Exploring the successful Norman invasion of England in 1066, this concise and readable book focuses especially on the often dramatic and enduring changes wrought by William the Conqueror and his followers. From the perspective of a modern social historian, Hugh M. Thomas considers the conquest's wide-ranging impact by taking a fresh look at such traditional themes as the influence of battles and great men on history and assessing how far the shift in ruling dynasty and noble elites affected broader aspects of English history. The author sets the stage by describing English society before the Norman Conquest and recounting the dramatic story of the conquest, including the climactic Battle of Hastings. He then traces the influence of the invasion itself and the Normans' political, military, institutional, and legal transformations. Inevitably following on the heels of institutional reform came economic, social, religious, and cultural changes. The results, Thomas convincingly shows, are both complex and surprising. In some areas where one might expect profound influence, such as government institutions, there was little change. In other respects, such as the indirect transformation of the English language, the conquest had profound and lasting effects. With its combination of exciting narrative and clear analysis, this book will capture students interest in a range of courses on medieval and Western history.
In The Press
The Norman Conquest is an up-to-date summary and interpretation of the most recent scholarship on the events leading to the invasion of England in 1066 and on the conquest's long aftermath. The author is to be commended for bringing ordinary English people into the discussion, thereby adding substantially to our understanding of this pivotal period.
About The Author
Hugh M. Thomas is professor of history at the University of Miami.