William the Conqueror: The Bastard of Normandy By Peter Rex


When it comes to this period of history I have read my fair share of books about it. So much so I even studied The Norman Conquest for part of my A-Level History course and thoroughly enjoyed the learning process and it fuelled my love of Medieval England even more. So when I happened to contact Amberley Press to see if they had any books that I could request for review, I was ecstatic to see on the press releases that they sent me that they had a book on William the Conqueror and I knew there and then that this was definitely a book I wanted to read and review for my blog. So, I would like the thank Philip at Amberley Press for being kind enough to send me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

First of all this book is a detailed biography on William the Bastard of Normandy who later became William the Conqueror and King of England. When it comes to this period of English history the year 1066 was a year that changed the course of the country forever, so much so the changes that occurred can still be seen today.

This book centres on the life of William the Conqueror from the moment he was born right up until his untimely death in 1087. His life as the Duke of Normandy is covered in detail as well as the moments up to and even after the Conquest of 1066, which resulted in William becoming King of England. Through this book we come to learn that William was a very pious man however, he was also brutal, violent and utterly ruthless and was most definitely a product of his time. The year 1066 and the events surrounding this brutal year are covered in detail so much so we discover that William’s military reputations and even skills nest mainly on his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. In military events and issues that took place after Hastings it can be seen that William showed little sign of being a strategic or even tactical genius.

In many ways William the Conqueror could be seen to have a split personality disorder. The reason I say this is because William is shown to have two completely different sides to him so much so at times he can be seen to be two completely different people. A very good example of this is the fact he is the most loving and faithful person when it comes to his family however, he becomes a cruel, demanding, brutal and even at times violent man to his subjects.

In the end William left a divided kingdom in regards to their respect for their new king. Even though William conquered England he did not gain the admiration of the people.

When looking at this book as a whole there are two areas I would have loved to have known more about. Such as his early life and the major events surrounding that and I would have loved more information on his family than was actually told. However, that being said overall, this book was a well researched, well written, hugely informative on certain areas and highly readable and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in this period of history or wanting to learn more about William the Conqueror.

4 stars

The edition I read was published by Amberley Press (2016).

(Image is my own please do not copy/take without permission first)






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