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This is too brief a history to rank alongside Gwyn Jones as a definitive history of the Vikings. There are a couple of hosting innaccuracies, and it fails to complement the historical writings with the archaeology. That said it romps through the era in a readable fashion.
I chose this book because my knowledge of the Vikings was limited mostly to a very cursory description probably from high school world history many years ago and what I have learned from movies and documentaries. I did not fully comprehend the fact that they invaded virtually all of Europe at the peak of their existence and had a major influence that I never knew before. Because of the lack of documents and historical recordings, retracing the facts and events is more than a challenge for anyone writing a book of the Vikings. I found the book to be interesting, enjoyable and educational.
I had expected more about the culture than I got--and somewhat less of a tiny thumbnail history with little new information.
The referencing of information from various sagas combined with historical data does give a better picture, but the anthropological knowledge of various monks scattered about northern Europe in the Viking Era lacks some veracity.
Much too short in many regards and far too long in others.
I purchased this book hoping to get a good, complete, objective of the viking age. This book, unfortunately, misses the mark. While the writing is very good, and the stories Mr. Wernick tells contain much of the detail I was looking for, it skips over a lot of substance. The book has a great account of the trials and tribulations of Eirik Rautha (and his underhanded way of dealing with them), and of Eirik's son, Leif. What it lacks, however, is any mention of some of the most important historical figures of the age, for example, Hrolf Ragnvaldsson (later to be Robert, Duke of Normandy), Eirik Haraldsson (also called, Erik Bloodaxe), Gorm the Old (the first king of a united Denmark), his son, Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson, Ragnar Lodbrok, Ivar the Boneless, and many more. What was there was good, I just expected a lot more.
Learned a few things. Liked some of the nautical details, but would have like to have a picture or drawing of some of the vessels mentioned. Would have enjoyed more historical detail, but I understand that many details are quite vague.
I got it because I thought it was another book, one I'd leafed through in a local bookstore and found interesting....but it wasn't. It wasn't nearly as interesting as that one had promised to be, either. It was pretty much a cut and dried chronological history of the Vikings, told in a rather dry style. I probably would not have bought it (I usually only download freebies) had I known it wasn't the one I thought.
This book gives a good overview of how the Vikings lived and what they were doing during their peak time period. The book examines their raids, their more famous members, and their domestic life. I found the narrative lacking in depth of their culture and would have liked more information about the prominent members of their society. It's a good book for those wanting a general overview of life among the Vikings.
Pretty good historical overview of the Vikings. That period is not well documented and so presents big challenges to historians. This was a good effort and worth reading to help build knowledge of the period.
In tracing my ancestry I have Viking ancestors. This provided an interesting insight into the culture and the discoveries they made. Although a warring sort they made many accomplishments and touched many parts of undiscovered lands