Never Greater Slaughter

Brunanburh and the Birth of England

Never Greater Slaughter cover

Never Greater Slaughter

Brunanburh and the Birth of England


'No one has done more than Michael Livingston to revive memories of the battle, and you could not hope for a better guide.' BERNARD CORNWELL Bestselling author of The Last Kingdom series

Late in AD 937, four armies met in a place called Brunanburh. On one side stood the shield-wall of the expanding kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons. On the other side stood a remarkable alliance of rival kings – at least two from across the sea – who'd come together to destroy them once and for all. The stakes were no less than the survival of the dream that would become England. The armies were massive. The violence, when it began, was enough to shock a violent age. Brunanburh may not today have the fame of Hastings, Crécy or Agincourt, but those later battles, fought for England, would not exist were it not for the blood spilled this day. Generations later it was still called, quite simply, the 'great battle'. But for centuries, its location has been lost.

Today, an extraordinary effort, uniting enthusiasts, historians, archaeologists, linguists, and other researchers – amateurs and professionals, experienced and inexperienced alike – may well have found the site of the long-lost battle of Brunanburh, over a thousand years after its bloodied fields witnessed history. This groundbreaking new book tells the story of this remarkable discovery and delves into why and how the battle happened. Most importantly, though, it is about the men who fought and died at Brunanburh, and how much this forgotten struggle can tell us about who we are and how we relate to our past.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Bernard Cornwell
List of Illustrations
List of Maps

Introduction: A Field of Death, 937
1. The Birth of England, to 865
2. The Vikings Arrive, 837–66
3. Alfred and the Viking Conquest, 866–99
4. The Gathering Storm, 900–24
5. The Rise of Athelstan, 924–34
6. The Great Alliance, 934–37
7. Reconstructing Battles
8. The Search for Brunanburh
9. The Ships and the Saga
10. The Day England Came of Age, 937
11. Wirral Archaeology
12. England, Come of Age
Appendix: Objections and Alternate Sites
Suggested Reading and Acknowledgements

Product details

Published 13 May 2021
Format Ebook (PDF)
Edition 1st
Extent 224
ISBN 9781472849281
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 16pp plate section in colour
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Michael Livingston

Dr Michael Livingston teaches the military and cul…


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