Positive reviews in war-gaming magazines suggested that it presented a plausible, scholarly case. Almost every bookshop in the UK has at least half a shelf of this sort of book about 'King Arthur'.
Each author fanatically believes his version (and the author is usually a he) to be the true story, hushed up by horrid academics or by political conspiracies (usually by the English) or sometimes his rivals. In fact none of them is, because, as this book will make clear, none of them can be. Yet they sell not because the 'interested layman' necessarily has a vested interest in the argument that King Arthur was Scottish, Cornish, Welsh, or from Warwickshire or even, I suspect, in whether or not he existed.Simultaneously, though, I also concede that it is impossible to prove for sure that he didn't exist, that one cannot demonstrate for sure that there is no 'fire' behind the 'smoke' of later myth and legend.If that sounds too wishy-washy, I will argue that this is the only attitude that can seriously be held concerning the historicity of the 'once and future king'. The antimatter of Arthur Reassessing the Written Sources …Why has it not at least made available some insight into how to judge, and see through, the siren claims of the pseudo-histories, as I will refer to non-academic treatments of this period that ignore recent scholarly analyses? Before going any further, I should confess to being what might be termed a romantic Arthurian agnostic.
That is to say that I wish that Arthur had existed but that I must admit that there is no evidence - at any rate none admissible in any serious 'court of history' - that he ever did so.The first is that medieval writers and their audiences … Unlike 'moderns', medieval people did not have a category of 'factual history' separate from what might today be thought of as 'historical fiction', 'alternative history', or even 'fantasy'.