1066: The Year That Changed Everything : The Great Courses: Medieval History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Jennifer Paxton
  • Series: The Great Courses: Medieval History
  • 3 hrs and 0 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

With this exciting and historically rich six-lecture course, experience for yourself the drama of this dynamic year in medieval history, centered on the landmark Norman Conquest. Taking you from the shores of Scandinavia and France to the battlefields of the English countryside, these lectures will plunge you into a world of fierce Viking warriors, powerful noble families, politically charged marriages, tense succession crises, epic military invasions, and much more.
Your journey starts in the 10th and early 11th centuries, when power in England and Normandy was very much up for grabs - and when the small island nation was under continuous assault from Viking forces. Professor Paxton helps you gain a solid grasp of the complex political alliances and shifting relationships between figures such as Emma of Normandy, Cnut, and Edward the Confessor. She also recounts for you the two seminal battles that pitted England against the Scandinavians and the Normans: the Battle of Stamford Bridge and the Battle of Hastings. Throughout the lectures, Dr. Paxton opens your eyes to continued debates and controversies over this year and offers her own take on the Norman Conquest's enduring legacy and the fascinating results of this epic clash. By exploring the year 1066 – what led up to it, what happened during that fateful year, and what changed as a result - you'll gain a sharper perspective and a greater understanding of everything that would come afterward.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

History brought to life

Where does 1066: The Year That Changed Everything rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's definitely one of the better books I've listened to. For certain it ranks among the best non-fiction titles in my library.

Who was your favorite character and why?

William the Conqueror — because that's who the story is mostly about. I was also very intrigued by Emma of Normandy. She's a historical figure I knew little about before listening to this, and I was surprised by just how large her role was in the political side of the events leading up to the Norman invasion of England.

What about Professor Jennifer Paxton’s performance did you like?

She really brings the history to life with a very vivid and entertaining performance. It's easy to see that she enjoys her work. ... If only all my high school and college history instructors had lectured so well!

Any additional comments?

I choose this lecture as the first one I listened to in the Great Courses series to see how I like the series simply because it was short and cheap. It has definitely persuaded me to listen to more of the series.

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- Joshua

1066: A year that spans a decade ...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you are into political conflicts, too many characters to handle them in a 4-season family soap and have the slightest interest in real history (along with its outcome in the "modern" picture of Europe): The minutes spent in listening to this short course are definitely of the better ways of killing time.
Mrs. Paxton lectures in a well paced manner, giving her subjects enough differentiation for the listener to not get lost and, most of the time, manages to avoid boredom from simply listing up places, times and names. Well, yes, most of the time - and you do not always get the impression that she is reading her lines from a sheet of paper. Not always :-)

Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

What I like about some of the Great Courses is the impression that the tutors seem to know their topic inside out. In the case of this (very brief, condensed) overview it seems a bit like a collection of data, brought into "digestible dramatic form" and more or less professionally presented, but not necessarily a matter of the heart.
Being slightly familiar with the families, parties and even geographies covered in the course I could "make my way around", but would probably have had my problems in following who is who and what is what about without that background knowledge.
Some actions during that time had a "long time coming", there were certain historic and/or personal events driving individuals and parties to act the way they did. Mrs. Paxton only hinted at a few of those, and too often just in subordinate clauses, where half an hour of additional time spent at those background might have helped.
So one could say: Since this course is not "just about 1066", but about 10-15 years around that date, it could have done with twice the length it offers.

Have you listened to any of Professor Jennifer Paxton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

What exactly is it that has caught Mrs. Paxton's personal interest in the time around 1066? I did not get that.

Any additional comments?

Don't expect much of an insight into "why" things happened. This course is about "what", "when" and, in terms of pure names, "who". Without some basic understanding who the acting parties were, where they came from and what they turned into, you might get lost.
With some overview of the "tapestry" around the 11th century (and, not less important, the 50-100 years before that) this course gives a nice, dense overview on the "English reconfiguration".

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- Marc

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses