How William the Conqueror Became England’s Peacemaker

The Norman Was Ruthless in Battle, but His Reign Brought Stability and Rule of Law

Since the publication of my William the Conqueror in the Yale University Press English Monarchs series in October 2016, I have often been asked how long it took me to write the book. In response, I usually say that it has taken 50 years and three years.

Both numbers are inaccurate, but they contain two essential truths. It was around 50 years ago, as a postgraduate student, that I recognized the great potential of searching for manuscripts in France and started discovering the new or scarcely known charters that have …