The Normans: Power, Conquest and Culture in 11th Century Europe

by Judith A. Green

Hardcover, 2022



Call number



Yale University Press (2022), 368 pages


"A bold new history of the rise and expansion of the Norman Dynasty across Europe from Byzantium to England. In the eleventh century the climate was improving, population was growing, and people were on the move. The Norman dynasty ranged across Europe, led by men who achieved lasting fame like William the Conqueror and Robert Guiscard. These figures cultivated an image of unstoppable Norman success and their victories make for a great story, but how much of it is true? In this insightful history, Judith Green challenges old certainties and explores the reality of Norman life across the continent. There were many soldiers of fortune, but their successes were down to timing, good luck, and ruthless leadership. Green shows the Normans' profound impact, from drastic change in England to laying the foundations for unification in Sicily, to their contribution to the First Crusade. Going beyond the familiar, she looks at personal dynastic relationships and the important part women played in what at first sight seems a resolutely masculine world."--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Shrike58
Last year, when I was reading Trevor Rowley's "The Normans," I came away somewhat dissatisfied with Rowley's dated narrative style, and having further questions I wished that I had a more contemporary treatment at hand. I was therefor delighted to discover that Green's examination of the topic was
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out, and moved that to the head of the TBR queue. Unfortunately, I'm still left with some basic questions after reading this monograph.

Here's the thing, Prof. Green's real agenda seems to be the dismantling of the mystique various Norman rulers built for themselves, and critiquing the sources that have been left for us; not adding to the mystique. However, Green has to admit that in their prime, the Normans generally did win their battles, unless they were just faced with insurmountable numbers, and some times not even then; victory does have a way of generating its own mystique. As for the questions I had about the sources of Norman military art, Green tends to emphasize a knack for logistics, but does make one passing observation that Norman armies do seem to have been more willing to trust in the full-fledged cavalry charge than most of the time; again, the most romantic of all military maneuvers.

On the plus side, I was given food for thought when it came to Norman political maneuvering, but this really isn't a book with for the general reader, and they still might be happier reading Rowley or J.J. Norwich.
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Original language


Physical description

368 p.; 9.3 inches


0274750112 / 9780274750115

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