William I (Penguin Monarchs): England's Conqueror
On Christmas Day 1066, William, duke of Normandy was crowned inWestminster, the first Norman king of England. It was a disaster:soldiers outside, thinking shouts of acclamation were treachery, torchedthe surrounding buildings. To later chroniclers, it was an omen of thecatastrophes to come.
During the reign of William the Conqueror,England experienced greater and more seismic change than at any pointbefore or since. Marc Morris's concise and gripping biography siftsthrough the sources of the time to give a fresh view of the man whochanged England more than any other, as old ruling elites were sweptaway, enemies at home and abroad (including those in his closest family)were crushed, swathes of the country were devastated and the map of thenation itself was redrawn, giving greater power than ever to the king.
When,towards the end of his reign, William undertook a great survey of hisnew lands, his subjects compared it to the last judgement of God, theDomesday Book. England had been transformed forever.
A historian of the middle ages, Marc Morris's acclaimed books include King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta and The Norman Conquest. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes for, among others, History Today and BBC History Magazine, and appears regularly on radio and television.
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