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A riveting account of the most consequential year in English history—with a touch of classic British humor. 1066 is the most famous date in history, and with good reason, since no battle in medieval history had such a devastating effect on its losers as the Battle of Hastings—which altered the entire course of English history. The French-speaking Normans were the preeminent warriors of the eleventh century, and based their entire society around conflict. They were led by the formidable and ruthless William ‘the Bastard’—who was convinced that his half-Norman cousin, Edward the Confessor, had promised him the throne of England. However, when Edward died in January 1066, Harold Godwinson, the richest earl in the land and the son of a pirate, took the throne. What ensued was one of the bloodiest periods of English history, with a body count that might make even George RR Martin balk. With a lively, witty style (and a chapter entitled “William’s Children All Kill Each Other”), this book explains how the disastrous battle changed England—and the English—forever, introducing the medieval world of chivalry, castles and horse-bound knights.