Friday, April 18, 2014

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth

Success in life flowed not from titles or position, but from a willingness to seize what one wanted

Why I read this book

I received a copy of this book through the LybraryThing Early Readers program in exchange of an honest  review.

What the book is about

This non fiction book takes us through the journey of the Normans; from their Viking origins arriving to England and France all through their journey south and their role in the crusades.

First impressions

The language in the book is easy to follow with good narrative, considering it is a history book. I don't know if it was only in the e-book version but there are a bit of editing issues such as weird spaces and typos here and there. The introductory line of main characters as well as the genealogical tree help the reader not to get lost through several generations of Normans.

Final thoughts

The book is very well researched and for a person who likes reading about history as I do this is a very source to learn about this group. It was very interesting to learn that as conquerors, the Normans would not impose their culture, but they would rather respect the one already present while imposing their political power. This made for happier citizens and hence loyal people and in my opinion it was a very smart political move. While I understand that for the time it would've been hard to find records of the women involved, it would've been nice to learn a bit more about them. 

One critic I would have is that sometimes the book felt like it kept coming back to situations already described in previous chapters, but the author referred to them as if it was the first time we heard of it and this for me was a bit annoying because it felt like there wasn't a good flow of the different stories. 

In all I thinks it was a good book. It feels to me that the chapters were treated as episodes of the author's podcast, which would explain the coming back of characters that I mentioned. This would be an advantage if you want to pick up the story at any chapter or episode. I learned a lot and I would like to read the author's other book: The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings

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