Thursday, November 06, 2014

The White Horse King by Benjamin Merkle

I found the first few chapters of, The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great, by Benjamin Merkle, to be rather dry. I continued on as I had a review to write, I'm glad I did. ::grin::

King Alfred united Anglo-Saxon England against a Viking invasion, led the English into battle against the Danish hordes, created a renaissance of literature and the arts, reformed the legal system, and set the stage for a revival of Christian worship. But that's not what made him great. Benjamin Merkle unravels the tale of how a great man came to power during one of the most difficult periods in English history, how he led his nation through them, and how he laid the groundwork for England's coming triumphs on the global stage.

I have taught about Vikings raids every four years - but I had never gotten beyond the information provided in our text books. I was sickened by descriptions of  Viking brutality and torture.  I'll probably not be able to watch "How to Train Your Dragon" again.  King Alfred shines in the midst of this setting. I was amazed as I read of his truly Christian response towards enemies.   I found inspiration in Benjamin's description  of Alfred's battle technique. The picture of warriors, lined up side by side, shields interlocked and moving forward stays with me.  When one would get wounded, another would step into his place. As long as all held their place the shieldwall was virtually impenetrable.
 Centuries before John Wycliffe,  Alfred was translating the Bible into the Anglo Saxon language.  Alfred laid the ground work for a united England.

"...he was a fierce warrior, a devout Christian ever thirsting for wisdom, deeply committed to justice, a lover of mercy, and  a king who gave himself for his people. He was practically a myth and a much-needed reality. He was the king of the White Horse- Alfred the Great."
I recommend this book if you are a lover of history, if you are looking for a "hero" for young boys, and/or  if you are a teacher.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Living all of life before the face of God...