If you're like us, there are some historical periods we are frightfully ignorant, which is fine if you were, say, a finance major in college. But not so okay us history majors.
So when we stumbled across David Howarth's 1066: The Year of the Conquest in an airport bookstore, we were intrigued enough to plunk down the cash (or in our case, the trusty Visa) and dive right in.
Our verdict? This little book (only 201 pages) is a must-read for the history buff. Howarth writes in a marvelously conversational style with none of the pompous, wordy, frustrating pseudo-prose that many historians adopt when writing historical non-fiction.
The result is a very readable, concise look at the Norman Conquest. The players, King Harold of England, William of Normandy, and Harald Hardrada of Norway, are each in their own manner empathetic while the Battle of Hastings is finally presented without all the mumbo-jumbo military strat-egery.
The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest and dates from the 11th century
Howarth, who passed away in 1991, was a historian for the average lay person. He wrote several books, including one about Waterloo, each imminently accessible and illuminating to read.
If you'd like to understand the real history behind those fabulous historical novels we all devour, do yourself a favor and pick up a Howarth book. You can read it in an afternoon and walk away a tad bit more edu-ma-cated that when you started.