Book Review: 1066
My Mom gave me this little book probably a couple years ago now called 1066. I've always had a fascination for the Norman Conquest. Picked up little tidbits of the history. Acted and gave a speech as Guillaume Le Conquerant in High School French class. And when I travelled through Normandy I went through the brilliant little museum built around the Bayeux tapestry. Recently, I was very sad to have to leave my apartment numbered 1066 and move elsewhere.
Some of my Irish ancestors may possibly have been Norman, and my parents had named me "Adrian" which is the name of the first English pope gave himself. That pope was the one who encouraged King Henry II of England -- a century later -- to annex Ireland. It had a neat little circularity in my mind.
Anyway, the book, written by David Howarth, is fabulous, and I would recommend it to nearly anyone who has an interest in history. It is a puzzle solution of sorts: picking pieces of stories, taking educated guesses and making suppositions from a patchwork of Norse, English, French and Latin sources; weighing the alternative versions of stories; separating propoganda from possible fact; and tying it altogether.
What comes out is a exciting and sad tale of the fall of Kingdom: The machinations of various characters; the steadfastness of the English King Harold; England's nascent parliament; William the Bastard's drive to become William the Conquerer; the bezerker king Harald; and how through chance everything fell to pieces for the English. It would make a great movie, and it is a wonder that Hollywood has not plundered it already. It makes me want to write a screenplay and story board it all out. (yes another project)
For me, it was amazing to see a story that I was already very familiar with, flower into this much larger and even more interesting thing.