William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England

by David Charles Douglas

Hardcover, 1964




Berkeley : University of California Press, 1964.


In William the Conqueror, Professor Douglas analyzes the causes and the true character of the Norman impact upon England in the eleventh century. The work is both a study of Anglo-Norman history and a biography of a man whose personal career was spectacular, and as reviewers have remarked, it is distinguished by a wealth of scholarship linked to a lucid and agreeable style.

User reviews

LibraryThing member k8_not_kate
Douglas' work on the Conqueror is superb, but be warned that this is not a modern, popular biography--it covers the facts of William's life and his invasion of England only. Douglas does not go into detail on William's personality, personal relationships, etc. Douglas does cover every aspect of William's military and political strategy, as well as the conditions in Normandy and England that William was born into, in an interesting and clear way. He doesn't neglect the other periods and campaigns in the Conqueror's life in favor of the English invasion, either. The reader gets a balanced picture of William's achievements, as well as his disappointing military exploits in later life.

Personally, I found the chapters on the church the most boring and the military and political information most interesting, but that likely just shows where my interests in medieval history lie and doesn't reflect on the quality of the writing in the various chapters. You may find yourself skipping one chapter or another to get to the parts you're interested in. The good news is that Douglas gives you all the information you could possibly want in each section and separates those sections clearly so you know what you're getting into. I would recommend this to anyone interested in history who has the patience for something a little closer to a textbook than the kind of histories you find on best-seller lists.
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LibraryThing member john257hopper
A very well researched book, which not only focuses on the life of its subject, but also examines the military, administrative and ecclesiastical changes in Normandy and England under his rule. It does get a bit dry in places as it analyses some of these themes, but this is undoubtedly an impressive piece of objective scholarship.… (more)




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