"From the Fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord."
Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, the Vikings surged from their Scandinavian homeland to trade, raid and invade along the coasts of Europe. Their influence and expeditions extended from Newfoundland to Baghdad, their battles were as far-flung as Africa and the Arctic. But were they great seafarers or desperate outcasts, noble heathens or oafish pirates, the last pagans or the first of the modern Europeans? This concise study puts medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim accounts alongside more recent research into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It includes biographical sketches of some of the most famous Vikings, from Erik Bloodaxe to Saint Olaf, and King Canute to Leif the Lucky. It explains why the Danish king Harald Bluetooth lent his name to a 21st century wireless technology; which future saint laughed as she buried foreign ambassadors alive; why so many Icelandic settlers had Irish names; and how the last Viking colony was destroyed by English raiders.
Extending beyond the traditional 'Viking age' of most books, A Brief History of the Vikings places sudden Scandinavian population movement in a wider historical context. It presents a balanced appraisal of these infamous sea kings, explaining both their swift expansion and its supposed halt. Supposed because, ultimately, the Vikings didn't disappear: they turned into us.
Jonathan Clements is the author of Pirate King, Moon in the Pines and Confucius: A Biography. He lives in London and Jyvaskyla.
©2013 Jonathan Clements (P)2013 Audible Ltd
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Jonathan Clements book on the Vikings is well research and covers not only the history but gives us an introduction to the mythology of the Vikings. This is not a dry history book as he writes in a conversational tone and includes the stories of people almost like a historical novel. Mark Meadows does a fantastic job narrating the book with all the names and places. I would never have come close to the pronunciation of these words if I was reading the book to myself. Makes the audio format the best method for me to read this book. The title says a brief history but Clements sure did a good job of covering the earliest recorded dates to the current modern information including DNA to prove the data. I enjoyed the information on the British Isles as it tied into the information provided by Bernard Cornwell in his Saxon Series. Cornwell had also included some of the mythology in his book about the Vikings as well as the history of conquest and raids. Over all a great way to learn a bit about the history of the Vikings. I heard there is going to be a show about Vikings on T.V. also.
"Not narrated by Mark Meadows"
Bought this partially because I like history, but overwhelmingly because I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Meadows reading another 'A Brief History ...' book on Victorian Britain. Very disappointed when the narrator announced a different name.
Not good, audible.
The narration is fine however - but not as good as I expected. If you are expecting the excellent Mr Meadows, be prepared.
"An interesting time in history beautifully read"
The wonderful narration is so much of my 'experience' of this book that I am not sure I would want to read a hard copy!
The dispelling of myths, and the exploration of how so many others came about.
I will be searching out other works read by this narrator, as his reading is wonderful.
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