the history of the Normans to life. I found myself becoming invested in many of the characters; indeed, it almost feels like reading a novel. Overall, I liked this book and felt that it provided a great overview of a people and an era that I had had scant exposure to previously.
  • (3/5)
    Lars Brownworth's book is very well-written and its actually quite easy to read. I received this book from the publisher as an early reviewer book. In the book, Mr. Brownworth covers the entire history of the Normans from the first Viking raid in Ireland in 885 AD to around the middle of the 12 century which was when other forces became much more powerful, The book covers two centuries of European history. The Normans were surprisingly effective in setting up prosperous communities wherever they managed to settle during their heyday. They were also not afraid to shed much blood and they made a very profound statement in England, France and Italy in particular. All the legendary names are here such as William the Conqueror, Tancred the Monkey King, Robert Guiscard, Bohemond and many more. Many Viking descendents became Kings and nobility in Europe and they were a force to be reckoned with as they pillaged and battled their way from northern Europe to the northern part of Africa. Many current monarchies are direct descendents of these Norsemen. This book is definitely a wonderful primer for anyone who wants to familiarize themselves with this very important piece of history.
  • (5/5)
    The Normans, from Raiders to Kings, by Lars Brownworth, is a fascinating book! It grabs your attention like a good thriller and holds it tightly while Brownworth tells exciting stories about raiding Vikings, warring fiefdoms and feudal states, popes and emperors, from the North Sea to North Africa, Palermo to Constantinople, and how they were formed into a European identity and by whom. Stories and anecdotes about well-known personalities - William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, Pope Urban II, Frederick II Barbarossa and Edward the Confessor, for example, and not so well-known individuals - Ethelred the Unready, Tancred of Lecce (the Monkey King,) Robert Guiscard (the Crafty) and many more are told with verve and occasional laugh-out-loud humor. Many people's knowledge of the Normans doesn't extend much beyond the role of William the Conqueror in the England of 1066. That story is, indeed, covered in fascinating detail. (For example, did you know that when William died, he was so fat that his body would not fit into his crypt and burst when it was forced in anyway?) However, The Normans expands that knowledge to include the effect they had on the Holy Roman Empire, on the French, the Italians, the Arabs in North Africa and on the eastern Byzantine Empire. The linkage between the stories is maintained by focusing on the de Hauteville family, who played an outsized role in affecting the direction of European civilization. Tancred de Hauteville was a poor Norman knight who fathered twelve sons, including William the Iron-Arm, who killed the Emir of Syracuse in single combat by nearly slicing him in half with a single blow, and Robert Guiscard, who captured Pope Leo IX after the pope raised an army and led the battle himself against those pesky Normans. These twelve sons and their sons became Kings of Sicily, Counts and Dukes of Apulla (the region of southern Italy that includes the "heel" of the boot), founded a crusader city - the Principality of Antioch, and almost overthrew the Byzantine Empire!The book covers the personalities and events of the Viking raids, the 1st through the 5th crusades, the treaties, the battles and conspiracies of the Middle Ages. These were two centuries in which the Normans changed the nature of Europe, particularly the 75 years during which the de Hautevilles tamed the battling factions and proved themselves to be excellent kings as well as warriors. Oh, that school history books were written as interestingly as The Normans.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • (4/5)
    The NormansI received this ebook free from the publisher through Library Thing Early Reviewers, in exchange for an honest review. A popular history that chronicles the rise and fall of the Normans, the powerful early European rulers descended from Viking raiders. Concise and delivered in an easy to follow chronology, with each chapter outlining contributions of major Norman rulers and knights, such as Tancred, and William the Conqueror. This is not a scholarly work, and is not as in-depth as an undergrad history text, but the author does a fine job of explaining the importance of Norman rule in Medieval Europe, making this an excellent beginning for those who wish to move on to more specific aspects of the Norman Dynasty, or for those who simply would like to familiarize themselves with an important aspect of European history.There is much written here concerning the politics of early Europe, such as the interplay between the Normans and the Holy Roman Empire, Islam, The Byzantine Empire, and the Papal State. This book is highly recommended for its easy to follow style, and abundant historical information, and I believe that the Normans should be the first book assigned to History undergrads who are learning about the Normans, as it offers a concise, to the point introduction to this important era in medieval European history.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting history of the Normans and their roles in France, England, Germany, Italy, Sicily and the Crusades.
  • (3/5)
    It's taken me some time to work through this book, and thus to write this review. I found the book to be well-written and informative, but it didn't delve as deeply as I might have liked as a scholar. It still provides a decent introduction to aspects of the Normans that may not be well-known, in a format that made the information easy to digest and understand.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as part of an early review giveaway, but all opinions presented here are purely my own.
  • (4/5)
    A popular history of the Northmen (Vikings) influence on Europe primarily during a two century period in the Middle Ages. I was aware of the Viking roots of Normandy in France, but had not known they spread into Italy, Sicily, Byzantium, and North Africa, as well as the better known 1066 invasion of England. Brownworth provides a well-written, and adequately researched, narrative of a brutal, cunning, and violence-prone people, who profoundly influenced the boundaries of Europe and Western law development. Lots of fascinating characters; the occasional love story; and war, war, war. All of the Norman kings in Sicily were highly educated and spoke many languages. The last one was a religious skeptic and scientist. This was a fun and easy read, but I would have liked to see more about the intellectual and governmental contributions of this fractious tribe.Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through an early reader program, but the opinions in this review are my own.
  • (5/5)
    "Who exactly were The Normans? They settled in France but were not strictly French. Their most famous King ruled over England but they could be Norse or Italian. They appear in the story of Robin Hood as villains but at the same time are regarded as the founders of the English state who established modern law and eliminated slavery." This is an edited quote from the introduction of this historical novel. The book is an essential read for anyone wanting to familiarize themselves with European history and it's an easy read, even for those who are not students of history. Many history books are dull reading by the nature of their content. You could never place this book into that category. As a student of History for over 60 years, I would rate it as one of the best examples of European History generally.
  • (4/5)
    Enjoyable history of the growth of the Normans and there transformation from Viking raiders to respectable Normans. The author chronicles their conquest of Normandy , England and the Kingdom of Sicily. He highlights their importance in bolstering "reforming Popes" and their influence on the Crusades. This book brings forward some remarkable figures in Medieval European History as William the Conquerer , Robert Guiscard , Bohemond and the "two Rogers" ,who helped mould Western Civilisation.
  • (4/5)
    This was a very indepth and well researched history of the Normans in Western Europe. I enjoyed the book and did learn quite a bit of new information as to why Europe is Europe.
  • (5/5)
    The Normans: From Raiders to Kings is an extremely readable and approachable popular history of the Normans. Mr. Brownworth does an able job of covering the most important and/or entertaining parts of the history of the Normans, from before the founding of the Duchy to the end of their rule in Sicily. Though this is a rather short popular history, Mr. Brownworth does a pretty good job of weaving a continuous narrative over the events, and occasionally breaks out of the Norman-centric view of events to briefly cover the actions and motives of other major players. The book is a quick read, but by the end of it I was intrigued enough to move on to a more in-depth book on an important figure in Norman history (Thomas Becket by Professor Frank Barlow). In my opinion, a popular history that draws the reader to investigate its historical subject more deeply is a great success.
  • (4/5)
    Other reviewers have done a good job of describing this book so I'll just add a little bit more. It was an interesting book that concentrated mostly on a part of the Norman history of which I knew the least. I was not aware of how much Normans influenced Sicilian and southern Italian history. I knew some about the Normans in France and England as well as their Viking ancestry, so reading more details about the Norman families that went to Sicily and Italy was pretty interesting. I thought the author did a good job of bringing in the probable emotional and mental aspects of how the ruling Normans thought, fought and lived without taking too many liberties in assuming too much. This was a time period that was probably lightly documented by contemporaries but enough exists to allow a good historian to tell a great story. Mr. Brownworth does a fine job balancing what is known with what was possibly motivating these historical figures. Recommended for anyone interested in history involving Normans, the Crusades, the Catholic church and Europe during the early middle ages.
  • (4/5)
    I read this book as a free giveaway on Librarything.com for an honest review. The Normans is a non-fiction book that reads like a fun, historical novel. I love the evolution of France and its people and didn't know much about the Normans. I cannot attest to the accuracy of the facts, but it is an interesting and engaging book to read. It gives much information about the lives of key characters and also gives insights to their personalities. It wasn't a super-fast read for me. It did require a little concentration. But, if this author wrote another book of this nature, I would certainly read it.
  • (5/5)
    This book was a delightful surprise. I actually thought it was a historical novel, when I requested it, from Library Thing. From the background of "where were the Normans really from?"(and surprisingly they did not originate in Normandy. They were really Vikings.) to the stories of different Norman kings, this book held my interest to the very end.
  • (4/5)
    This book was a very readable account of some of the main figures in Norman history. If you're looking for a scholarly work, this isn't for you. However, if you're looking for something to read casually, it's a very enjoyable book. Brownworth does a good job at breaking the pieces into manageable chunks - so you could easily read this book on lunch breaks, travel, etc. The author engages the reader by making the historical figures very human, without over-doing it as many popular historians do. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in getting more involved in the time period, especially if they have little background in the era.Note: If you don't want to read the book or you'd like a nice supplement, Brownworth has also assembled a podcast around this book. I read the book and then listened to the podcast, and they are almost identical.
  • (5/5)
    I received this book through the Early Reviewers programme. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well-told history of the Normans. The writing was engaging and not bogged down by an endless litany of facts and dates. The author managed to make stories of many people trying the same conquest over and over again actually enjoyable. It is very well researched and the author clearly knows what he is talking about, illuminating one of the lesser-known portions of European history. The only small issue I had with the book was that the author jumps through time several times. He would tell of an event, then saying something like, "This led to the event X in the year XXX, ..." Then would come some information about the event in question, and then, without warning, the author would go back in time to explain the contributing causes of the event, the reader still believing that what he describes takes place after the event. These jumps in time are not marked, and did confuse me the first few times they happened, but they did not detract from the entertaining read. Overall a book I enjoyed very much.
  • (4/5)
    "The Normans" is a decent work of popular history - it focuses mainly on the personalities of the most powerful and famous Norman rulers and their immediate families from the first dubiously Christianized Viking down to the nearly atheist, half-German Frederick II. They are portrayed more or less as a medieval biker gang, and the author throws in a few "Viking throwback" lines to remind the reader of where he wants you to think this came from.Among this cast of opportunistic dukes and kings there are good rulers and bad, and the scene shifts effortlessly from northern France to England to Sicily and parts beyond. This is largely due to the lack of attention paid to technology, military organization, civil organization and finance. If you're looking for a book that's going to explain how the Normans cut bloody swathes through Europe in ponderous detail, you need to look somewhere else. If you're trying to get a peek at the personal lives of the rulers, you're in the right place.Once I realized what I was reading, I did not mind the lightness on details. I just got finished reading two near-600 page doorstops on France in the 20th century, so anything shorter and less dense was welcome. If you can accept that you are not reading a seriously academic historical textbook, you are not likely to be surprised or disappointed by much. I take a bit of an issue with the author's depiction of the Holy Roman Empire - he implies a few times that it was crass and unsophisticated, and the rulers simplistically motivated by greed and power. How this is different from the Normans (who, like the Holy Roman Empire, disagreed and fought occasional wars with various Popes, and thought nothing of savagely repressing rebellions against them) is never adequately explained. I suspect the Byzantines get a similar treatment, but I do not know all that much about Byzantine history.Still, this is an interesting and entertaining light read. Lots of ambition, wars, rebellions, invasions, tricky marriages and shenanigans with antipopes.
  • (3/5)
    A good pop narrative of the Normans and their comparatively outsized influence in the Middle Ages. It occasionally falls into the trap of favoring fancy over facts for the purposes of telling a good tale, but as I said, this is a pop narrative, not designed to be a rigorous academic work. A bit disconnected in its structure, but that can be the challenge of trying to give strong focus to each competing parallel series of individuals. The author also makes this available in a slightly different rendition as a free podcast for those who might be interested, but prefer to engage with the material through their ears.
  • (5/5)
    A very good read, perhaps one of the better historical reads that I can remember. While I had known much of what was in this book, the presentation and cohesiveness of the writing and structure made it much easier to form a fuller picture of Europe during the height of the Norman influence.Well worth reading.
  • (4/5)
    i learned a lot from this book. I knew of the Normans in history, but primarily in France and England. Just about anyone who knows much history knows of William the Conqueror and his invasion of England. However, there is a great deal more to the Normans than William. In fact, there have as much, if not, more history in Italy. That was what I found truly interesting here.Like most histories of this era, the names can be difficult to follow. There are always a number of people with the same names and they seem to turn up in many of the same places.If you want to learn about the Normans and their significant impact of European history, this would be a pretty good place to start.
  • (5/5)
    I received a free copy as an early reviewer and I am grateful for this book. I like the podcast of Lars Brownworth "Norman Centuries" which I can highly recommend.The book shows a part of european history which is often neglected. Most people do know William the Conqueror/Bastard, but only few have heard of Tancred de Hautville or Roger II. or Bohemond I.. This book show all these (and many more) interesting figures and incidences, that changed the medieval europe.I love this book and I will recommend it to everybody who is interested in medieval history, but I have to point out three points which I think are incorrect in my humble opinion.1)Frederick II. was not as mentioned the grandson of Roger II.. He was his nephew and grandson of Roger I..2)Aachen was not the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. There was no capital at all. Aachen was a Palatinate (Pfalz in German)among many others. It was a favorite for Charlemagne, especially in his later years.3)The title "Queen of England" for Elizabeth II. is not correct. She is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.I do apologise for any mistakes in spelling or grammar, but english is not my first language. But I am able to read and understand english, so that I am able to say, that I enjoyed this book very much.
  • (3/5)
    This was an e-book for Early Reviewers.This was an interesting book on how Viking invaders became the Normans and then fanned out from Normandy into Britain, southern Italy, Sicily and even Antioch. The author follows different strands of the Norman families, but especially the Hautevilles in Italy and Sicily. It was easy reading--almost too easy, it felt like history-light. And when I looked at the page count, I could see why! The author focuses on the military engagements and politicking, not on the personal lives--except then at the end of a chapter, he'll comment on the size of one king's harem or the number of illegitimate children he had, for example, leaving one curious and unsatisfied. This could have been so much richer. It makes me want to go to some of the books in the bibliography and get the full story instead of reading this book.
  • (5/5)
    This is a wonderful historical book and a great read. If you enjoy early medival history, this is a book to read, it encourages you to learn more about this period. A group of Vikings who takes control of Normandy, goes forth to take England while others like to Hauetvilles' seek and find their fortunes in Italy and on. This has been a fascinating read! I am looking forward to reading his book on the Byzantium's and Lost on the West.