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The Road To Hastings by Paul Hill

Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:51 pm
by Ellen Gethin
The subtitle of this book is "The Politics of Power in Anglo-Saxon England".
In fact, it covers Normandy and Flanders and Scandinavia as well - there was a whole web of family connections going right the way across the region, with Queen Emma bringing in the Norman connection.
I thought I had a fairly good handle on the story of Hastings - and how wrong I was. This book takes us back to the days of Ethelred, and shows the rise of Godwin from his beginnings as a young soldier under Cnut. Godwin's father, I was delighted to learn, was one Wulfnoth, who was going to lead the English fleet, and suddenly turned pirate with 20 ships. And then there was the whole business of Godwin's sons, and the rivalry between the Godwinson family and the family of Leofric of Mercia. It surprised me just how much documentary evidence exists, and Paul Hill pieces together the evidence very convincingly.
I was fascinated, and highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the run up to Hastings, and Anglo Saxon politics from about 979 onwards.
Paul Hill has also written The Age of Athelstan - Britain's Forgotten History.