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The Normans: Warrior Knights and their Castles Review by Nancy Wagner

Christopher Gravett & David Nicolle
Osprey Publishing
443 Park Ave South
New York, NY 10016

This book is unique in that it talks not only about the history of the Normans but also the Norman knight himself--how he lived, dressed, and trained, and his historical engagements. One interesting comment made in the section on training was this quote from a Carolingian: "He who has stayed at school till the age of twelve, and never ridden a horse, is fit only to be a priest" (page 96). The book even goes into their motivation for becoming knights and why knights existed in the first place.

That last half of the book would be a tourist's dream. It goes into the history of many famous castles both in the United Kingdom, Normandy (coastal France), southern Italy and Sicily. In the back there are appendices of museums as well as a much more in-depth listing of Norman castles with a brief history and location.

I would recommend this book for any young teen who dreams of knights and castles or who just wants to get a better handle on the Norman culture.

Product review by Nancy Wagner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2007