The Vikings: A History

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Penguin, Nov 25, 2009 - History - 464 pages
4 Reviews
A comprehensive and thrilling history of the Vikings for fans of the History Channel series

From Harald Bluetooth to Cnut the Great, the feared seamen and plunderers of the Viking Age ruled Norway, Sweden, and Denmark but roamed as far as Byzantium, Greenland, and America. Raiders and traders, settlers and craftsmen, the medieval Scandinavians who have become familiar to history as Vikings never lose their capacity to fascinate, from their ingeniously designed longboats to their stormy pantheon of Viking gods and goddesses, ruled by Odin in Valhalla. Robert Ferguson is a sure guide across what he calls "the treacherous marches which divide legend from fact in Viking Age history." His long familiarity with the literary culture of Scandinavia with its skaldic poetry is combined with the latest archaeological discoveries to reveal a sweeping picture of the Norsemen, one of history's most amazing civilizations.

Impeccably researched and filled with compelling accounts and analyses of legendary Viking warriors and Norse mythology, The Vikings is an indispensable guide to medieval Scandinavia and is a wonderful companion to the History Channel series.

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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

I found the reviews of this a bit surprising- I guess it is a bit hard to read at times, with all those names flying around, but given that Ferguson was trying to be a responsible historian, there's ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBGUSA - LibraryThing

Excellent book about Viking history. Ending less than compelling but book is a must-read if interested in the subject. Of course. it was a slow read, at least for me, since I didn't have a basic familiarity with the time period. Read full review


Title Page Copyright Page Introduction
The Oseberg Ship
The culture of northern Heathendom
The causes of the Viking
The devastation of all the islands of Britain by the Heathens
The Vikings in the Carolingian Empire
Across the Baltic
The Danelaw I
The masterbuilder
The Danelaw II
When Allah met Odin
A piece of horses liver
Greenland and North America
Ragnarök in Iceland
St Brice St Alphege and the wolf
The Viking saint

The settlement of Iceland
Rollo and the Norman colony
Heathendoms last bastion Notes

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About the author (2009)

Robert Ferguson began his literary career as a radio dramatist, translating and adapting for radio works by Knut Hamsun and Henrik Ibsen for the BBC. His first literary biography was Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun, which was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Best Biography Award. As well as literary biographies, Ferguson has written two novels, published in Norwegian.

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