Alfred the great

The evolution of England — from ragbag kingdoms to a centralised state

The title of Marc Morris’s new history makes me want to get up and dance a little jig. The modern Inquisition has been jabbing its finger at the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’, accusing it of thought crime and threatening it with the cucking stool. (At least one august history society in the US has renamed itself in response.) Bad people have no doubt used the word, but Alfred the Great (871–99) and Æthelstan (924–39), among others, identified as such, and so contemporary historians have a reasonable case for using it too. Bravo Mr Morris for getting on with it. Having spent many years at academic conferences around the world, I can reassure