The best Anglo Saxon books 📚

Browse the best books on Anglo Saxons as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Anglo-Saxon World

The Anglo-Saxon World

By Nicholas J. Higham, M.J. Ryan

Why this book?

The Anglo-Saxon World is the best introductory survey for students of Anglo-Saxon history. Experts in their field, the authors flesh out the traditional narrative account with insights from archaeology, numismatics, and DNA analysis. The book is splendidly enriched by almost three hundred colour photographs, tables, maps, and diagrams, while box-out sections in each chapter delve into interesting topics or debates. The authors also outline the historiography for readers who want to know how scholarly understanding of the period has developed.

From the list:

The best books to understand Anglo-Saxon England

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Book cover of The Way of Wyrd

The Way of Wyrd

By Brian Bates

Why this book?

This intriguing novel tells the story of a young Christian monk, Brand, who is sent to find and learn from a Saxon shaman/sorcerer, Wulf. The shaman turns Brand’s life upside down, introducing him to a strange, mysterious, and magical world that Brand never imagined existed. Written like a modern spiritual quest, but set in Anglo-Saxon England, the novel is an ingenious combination of old and new, inspired by charms and healings in a thousand-year-old manuscript in the British Library.

From the list:

The best books on British folklore and customs

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Book cover of History of the English Church and People

History of the English Church and People

By Bede

Why this book?

As close as we come to a first-hand account of events in the first part of the early medieval period. Writing in the early 8th century, Bede was able to interview some of the people who had witnessed events he describes. Bede was undoubtedly writing from the Christian perspective and he was certainly biased in favour of his native Northumbria, but his words are like a window into the past and how people (or at least the clergy) thought.

From the list:

The best books on the world of Anglo-Saxon Britain

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Book cover of The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

By Max Adams

Why this book?

Good research is so important to me and this is the historical study that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. Max Adams has studied the period in detail, but his style of writing is easy to read and sometimes exciting, so much so that I almost felt that I was reading a novel. I love the way Max Adams suggests various possible scenarios, from the written evidence, studies, and archaeology that we have. This is a perfect research book for a novelist, wanting to bring the time period to life. I…

From the list:

The best books throwing light into the Dark Ages

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Book cover of Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066

Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England C.500-1066

By Ann Williams

Why this book?

For readers who want an expert introduction to the origins of kingship, power, and government in the centuries before the Norman Conquest, Ann’s Kingship and Government is the place to go. A great strength of her book is that it explains key concepts, structures, and terminology as the need arises, and in a way that clarifies the story that is being told. This equips the reader to explore what can otherwise seem like a strange and incomprehensible world. If you want the nuts and bolts of how Anglo-Saxon society and its power structures operated, this is the book for you.…

From the list:

The best books to understand Anglo-Saxon England

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Book cover of The Princess Who Hid in a Tree: An Anglo-Saxon Story

The Princess Who Hid in a Tree: An Anglo-Saxon Story

By Jackie Holderness, Alan Marks

Why this book?

This is the story of Frideswide and the creation of Oxford as a place of learning told for young children. Our grandchildren are weaned on superheroes and I would like them to know the stories of heroes and heroines from the past as well.
From the list:

The best books about Oxford where town meets gown - the bits the tourists miss

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