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Lost Realms: Histories of Britain from the Romans to the Vikings

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I purchased this book after hearing an interview with Thomas Williams on a podcast, but I am now looking forward to reading more of his books. Archaeological and source material driven, Williams constructs what he can with the evidence available and his vivid interpretations make you think. The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. As such, a lot of the book is based on supposition, although he fully gets to grips with archaeological and literary sources from the era while admitting their shortcomings.

Not too much of the x son of y, brother of z (which I always find a bit dry) and the author manages to pique and then satisfy the reader's interest by bringing places to life and putting some historical perspective into them. With so few facts to make generalisations, the author appears happy to meander off-topic, for example to discuss differences between the calculation of the date of Easter between Roman and British Christians. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. Either way a thoroughly enjoyable book that even more brilliantly bring to life this period in my mind when I travel across the country! This book was incredibly fascinating and I really enjoyed learning about these little kingdoms, a lot of which I’ve never heard off.Williams has a fine command of the literary, administrative, religious and archaeological sources of early medieval Britain.

I read until I was part way through the chapter on Essex before deciding that I really wasn’t enjoying the book sufficiently, and this wasn’t compensated by the learning. This is a part of history I am very interested in, and so have at least a passing familiarity with much of what was discussed, yet I at no point felt like I was retreading old ground. How do we construct the past, and why do we – like the people of early medieval Britain – revere it, often finding in the tales of those long-gone a curious sense of belonging?

In restoring some of these voices, he raises questions matching many we face today: how do nations form and why do some fail?

This is a difficult historical topic to take on - Williams flat out says that if you aren't comfortable with minimal evidence and the liberal use of the word "possibly," this isn't the book for you. The over all effect, and 'horny relish' is a good example, is of a style that sounds like the worse kind of tv history sacrificing accuracy for sound bites. Ultimately, it felt like lots of academic essays about historical places linked together in a book with some historic poetry thrown in.History which delves into our dim past and shatters the mythology but in doing so provides us with a much more interesting insight into who we truly were/are. The author manages to create something from almost nothing with really solid scholarship and layering over that with a poetic vision. In Lost Realms Thomas Williams uncovers the forgotten origins and untimely demise of Britain’s ancient kingdoms: lands that hover in the twilight between history and fable, whose stories hum with gods and miracles, with giants and battles and ruin. Particularly enjoyable is the use of each kingdom to highlight the different forces and events changing Britain between Roman and what we consider the medieval period.

Prior to this he gained an MA with Distinction in Cultural Heritage Studies (UCL) with a prize-winning dissertation that explored the role of fantasy and medievalism in the modern interpretation of cultural heritage sites in Britain and Germany. In Lost Realms, Thomas Williams, bestselling author of Viking Britain, focuses on nine kingdoms representing every corner of the island of Britain.These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. He is assiduous about filling in background details (such as the Easter Controversy which is vital when it comes to assessing Bede's coverage of some events).

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