Growing up my dad read to us many books, and one that I recall most fondly was Charles Dicken’s “A Child’s History Of England“. The stories of kings and great men, battles won and lost, all the stories that make up the history of the great land of England help my siblings and I in rapt attention around the dinner table.
And now comes a new book focused specifically on Alfred, the only king in the history of England to earn the appellation “the Great” attached to his name.
Alfred was responsible for renewing and rebuilding the fight against the ravaging Danish vikings, building an effective defensive and offensive military force, and rekindling the flames of education and knowledge in 9th century Wessex. He also built the strength and respect of the kingdom of Wessex and of the entirety of Anglo-Saxon England until his sons were able to consolidate the entirety of England under a single throne.
In his story of this the only Great King of English history, Benjamin Merkle presents an accessible, readable, and enjoyable retelling of Alfred the Great, the White Horse King.
While he appears to be gushing, in fan boy fashion, over this hero of ancient time, Benjamin present sufficient evidence to show this is not simply a figment of his own fancy. When there is disagreement regarding the life of Alfred, Benjamin references the different viewpoints and then gives his reasons for accepting one side or the other.
I came away from this book with an image of a truly great man, a man who, in humility and a cognizance of the great responsibilities of authority, led his nation well. With continual seeking of God’s will and of finding the better and the best way, Alfred truly deserves being named the Great.