INVASION: 1066 by Rupert Furneaux


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This should really be all that to 1066 and Rupert Furneaux's Invasion, unlike its present competition (Eric Linklater's Conquest of England --see p. 163; Alan Lloyd's Making of the King-- see p. 218) focusses on the decisive day of battle at Hastings, as might be expected from the author of The Zulu War (1963). His is a smooth interpretation of the rights of succession: Edward the Confessor had promised the throne to William of Normandy, his cousin, and he commended his kingdom to Harold Godwineson to hold for William on his deathbed, a preference denied along with Harold's oath to William when he reinterpreted ""commend"" as ""commit."" The author is quick to point out the suppositions but skillful in his counterpoint, even as he is with the details of battle. (How many Normans were there? how did they ship the horses across the sea?) Harold's defeat of Harald Hardrade in the North did not serve him in Sussex; it caught him off base and William depended on Harold's impetuosity and inability to play a waiting game. His gamble payed off, or was it his cool, quick mind? Furneaux sees the Norman battle lost late in the day at Hastings, only to be turned with the employ of the archers who killed Harold and made William the Conqueror, changing the face and fortune of England forever. A well-paced, aware, professional writing job. Appendices.

Publisher: Prentice-Hall