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Lord of the Rings

The Anglo-Saxon Period in England

The fashion now is to favor the Celts and to disparage the Anglo-Saxon barbarians who wrested England (note the name) from the Britons, bringing terror and pagan gods in their wake.

Well, you know, the Anglo-Saxons won (except in Wales and Cornwall), giving us our language, the bulk of our culture, and the beginnings of the laws that have protected our freedoms for the past 1500 years.

Alfred the Great is the only English king to have ever received that appellation - and it wasn't for nothing. If you've ever wanted to live in a peaceful shire, as all happy hobbits do, you can thank the Anglo-Saxons for their taming of England (and of themselves) from which our image of English country life derives.

Buy Books about the Anglo-Saxons in English History
Beowulf by Seamus Heaney
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Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
by Seamus Heaney


Irish poet Heaney brings a Celtic flavor to his translation of the most famous epic poem in our Anglo-Saxon heritage. If you were turned off to Beowulf in school, try again. This translation is magnificent and awe-inspiring. Highly recommended.

Also available in a two-tape audio cassette edition.
Beowulf : Fight at Finnsburh
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Beowulf: The Fight at Finnsburh
edited by Heather O'Donoghue, translated by Kevin Crossley-Holland


Four hundred years before the Icelandic Sagas were set down, the Anglo-Saxons gave us Beowulf - a magnificent glimpse into early Scandinavian culture and belief. If you didn't read it in class, you won't want to miss out. Another good translation.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
edited by Michael Swanton


From medieval England, this is the first historical narrative written in English. A cultural treasure, it tells the story of England from Roman times through King Stephen (1154 AD). This edition has ample maps and genealogical tables, along with a very helpful introduction.
The Anglo-Saxons
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The Anglo-Saxons (Penguin History)
edited by James Campbell, Eric John, and Patrick Wormald


Lots of photographs, illustrations and maps, along with readable, interesting text by noted scholars, make this book a terrific choice for learning about the Anglo-Saxons, their culture and times.
The Anglo-Saxon World
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The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology
edited by Kevin Crossley-Holland


Crossley-Holland is an expert translator of Old English. In this wonderful volume, he provides a fascinating cross-section of Anglo-Saxon literature - poems, prose, portions of Beowulf and the Chronicle, laws, charters, etc. A readable first-hand view of life in Anglo-Saxon England.
Alfred the Great : Asser's Life of King Alfred
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Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources
by John Asser, translated by Simon Keynes, photography by Michael Lapidge


Alfred made a tremendous effort to improve education and scholarship in England. One of his recruits, Asser, wrote this biography. This is history at its best - written by an eyewitness at the time. Lots of maps and genealogical tables for the kings of England and France. Wonderful.
Alfred the Great
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Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England
by Richard Philip Abels


Using historical and archeological evidence, Abels draws a well-rounded portrait of a great man in this thoughtful and even-handed biography. Set in the context of his times, we learn about Alfred's struggles and triumphs and what set him apart from other able Anglo-Saxon kings. Recommended.
1066: Year of the Conquest
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1066: The Year of the Conquest
by David Howarth


Reading Howarth is like opening a time capsule and squealing with delight at the forgotten treasures found therein. Here, he takes us to the village of Hastings in 1066, introducing the people and their lives, soon to be changed by the spectacular and world-changing event we call the Norman Conquest. Popular history at its best, a rousing read.