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Why Alfred burned the cakes: a king and his eleven-hundred-year afterlife

Why Alfred burned the cakes: a king and his eleven-hundred-year afterlife

Horspool, David, 1971-

Alfred was the only monarch to be voted a 'great Briton' in a recent BBC poll. David Horspool shows how the Alfred of myth and history are inextricably linked. Alfred's historical achievements combine with the myth to restore a 'popular' Alfred, the only British king to be called 'great'

Hardback, Book. English.
Published London: Profile, 2006
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Available at Cheltenham.

  • Cheltenham – One available

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    9925180910 General Non-Fiction 942.016 Adult Non-Fiction Available


Statement of responsibility: David Horspool
ISBN: 1861977867, 9781861977861
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: [x], 228 p. : ill., map ; 21 cm.
Series: Profiles in history
Subject: Alfred, King of England, 849-899.; Great Britain Kings and rulers Biography.

Author note

David Horspool is the history editor of The Times Literary Supplement. He lives in London and is now writing a book on English rebels.


Horspool successfully combines a historical approach...with a perceptive analysis of the various tales the King engendered.
Times Literary Supplement||explodes some of the myths surrounding his legacy, while retaining an interest in the genesis of the stories about him that have modern currency...
Observer||David Horspool's Why Alfred Burned the Cakes does not seek to discredit the cult of Alfred as unhistorical but instead to look at why the myths surrounding him came into being.
Financial Times Magazine||Myths...are scraped off like barnacles as the West Saxon hero is pulled from the morass of pious public schoolboy attitudes and sentimental Victorian values by a cheerfully revisionist historian.
Times||This entertaining, pithy and thought-provoking book both embodies and explains the enduring resonance of Alfred's story.
Sunday Telegraph||If you have time to read just one book about the great man, you should make it this one.
Daily Telegraph