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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great

Thomas Nelson The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great

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. Ben 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.
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Customer Reviews for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Review 1 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:February 9, 2010
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James Offhaus
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.
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Review 2 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 29, 2010
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.
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Review 3 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 6, 2010
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wjcollier3.wordpress.com
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.
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Review 4 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:December 29, 2009
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.
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Review 5 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:December 21, 2009
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Kathy Leicester
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.
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Review 6 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:December 9, 2009
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Peggy Erickson
The White Horse King is the story of the Life of Alfred the Great the only English king to be known by that designation. Alfred was born in 849 AD, the fifth son of the Anglo-Saxon king Aethelwulf. At the time of his birth, England was a collection of smaller kingdoms. Wessex, Alfreds domain comprised the area in southern England adjacent to the English channel. It was a nation bisected by rivers, which made it a prime country for invasion by Vikings. Much of Alfreds early life was spent in fighting against invasion. His experience prompted him to make sweeping changes in the way his land was defended. It caused him to build a navy for coastal defense. It caused him to build fortified cities from which the surrounding country could be defended and to establish a standing army which remained in the field for defense. These were just a few of the innovations which made Alfred a great king.He also was concerned to establish literacy in his kingdom and provided for the education of his subjects. He translated or oversaw the translation of scripture. Alfreds greatest accomplishment was that he trained an entire generation of English leaders, men who understood wisdom, justice, righteouness and the true duties of a ruler.
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Review 7 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 5, 2009
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Margaret Traudt
Before reading Benjamin Merkles book The White Horse King, the life of Alfred the Great, the only thing I knew about this ninth century monarch was that he had Great in his title. I finished the book published by Thomas Nelson with a great appreciation for this godly man who courageously rid his land of the fierce, marauding Vikings and then installed a system of protection, a plan of literacy, and a foundation of justice in his area of early Great Britain. Merkles well-researched story may be a little long on battle stories for my liking, but he does an excellent job of showing his readers that Alfred isnt just a battle-worn commander. Alfred becomes a compassionate, God-honoring leader who sets a goal of providing education for the common man in his country, so all have access to the early writings of church leaders. Alfred, himself, learned Latin and then translated the first fifty Psalms and Augustines Soliloquies for his countrymen. Alfred generously established monasteries, churches, and schools, but wanting to give more of himself to God, he resolved to give one-half of each of his days to study and prayer. In Merkles own words, Alfred truly was the great king of England, the one monarch who rightly understood the needs of the nation and unrelentingly gave all he had to supply those needs. He is a model for all who aspire to leadership.I was fortunate to read this book under the auspices of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program. You can read about more of their books at http://brb.thomasnelson.com/.
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Review 8 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 30, 2009
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Bob Garbett
Having never heard of King Alfred the Great, or the author, I was not sure what to expect from this book. What I found was a compelling page turner. It was not only well written, it was also very informative. King Alfred lived and reigned in the 800s and is responsible for the development of legal code, design of towns and warfare. We are given a short history of the Viking assaults on the Anglo Saxon people and countryside and the efforts of a Godly king who believed in protecting his people and standing with them against adversity. He is not a man without fault however, and the author points that out for us as well. As one who has never been a student of that era of Englands history, I found it refreshing the author took time to explain customs and practices without becoming boring or making the book read like a text book. The White Horse King is a fascinating book and would make a great gift, but make sure to buy a copy for yourself as well. I post these reviews as a member of Thomas Nelsons Book Review Blogger Program www.brb.thomasnelson.com
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Review 9 for The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:November 23, 2009
The back of the book advertises "The White Horse King" as a mythic adventure story that stirs the imagination and races the heart. SoI was expecting to read of an adventure, something like "First Knight" or "The Three Musketeers" set in Viking times. Instead I got a documentary. Theres nothing wrong with documentaries, but when youre expecting an epic story, they are disappointing.That first reaction set aside, as an historical biography, "The White Horse King" is well-researched and thoroughly presented. I dont know if the author ever read "You Can Write Your Family History" by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack or not, but he followed her instructions for a biography to the letter, starting with known facts about Alfred the Great and adding cultural and historical information to complete the story, to help the reader understand what he probably did, felt, and thought about events during his time. Notes set to the side of the text, drawings, maps, and pictures add interest to the book. Each of the eight chapters begins with an historical ballad, poem, or quote relevant to the content. The book also includes a bibliography and index.If you enjoy learning about the Vikings, early Anglo-Saxon kings, and the history of England along with the origins of some of its early myths, The White Horse King is a book you will want to read.Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.
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