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  • Published: 20 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781786330994
  • Imprint: Hutchinson
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $52.99

The Anglo-Saxons

A History of the Beginnings of England

From the acclaimed historian and broadcaster Marc Morris comes a gripping new book about one of the most important and turbulent periods in English history: the Anglo-Saxons.

Sixteen hundred years ago Britain left the Roman Empire and swiftly fell into ruin. Grand cities and luxurious villas were deserted and left to crumble, and civil society collapsed into chaos. Into this violent and unstable world came foreign invaders from across the sea, and established themselves as its new masters.

The Anglo-Saxons traces the turbulent history of these people across the next six centuries. It explains how their earliest rulers fought relentlessly against each other for glory and supremacy, and then were almost destroyed by the onslaught of the Vikings. It explores how they abandoned their old gods for Christianity, established hundreds of churches and created dazzlingly intricate works of art. It charts the revival of towns and trade, and the origins of a familiar landscape of shires, boroughs and bishoprics.

It is a tale of famous figures like King Offa, Alfred the Great and Edward the Confessor, but also features a host of lesser known characters - ambitious queens, revolutionary saints, intolerant monks and grasping nobles. Through their remarkable careers we see how a new society, a new culture and a single unified nation came into being.

Drawing on a vast range of original evidence - chronicles, letters, archaeology and artefacts - renowned historian Marc Morris illuminates a period of history that is only dimly understood, separates the truth from the legend, and tells the extraordinary story of how the foundations of England were laid.

  • Published: 20 July 2021
  • ISBN: 9781786330994
  • Imprint: Hutchinson
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $52.99

About the author

Marc Morris

Dr Marc Morris is a historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Middle Ages. He is the author of King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta, The Norman Conquest and A Great and Terrible King.

In 2003 Marc presented the highly acclaimed TV series Castle for Channel 4 and wrote its accompanying book. He has also contributed to other history programmes on radio and television.

An expert on medieval monarchy and aristocracy, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Marc has written numerous articles for History Today, BBC History Magazine and Heritage Today (now published together as an e-book, Kings and Castles).

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Praise for The Anglo-Saxons

An absolute masterpiece. It feels like the missing piece of historiography on an essential period of our past. Marc Morris is the platonic ideal of scholarly yet readable big history.


The people and times are brought vividly back to life allowing the reader to see, perhaps for the first time, the foundations of modern England ... A remarkable achievement. Marc's book will surely become a must-read for any student of English history, and particularly of this woefully overlooked, but vital, period.


A rich trove of ancient wonders, worthy of many a night in the mead hall, listening to its telling! Yet it is also a book for our time ... Marc Morris is a genius of medieval narrative, and I am full of admiration.


A deep dive into one of the murkiest ages in our national history ... Morris is an accomplished guide to the tricksy Anglo-Saxon world ... Clever, lively ... splendid new book.

DAN JONES, Sunday Times

Skilfully evokes each era of Anglo-Saxon England ... Morris guides the reader with aplomb, providing a survey of Anglo-Saxon history that is both rounded and nuanced, while still accessible.

Literary Review

This is top-notch narrative history ... A big gold bar of delight, the special joy of which is that the florid world of Anglo-Saxon England will become known to many. As an up-to-date, accessible narrative history of the period, I know of none better.


Brilliant ... Beautifully written, incredibly accessible and deeply researched. I couldn't recommend it more highly.


[A] triumph ... Nobody will be able to resist Morris's telling of this tale, which gallops along, lit up by his love for his subject as well as his learning ... [A] magnificent retelling of our past.

New European

The historian Marc Morris masterfully picks out key themes and characters, from King Offa to Alfred the Great, to produce a coherent and compelling narrative of this turbulent time.

Pippa Bailey, New Statesman

A thorough and accessible account of this important period.

Financial Times

Highly informative and hugely enjoyable. Marc Morris illuminates England's weird and wonderful early history with erudition and wit.


A fascinating journey into the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

The Times, Best Books to Read for Summer

A vivid, sharply drawn story of seven centuries of profound political change, told with wit, authority and shrewd historical judgement. The Anglo-Saxons is a superbly clear and evocative journey through England's beginnings, and Marc Morris is a wonderful guide.

Thomas Penn

This is a much-needed book - an accessible, eminently readable account of the peoples who first made England. It's a gripping story, beautifully told!

Bernard Cornwell, author of The Last Kingdom

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