In the Land of Giants
The bestselling historian tells the story of the landscapes, peoples and culture of early medieval Britain in eight walks, an epic sea voyage and a north-south ride by motorbike. The five centuries between the end of Roman Britain (410) and the death of Alfred the Great (899) have left few voices save a handful of chroniclers, but Britain’s ‘Dark Ages’ can still be explored through their material remnants: buildings, books, metalwork, and, above all, landscapes.
Adams explores Britain’s lost early medieval past by walking its paths and exploring its imprint on valley, hill and field. From York to Whitby, London to Sutton Hoo and Falmouth to Mallaig, In the Land of Giants offers a beautifully written insight into the lives of peasants, drengs, ceorls, thanes, monks and kings during an enigmatic but richly exciting period of our island’s history.
'A beautifully written archae-travelogue ... an engaging and scholarly journey through Britain's landscapes' TLS. 'Adams has succeeded in creating a bold account concerned with those timeless qualities that bind people together across centuries' BBC History Magazine. 'Adams strikingly evokes the Dark Ages and reminds readers that the British landscape is dotted with far more of its remains than most would suppose. The combination of history and travel writing is always a difficult hybrid to master, but Adams has done so ably, creating a veritable gazetteer of the Land of Giants for others to follow' Literary Review. 'Offers many pointed lessons - not least that history ought to play a central role in our culture and education ... This book reminds us too that we hold a collective title deed to the land itself. It connects us to our past and our present and to ourselves; and we sever this connection at our peril' Irish Times. 'A personal travelogue interspersed with historical references, Adams comes alive when he deals with history and topography. Very well illustrated, with helpful maps, best for independent travellers who want to do their own exploring' The Tablet. 'Great archaeological knowledge, an inquisitive mind and vivid descriptions of the natural and manmade landscape come together in this erudite travelogue' The Lady.
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