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Athelstan

Tom Holland Ä 4 review

Ing of the whole of Britain'Tom Holland recounts this extraordinary story with relish and drama transporting us back to a time of omens raven harbingers and blood red battlefields As well as giving form to the figure of Athelstan devout shrewd all too aware of the precarious nature of his power especially in the north he introduces the great. I'm assuming this is a good general biography of Athelstan but I felt that context and detail of the era was needed to have things make sense To say my knowledge of Anglo Saxon England is rudimentary is being kind No doubt background reading would have been necessary to get really engaged with the tale of AthelstanHolland's treatment sparked my interest but a comprehensive biography would have probably been satisfying

Summary Athelstan

The formation of England occurred against the odds an island divided into rival kingdoms under savage assault from Viking hordes But after King Alfred ensured the survival of Wessex and his son Edward expanded it his grandson Athelstan inherited the rule of both Mercia and Wessex conuered Northumbria and was hailed as Rex totius Britanniae 'K. A super little book How has this man escaped my radar for so long – the first real King of a united England and arguably of Britain Why aren’t there kids around called Athelstan He achieved a lot in his shortish life and reign 45 and 15 respectively Warrior scholar patron of the arts and devout Christian with a special relationship with the long dead St Cuthbert Interestingly he never married unlike his father Edward who was always changing his wives Athelstan was born to an early and soon to be sidelined wife As the new wives and kids graced the royal fold Athelstan was rather forgotten about brought up at the court of his indomitable aunt but a generally good egg if you kept on the right side of her ueen Aethelflaed of MerciaHis Grandfather Alfred the Greatearly spotted Athelstan’s potential and they seem to have had a special relationshipWilliam of Malmesbury writing his life some 200 years or so after Athelstan’s death said of of him “He was a man whose life though short was glorious” He pointed to his martial achievements as well as his passion for justice his piety and learningTom Holland’s conclusion will stick with me for a while“In a country that has been a unitary state for longer than any other in Europe the sheer feat of statecraft that was reuired to bring it into existence risks being signally underestimated The king who founded England has largely been forgotten even by the English”Recommended 4

Download ✓ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Ä Tom Holland

Figures of the age including Alfred and his daughter Aethelflaed 'Lady of the Mercians' who brought Athelstan up at the Mercian court Making sense of the family rivalries and fractious conflicts of the Anglo Saxon rulers Holland shows us how a royal dynasty rescued their kingdom from near oblivion and fashioned a nation that endures to this d. A fantastic little book this Outlying not just the life of a man undeservedly lost in history but the political state of 'England' during his reign Tom Holland's prose is so accomplished easy to read and the odd dash of opinion and wit thrown in to ensure the book is not just pages full of dry facts In this book he tells the tale of Athelstan and his battle to not only secure the thrown of Wessex but to finally see his Grandfather's dream of a united England I am of insufficient learning to know if everything told on these pages is true fact but even if half of it is than Athelstan must have been a truly remarkable man Born under a cloud spending his formative years in a kind of exile in Mercia this is the boy who would grow to win every battle he fought on and off the field of battle From Heathen's in Dublin to the kings' in the north by true grit and determination Athelstan extended his borders time and time again until he had eventually carved out the kingdom of what we now know as England This is a period of history largely forgotten wedged in between Alfred the Great and 1066 This book is a telling reminder of why it shouldn't be why it could well be even important than 1066 and William the Bastard himself Highly recommend


About the Author: Tom Holland

Tom Holland is an English historian and author He has written many books both fiction and non fiction on many subjects from vampires to history Librarian Note There is than one author in the Goodreads database with this name Holland was born near Oxford and brought up in the village of Broadchalke near Salisbury England He obtained a double first in English and Latin at ueens' College



10 thoughts on “Athelstan

  1. says:

    The person who really defined the geographical areas of Britain for the first time I am astonished that we didn't cover his reign and those of Alfred and Edward before Athelstan in school history This is a great story well told by the author I hope someone finds the site of the battle of Brunanburh so it can take its place alongside Hastings and Bosworth and Naseby as places where people can be educated about their past The author has written the book about Athelstan that is the first in the Penguin Monarchs series showing how important Athelstan was and still is to Britain


  2. says:

    A super little book How has this man escaped my radar for so long? – the first real King of a united England and arguably of Britain Why aren’t there kids around called Athelstan? He achieved a lot in his shortish life and reign 45 and 15 respectively Warrior scholar patron of the arts and devout Christian with a special relationship with the long dead St Cuthbert Interestingly he never married unlike his father Edward who was always changing his wives Athelstan was born to an early and soon to be sidelined wife As the new wives and kids graced the royal fold Athelstan was rather forgotten about brought up at the court of his indomitable aunt but a generally good egg if you kept on the right side of her ueen Aethelflaed of MerciaHis Grandfather Alfred the Greatearly spotted Athelstan’s potential and they seem to have had a special relationshipWilliam of Malmesbury writing his life some 200 years or so after Athelstan’s death said of of him “He was a man whose life though short was glorious” He pointed to his martial achievements as well as his passion for justice his piety and learningTom Holland’s conclusion will stick with me for a while“In a country that has been a unitary state for longer than any other in Europe the sheer feat of statecraft that was reuired to bring it into existence risks being signally underestimated The king who founded England has largely been forgotten even by the English”Recommended 4


  3. says:

    A useful introduction to a king who has been overlooked in part because sources on the man Athelstan are sparse In some 100 pages Mr Holland provides useful background to Athelstan's father Edward and grandfather Alfred and how he transformed his kingdom from reigning over the Anglo Saxons to all of England and so the title used for the first time Rex Anglorum King of the English Also covered is Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians and Edward's sister Her own importance in combating the Vikings and for Athelstan's time at her court as a growing adolescent himself seeing combat against the Vikings is stated and well made in this small book Brief but informative and a helpful starter for the wider Penguin Monarchs series


  4. says:

    I'm assuming this is a good general biography of Athelstan but I felt that context and detail of the era was needed to have things make sense To say my knowledge of Anglo Saxon England is rudimentary is being kind No doubt background reading would have been necessary to get really engaged with the tale of AthelstanHolland's treatment sparked my interest but a comprehensive biography would have probably been satisfying


  5. says:

    No king in England’s history has been unjustly forgotten than Æthelstan This forgetting is all the poignant in that Æthelstan can reasonably claim to be the first king of England Not many other nations would flush their founder down the memory hole Washington adorns dollar bills every Roman could tell you the story of Romulus and Remus and Napoleon the founder of modern France has had books written about him than any other human being in history apart from Jesus Christ But on Æthelstan almost nothingHopefully Tom Holland’s marvellous little biography will go some way towards rescuing Æthelstan from his obscurity With all the excitement that the story deserves Holland whisks the reader back to 10th century Britain when the Northmen did not merely launch picturesue TV mini series worthy raids but embarked on expeditions of conuest; this was a country that had suffered two generations of depredations when anyone living near sea or navigable river went to sleep with the fear that they might wake to find their homes being ransacked and fired and their children being carried off into slavery For amid the revision of Vikings as romantic heroes little attention has been paid to the fact that their most valuable booty was human men women and children hauled off to be sold in the slave markets at Dublin the Viking town that stood at the nexus of the slave routes that delivered captured people to miserable new lives from which they would never returnÆthelstan following in the footsteps of his grandfather Alfred and his father Edward the Elder was a man committed to defending and instilling civilisation in the face of the barbarians For make no mistake for all their accomplishments as explorers and traders the Vikings were barbarians Three generations of the most remarkable family in English royal history had made it their lives’ work to first defend and then to reconuer England and Æthelstan stood at the summit and consummation of this extraordinary familial endeavour Then when all seemed accomplished all was thrown into doubt when the kings of the Vikings of the Scots and of Strathclyde united against him The ensuing battle Brunanburgh was ‘the battle’ for a hundred years the battle that ensured that England would be England and not dismembered Read Holland’s book and marvel at the scale of Æthelstan’s accomplishments and how much we have to be grateful to him for


  6. says:

    The epic first installment of the Penguin Monarchs series describing Athelstan's achievements uniting England establishing diplomatic relations with continental European powers and managing a fractious royal succession Athelstan's personality and even the site of the most decisive battle of his reign remain elusive but the book discusses the political and religious influences of his times and the family who shaped his childhood and adolescence his grandfather Alfred the Great his father Edward the Elder and his warrior ueen aunt Aethelflaed of Mercia I am pleased that the Penguin Monarchs series includes volumes about the Anglo Saxon monarchs as it is essential to start before 1066 to understand the foundations of England and the monarchy


  7. says:

    A short video I made to coincide with my biography of Æthelstan It's about his aunt Alfred's daughter the founding mother of England Æthelflæd 1100 years ago today in Tamworth the ancient capital of Mercia that she had recaptured from the Vikings in 913 died Æthelflæd Lady of the Mercians a woman who deserves to be commemorated as the Founding Mother of England time for some viking kitties


  8. says:

    Absolutely intriguing I went into this book without knowing anything about Athelstan and now i feel like a pro I wouldn't have bought it if it had been a bit longer but having finished it I'm wishing it had been I absolutely loved the writing style It was so hilariously pompous and melodramatic that I found myself reading bits out to people and laughing out loud Honestly I would recommend this to anyone It was so funny and enjoyable and educational with no prior knowledge reuired


  9. says:

    A fantastic little book this Outlying not just the life of a man undeservedly lost in history but the political state of 'England' during his reign Tom Holland's prose is so accomplished easy to read and the odd dash of opinion and wit thrown in to ensure the book is not just pages full of dry facts In this book he tells the tale of Athelstan and his battle to not only secure the thrown of Wessex but to finally see his Grandfather's dream of a united England I am of insufficient learning to know if everything told on these pages is true fact but even if half of it is than Athelstan must have been a truly remarkable man Born under a cloud spending his formative years in a kind of exile in Mercia this is the boy who would grow to win every battle he fought on and off the field of battle From Heathen's in Dublin to the kings' in the north by true grit and determination Athelstan extended his borders time and time again until he had eventually carved out the kingdom of what we now know as England This is a period of history largely forgotten wedged in between Alfred the Great and 1066 This book is a telling reminder of why it shouldn't be why it could well be even important than 1066 and William the Bastard himself Highly recommend


  10. says:

    After King Alfred ensured the survival of Wessex and his son Edward expanded it his grandson Athelstan inherited the rule of Mercia and Wessex conuered Northumbria and was hailed 'King of the whole of Britain' Holland recounts this extraordinary story and makes it full of drama We are transported back to a time of omens and blood red battlefields As well as giving form to Athelstan Holland introduces the great figures of the time including Alfred and his daughter Aethelflaed Holland makes sense of the family rivalries and conflicts of the Anglo Saxon rulers Holland shows us how a royal dynasty rescued their kingdom from near oblivion and fashioned a nation that endures to this day Back to this book and Holland writes a highly informative interesting read about Athelstan and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this 'Athelstan' is a very accessible read that will be interesting to those new to the period and those who know about it This book is a great introduction to Athelstan and I am very impressed at how much information Holland could include in a short book I cannot wait to continue this series 


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