Empires of the Normans: Conquerors of Europe (Hardcover)

Empires of the Normans: Conquerors of Europe By Levi Roach Cover Image
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A brilliant global history of the Normans, who—beyond the conquest of England—spread their empire to eventually dominate Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

14th October 1066.

As Harold II, the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England, lay dying in Sussex, the Duke of Normandy was celebrating an unlikely victory. William "The Bastard" had emerged from interloper to successor of the Norman throne. He had survived the carnage of the Battle of Hastings and, two months later on Christmas day, he would be crowned king of England. No longer would Anglo-Saxons or Vikings rule England; this was now the age of the Normans.

A momentous event in European history, the defeat of the Anglo-Saxons had the most dramatic effect of any defeat in the high Middle Ages. In a few short months, the leader of northern France became the dominant ruler of Britain. Over the coming decades, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom would be rebuilt around a new landowning class. During the next century, as the Norman kings laid the foundations of modern Britain, their power would spread irresistibly across Europe. From Scandinavia down to Sicily, Malta, and Seville, the Normans built magnificent castles and churches. They cerated a new Europe in the image of their own nobility, recording their power with unprecedented vision, including the Domesday Book.

Empire of the Normans tells the extraordinary story of how the descendants of Viking marauders in northern France came to dominate European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern politics. It is a tale of ambitious adventures and fierce pirates, of fortunes made and fortunes lost. Across the generations, the Normans made their influence felt across Western Europe and the Mediterranean, from the British Isles to North Africa and even to the Holy Land, with a combination of military might, political savvy, deeply held religious beliefs, and a profound sense of their own destiny.

About the Author

Levi Roach studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. A former fellow at St John's College, Cambridge, he is now a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter. His first book Æthelred the Unready (Yale University Press) was awarded the Longman-History Today prize. He lives in Exeter, England.

Praise For…

Advance Praise for Empires of the Normans:

"Narrated with pace, clarity, authority and style, Roach's book is a bracing tour of the world that the Normans made their own."
— Thomas Williams, bestselling author of Viking Britain

"A fresh retelling of the story of the Normans, across all their theatres of operation - academically up-to-the-minute, sound in its judgements, and written with enthusiasm and brio"
— Marc Morris, bestselling author of The Anglo Saxons

"From Viking raiders to rulers of the Mediterranean, the Normans dominated and dazzled medieval Europe. In this fascinating, panoramic account, Levi Roach brings an expert eye and page-turning energy to the telling of their extraordinary story"
— Helen Castor, bestselling author of She Wolves

“Roach makes us step back, makes us see the Normans and their many threads, how they were interwoven into the fabric of medieval Europe – and he does so in an accessible style, using the best recent research. The Normans were, as he says, everywhere and nowhere, and their varied experiences come alive in this retelling."
— Matthew Gabriele, professor and author of The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe

"Medievalist Roach (Aethelred the Unready) examines in this expert account the profound impact of the Normans on European history. Roach spotlights lesser-known aspects of Norman history, including their presence in southern Italy, Sicily, and North Africa; the role of Norman forces in Byzantine Asia Minor and the Crusades; and their influence on Welsh, Scottish, and Irish culture...Roach is a lucid explainer of dynastic history. This is a well-informed and comprehensive introduction to the Norman legacy."
— Publishers Weekly

Praise for Æthelred the Unready:

Winner of the Longman-History Today Prize

"Research across an exceptionally wide range of early medieval European lands, underpin Levi Roach’s fresh account of the life and reign of Æthelred II. With a keen comparative appreciation of contemporary European societies, Roach assesses Æthelred’s many dimensions. This is a book for experts and students alike."
— Jinty Nelson, professor emeritus, King’s College London

"Levi Roach offers new insights into one of the darker yet most fascinating epochs in English history. His is a masterly account: a scholarly adventure story here for the first time set out in true context and vibrant detail."
— Nicholas Vincent, author of Magna Carta

"This was an extraordinary period of English history, and there is a widening gap between academic writing about it and the general reader. A compelling and impressive picture of what was going on at the court of Aethelred."
— David Crane

“Roach successfully steers us to a real appreciation of how faith, martial prowess, an impulsive personality and the huge challenges of the Viking invasions interacted to place almost impossible constraints on Aethelred. A welcome addition to the corpus of works on an unjustifiably neglected era of English history."
— The Literary Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781639361878
ISBN-10: 1639361871
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2022
Pages: 456
Language: English

How to read more

( Birmingham Museums Trust’s Digital Image Resource shares thousands of images that span decades of Birminghams vibrant past)

How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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