- By Sarah Foot

Aethelstan: The First King of England

  • Title: Aethelstan: The First King of England
  • Author: Sarah Foot
  • ISBN: 9780300187717
  • Page: 393
  • Format: Paperback
  • Aethelstan The First King of England Sarah Foot offers a full account of the first King of England thelstan This biography of King thelstan who reigned briefly but brilliantly reveals for the first time his personal life his

    Sarah Foot offers a full account of the first King of England, thelstan.This biography of King thelstan 924 939 , who reigned briefly but brilliantly, reveals for the first time his personal life, his spectacular military victories and why he may justly be called the first English monarch A definitive and comprehensive study that fully does justice to thelstan foSarah Foot offers a full account of the first King of England, thelstan.This biography of King thelstan 924 939 , who reigned briefly but brilliantly, reveals for the first time his personal life, his spectacular military victories and why he may justly be called the first English monarch A definitive and comprehensive study that fully does justice to thelstan for the first time Church Times An compelling new biography Sarah Foot manages to construct a remarkably clear vision of this king who deserves to be widely known BBC History magazine Book of the Year

    1 thought on “Aethelstan: The First King of England

    1. Aethelstan seems like one of those interesting and very important "forgotten" kings, with his main flaw being the fact that he wasn't long sighted enough to pay for a biographer like his granddad Alfred the Great did. He also seems like an interesting personality, a contended ascension to the throne possibly influencing his subsequent decision to never marry and have kids, thus ensuring a smoother succession for his half-brother. Most of what little fame Aethelstan still has today comes from the [...]

    2. Ah, Aethelstan. The first English king. A great warrior - he conquered or threatened all of England into recognizing him as king. A scholar - he learned to read, not something everybody did back in 900, and supported the intellectuals of the time. A lawgiver - and his laws were pretty much obeyed, which is impressive as this was the depths of the "dark ages" when it could not be assumed that one was safe from mayhem just because the king said you should be. Devout, brave, honest, just.The grands [...]

    3. Sarah Foot's Aethelstan is one of the few biographies written about the life of the West Saxon king, Aethelstan. The book covers every aspect of his life: Lineage, upbringing, travels, royal expenses, his Court, his private life and religious devotion (Aethelstan never married), and his success as a king who would rule all of England.However, the mistake I made in reading this book, was that I chose to read it immediately following Neil Oliver's brilliant A History of Ancient Britain. I found my [...]

    4. This is an exceptional book. Very academic in tone so for those readers that have a deep interest in pre Conquest England. Not recommended to those that are after popular history. The author has delved into every source available to give a thorough coverage of Æthelstan and his reign. No stone has been left unturned to cover areas from his early life, an area very bereft of information through to his modern legacy. There are 8 chapters and an epilogue covering debates as to Æthelstan place in [...]

    5. I'll start off by saying this is not necessarily written for the casual reader of history. It is a well-researched, as-detailed-as-possible biography of one of England's greatest, but long-forgotten, kings. In fact, even I - a more than casual reader of very specific history (Anglo-Saxon England) - had to pause at times, read and reread, because of the wealth of information. It truly surprises me that this book has such a (what I consider) low rating, leaving me to wonder if we've even read the [...]

    6. Sarah Foot does a fantastic job in illuminating the life of one of England's great Anglo-Saxon monarchs. The thematic, rather than chronological, approach is the correct one for a figure lacking in reliable early sources. Whilst this does mean certain facts are repeated, this for me was not a problem, allowing deeper understanding of the structure of Athelstan's life and the events that shaped it.Other readers have criticised Foot's prose style. In fact, rather than finding it dull as others hav [...]

    7. Foot's narative of Aethelstan is surely a very well researched piece of work. As the author states right at the beginning, this book tries to shine a light on the person of Aethelstan as a whole, not just as warrior, lawgiver or promoter of the church. This goal is, I'd say, duly achived.So one might ask: Why just a two-star-rating?The answer to this is, that Foot's book constitutes a textbook for students of early English history and is therefore written in a very scientific mannor. This let me [...]

    8. This was an excellent book on a lesser known Anglo-Saxon king. The author does a great job bringing Aethelstan to life and I can't help but wonder why he is forgotten where another childless warrior king, Richard I, has been so remembered. Aethlestan was a much better king to his people, mentor for many younger relatives and a man of noted piety. This biography was very well researched and documented.

    9. So far so good. Well researched and written, The author has thus far has used plain language; no unproveable assertions or judgements.

    10. Wonderfully written in depth biography of an under appreciated Anglo-Saxon king of England. Fascinating first king of a united England.

    11. As is the problem with a lot of literature on Anglo-Saxon kings, writing that could be described as biographical is few and far between, Æthelstan being a prime example of that. In modern times all pre-conquest kings tend to be overshadowed by Alfred the Great - and this is something that Foot tries to rectify. She is successful in uncovering something of a real person from among the various sources that exist, creating an image of a man with interests, passions, love and obsessions. However, s [...]

    12. Seems exceptionally well researched but still you don't get much of the story of the man or the times

    13. As blade runner has it , the light that burns shortest burns brightest and you have burned so very very brightly . good account of a short but important reign .

    14. I've been on a journey to read about each of the English monarchs, and since there aren't too many books on the kings pre-Conquest, and even fewer on Alfred's sons and grandsons, I found myself reading Sarah Foot's book on Aethelstan. I knew it would be scholarly since it's a part of the English Monarch book series, but whew! It's not a particularly long book, it's just very dense with information, much of which occurs in parenthesis, making it tedious and rather un-interesting to read. I mean, [...]

    15. This book is really just 1 star or me, but I give it 2 stars because I did finish the whole thing. It is a well written book, but turned out to be a very bad fit for my interests.The book was recommended to me years ago because I have been reading a long series of historical novels dealing with medieval England in the time of Alfred the Great and his son Edward the Elderthelstan was the eldest son of Edward and succeeded his father to the throne in the year 924.In the most recent book in the Sax [...]

    16. This biographical treatment of the life and achievements of King Aethelstan was far more academic than other biographies I have read, and not nearly as approachable as Justin Pollard's work on King Alfred the Great. In all fairness, there is far more historical information regarding Afred than his grandson, thanks to the work of Asser, but the writing style was more narrative than academic.This criticism in no way diminishes Sarah Foot's efforts here. It's extremely difficult to research early A [...]

    17. Æthelstan was more properly the first King of all the English. Until his time The Anglo-Saxons were divided into as many as seven Kingdoms. Æthelstan was the first to unite all the Anglo-Saxons into what became England. Besides that all of the Irish, the Scots, the Danes and the Norse (Norwegians) in Great Britain swore allegiance to him.He succeeded his grandfather Alfred the Great and his father Edward the Elder as the ruler of mainly the Southern Anglo-Saxons. He ruled from 924-939 A. D but [...]

    18. Make no mistake, this is one heck of a biography of Aethelstan. For the casual historical reader it may well be far too arcane--fully half of each page is taken up with information-crammed footnotes from a wealth of obscure but no doubt fascinating source material. Information on Aethelstan's personal life is scarce, so Foot has filled in the blanks with scholarly exposition on life and customs in 10th Anglo-Saxon England. The book is an historical tour de force, and will probably remain the las [...]

    19. First things first, this is a scholarly work of history. It's very readable, but addresses many more questions than just 'what sort of King was Athelstan?' Historical writing has come along way since the easy going read of Frank Barlow's, Edward the Confessor (also in the same series!) And that's not to detract from Frank Barlows work, but Athelstan is a heavier tome, excellent for all that.I very much enjoyed the sections on Athelstan as a King and Athelstan as a war leader, and found the autho [...]

    20. This well researched work is the definitive biography of this obscure but important English king. In fact, it is the first substantial biography using all available sources. Though not the first to make the claim this does present the emerging view of Athelstan as the first King of England rather than his ancestor Egbert of Wessex and also does much to remove Athelstan from the shadow of his very famous grandfather Alfred the Great.

    21. A remarkably detailed account of the life of the first English king to rule over a united England. He was the grandson of Alfred. Interesting stuff but based on the slenderest of records and so much of it is supposition. A scholarly book and not really a bedtime read.

    22. A very memorable attempt at writing a biography of the unjustly forgotten first king of the English & British. An "attempt" though inevitably as sources are so limited.

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