"Origins" and "Ancestry" notwithstanding, a good third of The Origins of the Anglo-Saxons: Decoding the Ancestry of the English is taken up by a broad overview of Anglo-Saxon England, touching on the conversion to Christianity and the choice of Roman rather than Irish rites, architecture and literature, the response to the Vikings, and the development of kingship and a unified kingdom. There's also twenty pages on the post-1066 history of the English language and on the "rediscovery" of the Anglo-Saxons.
Manco draws on information from genetics in Origins but, though she occasionally lapses into details here, that is never the dominant focus. This is perhaps the most novel material, but also that which will date fastest. A good feel for Anglo-Saxon artefacts is given by sixteen pages of colour plates; plentiful black and white illustrations supplement these and also cover artefacts from the earlier history. There's also a nice selection of maps.
Origins is a bit of a ramble, but would make a good introduction to the Anglo-Saxons for someone interested in their place in the much deeper history of Europe.
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- Related reviews:
- Jean Manco - Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings
- books about Britain + British history
- more ancient history
- books published by Thames and Hudson