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William the Conqueror

Edward Augustus Freeman

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Giffard, found their opportunity when the French had entered the unfortified town of Mortemer and had given themselves up to revelry.  Fire and sword did the work.  The whole French army was slain, scattered, or taken prisoners.  Ode escaped; Guy of Ponthieu was taken.  The Duke’s success was still easier.  The tale runs that the news from Mortemer, suddenly announced to the King’s army in the dead of the night, struck them with panic, and led to a hasty retreat out of the land.

This campaign is truly Norman; it is wholly unlike the simple warfare of England.  A traitorous Englishman did nothing or helped the enemy; a patriotic Englishman gave battle to the enemy the first time he had a chance.  But no English commander of the eleventh century was likely to lay so subtle a plan as this, and, if he had laid such a plan, he would hardly have found an English army able to carry it out.  Harold, who refused to lay was. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Must confess to skipping numerous paragraphs of this biography. With it being relatively short I’d hoped for a concise and engaging account of one of my country’s most famous kings, but instead I found it dull and rambling.

Like many nineteenth-century biographers, the author always opts for the p...more

Really interesting read

Good book for British people or others interested in the story of William or the period. Not that enjoyable for people unfamiliar with the topic.