I spent an enormous amount of time trying to find the title of this book through Netgalley once I decided to review it. The man’s name is impossible to write with a regular keyboard. I went the entire book thinking his name was Aethelred, when it is actually Ethelred. I felt a little bit a nitwit when I finally used Google to figure out what I was doing wrong.
It still would not come up. I had to find the email sent to me and use that link to locate it. Apparently, Ethelred’s bad luck runs deep.
The cover for this book is beautiful. I love it.
An imaginative reassessment of Æthelred “the Unready,” one of medieval England’s most maligned kings and a major Anglo-Saxon figure
“The Anglo-Saxon king Æthelred “the Unready” (978–1016) has long been considered to be inscrutable, irrational, and poorly advised. Infamous for his domestic and international failures, Æthelred was unable to fend off successive Viking raids, leading to the notorious St. Brice’s Day Massacre in 1002, during which Danes in England were slaughtered on his orders. Though Æthelred’s posthumous standing is dominated by his unsuccessful military leadership, his seemingly blind trust in disloyal associates, and his harsh treatment of political opponents, Roach suggests that Æthelred has been wrongly maligned. Drawing on extensive research, Roach argues that Æthelred was driven by pious concerns about sin, society, and the anticipated apocalypse. His strategies, in this light, were to honor God and find redemption. Chronologically charting Æthelred’s life, Roach presents a more accessible character than previously available, illuminating his place in England and Europe at the turn of the first millennium.”
Levi Roach is lecturer at the University of Exeter, and formerly a junior research fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge. He lives in Exeter, UK.
This is a well put together account of Ethelred. He ruled England (I hope I am saying that right) 978-1016, and gives the argument that “The Unready” may have been a lot of bad press.
He was the only Anglo Saxon Monarch to bear that mocking title and was labeled one of England’s “bad kings”. Labeled also England’s first weak King as a dubious honor.
Roach does an excellent job researching Ethelred’s past to the point where I have to question – was he really as bad as they say? Or was he following what he felt God would want from him?
The book does an incredible job of not only giving readers the facts in vast detail, but making the road to this knowledge exciting and interesting to read.
This is a fantastic book, and if you are interested in the history of England’s Kings, you should pick this book up. It is well worth it.