It seemed that England was doomed to endure yet more strife, iniquity and bloodshed, but this humiliated, bankrupt and enfeebled people were about to rediscover their national spirit, for Edmund was no Ethelred. In him the courage and power of Alfred and Athelstan lived on, as the Danes were about to discover.
The Anglo-Saxon Age has always been a period of history that has absolutely fascinated me. It is the period of history where you really start to see parts of modern civilisation beginning to evolve a lot more such as law, administration, religion, etc. You also start to see some of the key players and figures of early Medieval history starting to appear such as Edward the Confessor, King Cnut, William the Conqueror, Harold Godwin, The Godwin family, Hereward the Wake, Alfred the Great, Athelstan and Edmund Ironside and so on. So you can imagine my excitement when I contacted Amberley Publishing to see if they had any Medieval history books available for review and amongst the press releases that were sent to me they had a new book on the Anglo-Saxon Age. So, once again I would like to thank Philip at Amberley Publishing for being so kind and sending me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Anglo- Saxon Age by Martin Wall was first published in 2015 and the edition I read was published in 2016. The book centres on (official blurb) “The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009 has captured the imagination and stimulated renewed interest in the history and culture of the Anglo-Saxons. The discovery poses some interesting questions, who owned the treasure and how did they acquire it? Was it made locally or did it originate elsewhere? Why was it buried in an obscure field in Staffordshire countryside? To answer these questions Martin Wall takes us on a journey into a period that still remains mysterious, into regions and countries long forgotten, such as Mercia and Northumbria. This is a story of the ‘Dark Ages’ and the people who lived in them, but darkness is in the eye of the beholder. This book challenges out notions of these times as barbaric and backward to reveal a civilization as complex, sophisticated and diverse as our own.”
The Anglo-Saxon Age is a great introduction into the Anglo-Saxon period as well as its leading figures, events and developments. Martin Wall presents his work in a very readable way that brings the Dark Ages and the people who lived during this part of history to life. Not only does this book do these things but it also shows how some of today’s laws, administration and religion were more developed during this time period and also how if it wasn’t for the Anglo-Saxon Age many of the things that make our modern society run today would not exist. So in fact we do have many things to be thankful for when it comes to the Anglo-Saxons especially when looking at how lucky we are to live in today’s day and age.
There were some areas of this book that I did not agree with for example, the reports made that Edward the Confessor must had been homosexual or in fact impotent just because him and his wife did not have any children. There is no varied proof or source that Edward the Confessor was either impotent or homosexual. However, on a better note I did agree with many of the writer’s other theories about this period, events and some of the leading figures.
Overall, when looking at this book as a whole I would have to say that I definitely enjoyed the latter half of the book a lot more compared to the first half. However, I would recommend The Anglo-Saxon Age to anyone/readers who are interested in this period of history and are looking for a book that is highly readable, well written and gives an informative account of a fascinating period of English history all at the same time.
The edition I read was published by Amberley Publishing (2016).
(Image is my own please do not take/copy without permission first).