A Must-read for English history buffs. Demanding but rewarding
Eighteen chapters and an epilogue that run through almost 700 dense pages and covers all aspects and vicissitudes relating to Anglo-Saxon England. Covering in one single historical frame, and a linear storytelling, all the historic regions of England and their connections with the Continent from the end of the Roman times to the end of William the Conqueror's reign. Encyclopedic in scope, Homeric for its breadth of characters. Masterful all in all. Not for the general reader, but not exclusively for the scholar either. A classic since 1943, its first publication. Demanding, of course, but rewarding in proportion to the care and interest deposited in its reading. I myself skipped many passages that were not of my own interest, which didn't prevent me form picking up the story later on, safely, without feeling historically stranded. The index of contents plays in this book a life saving role, due to the density of each chapter, which flows uninterrupted throughout.
The effort that such an enterprise entails, the mastery in the telling and the knowledge of the subject matter demonstrated, must ensure that this book continues to be a classic for generations. However, I am giving it 4 stars, and not 5, because I believe this should have been not one book, but several, dealing with the different topics separately. Despite the talent of the writer, it is still too heavy a book to swallow.