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William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy and in 1066 Conqueror of England, towers so high in history that he has assumed mythical outlines; in this biography an English historian introduces us to a man so real he might have lived in this century. Drawing on all available records and on the magnificent contemporary account of the Conquest as told by the Bayeux Tapestry, the author writes of William as he would of a close friend, of his faults and virtues, his military genius, his sense of politics, his stern justice in an age of cruelty. He tells of the Bastard's family and followers: his mother Arlette, the tanner's daughter; his wife Matilda of Flanders, to whom he was devotedly faithful; his children; his brothers, among them Odo, the notorious Bishop of Bayeux; his great advisor With the name modern touch the author describes 11th-century England and the invasion itself, with its vast fleet, its horses and trained soldiers, and that October day at in 1066 when King Harold of England died with his men in the battle that led to the conquest of all England. The tale ends with the incredibly efficient achievement in 1068 of the Domeaday Book, and with William's death in France in 1087. An amazing study of an amazing man and his times, this exciting and authentic book will appeal to seasoned historians, beginning students of English history, and those informed amateurs who read history for pleasure; it is an essential addition to all libraries of the Conquest.

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 1961
Publisher: Putnam