Osprey’s book on fortifications in the Kingdom of Wessex is a well-done introduction, but didn’t quite dive into some detail I’d like. At the end, Lavelle admits that the book is even more limited in scope than it could be, but it does manage some interesting discussion.

There’s a good map of the known fortified locations from an administrative record known as the Burghal Hidage, and some discussion of the scholarly work on it. A bit more focused discussion of this (it gets spread out a little) would have been nice, and maybe a real breakdown of how many places are well known, how many the place is known, but the layout is questionable, and how many listed burhs are not identified.

But the real focus is on the more practical matters of considering some of the economy around them, and how these sites served as an actual defense of the area, including secondary (generally hilltop) sites, and signalling. There’s some good color illos of ‘typical’ fortifications, including the ‘generic’ burh on the cover, and there’s reconstructions of Winchester and Lydford shown.

I find myself wanting more with this book on almost everything. But at the same time, I don’t know that there’s much more to be done within the page count. Perhaps really focusing on one location and it’s layout would have helped.