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  • The Anglo-Saxons

  • A History of the Beginnings of England
  • By: Marc Morris
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (558 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Sixteen hundred years ago, Britain left the Roman Empire and swiftly fell into ruin. Grand cities and luxurious villas were deserted and left to crumble, and civil society collapsed into chaos. Into this violent and unstable world came foreign invaders from across the sea and established themselves as its new masters.

The Anglo-Saxons traces the turbulent history of these people across the next six centuries. It explains how their earliest rulers fought relentlessly against each other for glory and supremacy and then were almost destroyed by the onslaught of the Vikings. It explores how they abandoned their old gods for Christianity, established hundreds of churches and created dazzlingly intricate works of art. It charts the revival of towns and trade, and the origins of a familiar landscape of shires, boroughs and bishoprics. It is a tale of famous figures like King Offa, Alfred the Great and Edward the Confessor, but also features a host of lesser-known characters - ambitious queens, revolutionary saints, intolerant monks and grasping nobles. Through their remarkable careers, we see how a new society, a new culture and a single unified nation came into being.

Drawing on a vast range of original evidence - chronicles, letters, archaeology and artefacts - renowned historian Marc Morris illuminates a period of history that is only dimly understood, separates the truth from the legend and tells the extraordinary story of how the foundations of England were laid.

©2021 Marc Morris (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A rich trove of ancient wonders." (Ian Mortimer)

"An absolute masterpiece." (Dan Snow)

What listeners say about The Anglo-Saxons

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative and entertaining

This is a very good introduction to Anglo Saxon English history. The author moves the story along briskly with a good level of detail in most cases, supplemented with occasional witty observations. It is very easy to become absorbed in the content.
Naturally, as he covers more than 500 years, there are some parts which are a little more concise than I would have preferred. In particular, I wish the author had gone into a little more detail on Alfred, Edward the Elder, Aethelflad, and even Edmund Ironside so if he added a couple more chapters then it would be an excellent rather than just a very good book.
The narrator is excellent.

15 people found this helpful

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Another great book from Marc Morris

I enjoy Marc Morris's books very much. I wish his Norman Conquest book had the narrator from this one - because he's excellent. Actually sounds like he understands, and is interested in, the story he is telling.

The pre-conquest era is not one I had a great deal of knowledge about beforehand. So this torrent of information was a lot to take in on one listen, but I have a feeling I will return to it again and again - so much so that I have also bought the hardback for reference. It's a well-constructed book that guides you through the decades, while also looking at certain themes and important personalities.

Bravo Marc - more please!

9 people found this helpful

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In-depth history of the Anglo-Saxon timeline

I'm giving this a 5* as it is a very in depth history of the Anglo-Saxon timeline: rulers, events and famous people. I would have liked more about the way of life etc., but it did what it says on the cover very well, and flowed well too. Excellent narration.

7 people found this helpful

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The Anglo Saxons

So informative I couldn’t stop listening.
It was then as I’m sure it is now the figure head is just that be aware of the advisors behind them they are the ones with the real power

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent and Entertaining History

I loved this book, it brings to life period formally known as the Dark Ages with detail and humour. Highly recommended

5 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

What could be a boring chronical is made interesting and informative. Complex subject clearly set out
and well read. Humorous asides lighten the narrative.

3 people found this helpful

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Love it

a great book, read well. everything you need to know about our Anglo-Saxon past

3 people found this helpful

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Entertaining, if rather narrow, account

Entertaining and interesting book, but took a fairly narrow approach, focusing largely on accounts of various kings and bishops. These vignettes are certainly engrossing, given the limited sources available. The reading is done with some energy and complements the text . The main disappointments Included there being no attempt to describe the background of angles and Saxons prior to their migration/invasion of England which leaves a strange historical lack of context. Otherwise the story is really stories of a few individuals, with no major attempts to describe what may be fathomed as to the daily lives, livelihood or culture of the Anglo Saxons as a whole. Much time is, rightly, given to critiquing the veracity of historical accounts but Dna evidence is dismissed in a couple of sentences with no real explanation as to why.

3 people found this helpful

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Very Good

Lots of detail from available sources. Think would struggle to find better on this subject.

3 people found this helpful

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Hit and miss .

By concentrating on characters it gives a rather peculiar presentation, different but not better than other accounts.

1 person found this helpful