Ive just completed reading The White Horse King, by Benjamin Merkle, which is an historical account of the life of King Alfred. I at first hesitated to accept a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson publishers, fearing it would be too thick and boring. Neither of these two fears were ever confirmed. It was truly a fascinating read from start to finish, based on a person and period in history with which I had little to no familiarity with. Merkle made the subject matter approachable. He would not speak over your head, neither would he talk down to you in his writing style. I felt as though I had been given access to the very place where Alfred lived.Alfred was an exceptional character in history. His life of struggle against the Vikings, his innovations, and his re-establishment of Christian worship and learning give him such a place of relevance in our modern world that can be hidden behind the dates in which he existed. The stand that he made against the tyranny and oppression of the Viking raids make him an example of leadership and bravery that could speak to anyone today. Alfred was the real thing. He was not perfect. But he acquired the heart of God, and the heart for his country.
I think this book is great for guys. So if you have a reluctant reader husband then this book might be for him. It is full of battles and stories. Its an excellent book but has lots of hard to pronounce names. It is a bit slow in places but gets interesting.
The White Horse King is the story of Alfred the Great, regarded by many to be the first king of Britain. He united the Angles and Saxons to defeat the attacking Danes. It is because of the leadership he provided that his grandson was the first king of a united Britain. During his reign, Alfred made reforms to the legal system which forms part of the foundation for some of the freedoms we enjoy today. In the entire history of the storied rulers of England, Alfred is the only one to be called Great. This is no small thing.Certain elements of Alfreds story remind me of the Biblical story of King David. Alfred was the eighth son of the reigning king. It was assumed he would never sit on the throne. As you read of his childhood, it is evident that he was being prepared for something special. In the Bible story, David had many older brothers. But when you read of his adventures with the lion and the bear, then the story of the slaying of Goliath, it is clear God is working toward something bigger.For Alfred, that something bigger was to unite and lead his kingdom in defending their homeland against invading forces. For all his life, Alfred gave all credit for his success to God. There are some lessons in there for all of us.The White Horse King is written more like a story or series of stories than a history book or even many biographies. Because of the time it is set, some of the names and places are difficult to read or follow; they are in old or middle English. It is evident that the book is written by a man who is fascinated by the character about whom he writes. That makes it more enjoyable to read.More information about The White Horse King can be found at Thomas Nelsons product page. I am a member of Thomas Nelsons Book Review Blogger program.
The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great was a very good history of King Alfred. I knew nothing of this king until I say this book and since recently I had become interested in England and their kings I thought I would give it a try. The story was very well presented and I came away with an appreciation for King Alfred. I didn't like the sidebars that were incorparated into the text instead of using footnotes. I found them very distracting and that took away from my enjoyment of the book but not so much that I wouldn't encourage you to pick this up if you are interested in English history. I read this as a part of the Thomas Nelson Blogger Reviewers program.
The White Horse King by Benjamin Merkle is the first book Ive reviewed by this author, and the first book of its kind that I have read. It is a narrative history (lots of words, not many dates) of the life and achievements of King Alfred, called The Great.The title of the book is taken from Alfreds first great victory at the Battle of Ashdown. Legend has Ashdown linked to Whitehorse Hill, which towers over the Berkshire downs, standing around nine hundred feet above sea level. Carved into the turf of the slope of the hill is an iconic chalk outline of a galloping white horse.The book is eminently readable and is a page-turning tale, unusual for a history book of any kind (with the exception perhaps of Killer Angels by Michael Shaara). Alfred earned the title Great after a lifetimes devotion to Jesus Christ and the people of Wessex (and eventually all of England).The author proves in story after story of Alfreds life, that his defensive reforms introduced in the Burghal Hideage; the revival of learning throughout Wessex; and the new standard of justice required by the domboc testified to his tremendous insight and understanding of the flaws of the Anglo-Saxon culture. He sought to correct those flaws, and was successful beyond any other king in history. The author contends that Alfreds achievements made him more than worthy of the title Alfred the Great. Based on the book, I must agree.The book should appeal to anyone who loves a good story, or who loves Anglo-Saxon history in particular.