Never Greater Slaughter: Brunanburh and the Birth of England


Never Greater Slaughter: Late in AD 937, four armies met in a place called Brunanburh. On one side stood the shield-wall of the expanding kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons. On the other side stood a remarkable alliance of rival kings – at least two from across the sea – who’d come together to destroy them once and for all. The stakes were no less than the survival of the dream that would become England. The armies were massive. The violence, when it began, was enough to shock a violent age. Brunanburh may not today have the fame of Hastings, Crécy or Agincourt, but those later battles, fought for England, would not exist were it not for the blood spilled this day. Generations later it was still called, quite simply, the ‘great battle’. But for centuries, its location has been lost.

Today, an extraordinary effort, uniting enthusiasts, historians, archaeologists, linguists, and other researchers – amateurs and professionals, experienced and inexperienced alike – may well have found the site of the long-lost battle of Brunanburh, over a thousand years after its bloodied fields witnessed history. This groundbreaking new book tells the story of this remarkable discovery and delves into why and how the battle happened. Most importantly, though, it is about the men who fought and died at Brunanburh, and how much this forgotten struggle can tell us about who we are and how we relate to our past.

Editorial Review

“Michael Livingston’s ‘Never Greater Slaughter: Brunanburh and the Birth of England’ is a masterful exploration of one of history’s pivotal yet nearly forgotten battles. Livingston weaves a narrative that is as compelling as it is informative, transporting readers back to the tumultuous day in AD 937 when the fate of what would become England hung in the balance.

Through meticulous research, Livingston not only brings to life the clash between the Anglo-Saxons and their formidable opponents but also sheds light on the complex alliances and rivalries of the time.

This book is more than just a recounting of a battle; it is a deep dive into the events that shaped a nation. Livingston’s skillful storytelling, combined with his extensive knowledge of medieval history, makes ‘Never Greater Slaughter’ an essential read for anyone interested in the origins of England.

The discovery of Brunanburh’s location adds an exciting dimension to the narrative, offering insights into how modern technology and interdisciplinary research can unveil the secrets of the past. This book is a significant contribution to the field, providing a detailed account of a battle that, until now, has been largely obscured by time. ‘Never Greater Slaughter’ is not only a testament to the people who fought and died at Brunanburh but also a reflection on how history shapes our identity and understanding of the world.”

Never Greater Slaughter Brunanburh and the Birth of England by Michael Livingston
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Range: Adult
Start Rating: 4.5 stars
Publication Date: May 11, 2021

Author: Michael Livingston

Michael Livingston

Michael Livingston

Michael Livingston is an acclaimed historian, author, and professor with a profound expertise in medieval studies. Holding a Ph.D. in medieval literature, Livingston has dedicated his career to uncovering the nuances and complexities of the Middle Ages, with a particular focus on military history and historical literature. His scholarly work is distinguished by its rigorous research, interdisciplinary approach, and a compelling narrative style that brings the distant past to life for both academic and general audiences.

Livingston’s bibliography includes a wide array of books, articles, and essays that span the gamut of medieval warfare, culture, and literature. He is renowned for his ability to translate meticulous historical research into engaging stories, making significant contributions to our understanding of medieval history. His work often explores lesser-known battles and events, shedding light on their importance in shaping the modern world.

In addition to his writing, Livingston is a respected educator, teaching courses on medieval literature and history at a prominent university. His dedication to teaching is matched by his commitment to research, as he actively participates in archaeological expeditions and historical reenactments to gain deeper insights into the subjects of his study.

Livingston’s contributions to the field have been recognized with numerous awards and honors, highlighting his impact on both scholarly research and popular historical understanding. His passion for history and storytelling makes him a pivotal figure in the ongoing exploration of our past, inspiring a new generation of historians and history enthusiasts alike.


  • Wikipedia Contributors. (2024, January 11). Michael Livingston. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation.

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