I found "A Mighty Fleet and the King’s Power: The Isle of Man, AD 400 to 1265" by Tim Clarkson to be an absolutely fascinating book. I should put my cards on the table and say that although I'm pretty well up on Scottish and English history - and have an idea of the broad outlines of how Ireland and Wales came to be as they are today - until I opened this book and despite two visits to the island in younger life I knew nothing at all about the history of the Isle of Man, beyond a vague sense that the Vikings played a large part in it.
Tim Clarkson is to be congratulated on producing an accessible and well written account of over eight centuries of the island's history that also appears to be superbly researched. He does an outstanding job of making clear to the reader which elements of the story are known and which are agreed upon despite gaps in the evidence. He is also very up-front about where he has used common sense and his own understanding of the wider picture to fill in blanks in the story, especially in the early centuries where primary evidence is in places thin or non-existent.
You get a good sense of the book from the publisher's description: "Situated in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man is like a stepping-stone between the lands that surround it. In medieval times, it played an important role in the histories of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. This book explores the first part of that turbulent era, tracing the story of the Isle of Man from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries. It looks at the ways in which various peoples – Britons, Scots, Irish, English and Scandinavians – influenced events in Man over a period of more than 800 years. A large portion of the book is concerned with the Vikings, a group whose legacy – in place names, old burial mounds and finely carved stones – is such a vivid element in the Manx landscape today."
This is a book I would very strongly recommend to anyone wanting a better understanding of the history of the Isle of Man: or to anyone like myself who has an interest in the history of the British Isles but find their knowledge has an Isle of Man-shaped gap in the middle of it.