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Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland | [Bryan Sykes]

Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland

WASPs finally get their due in this stimulating history by one of the world's leading geneticists. Saxons, Vikings, and Celts is the most illuminating book yet to be written about the genetic history of Britain and Ireland. Through a systematic, ten-year DNA survey of more than 10,000 volunteers, Bryan Sykes has traced the true genetic makeup of British Islanders and their descendants.
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Publisher's Summary

WASPs finally get their due in this stimulating history by one of the world's leading geneticists. Saxons, Vikings, and Celts is the most illuminating book yet to be written about the genetic history of Britain and Ireland.

Through a systematic, 10-year DNA survey of more than 10,000 volunteers, Bryan Sykes has traced the true genetic makeup of British Islanders and their descendants. This historical travelogue and genetic tour of the fabled isles, which includes accounts of the Roman invasions and Norman conquests, takes listeners from the Pontnewydd cave in North Wales, where a 300,000-year-old tooth was discovered, to the resting place of "The Red Lady" of Paviland, whose anatomically modern body was dyed with ochre by her grieving relatives nearly 29,000 years ago.

A perfect work for anyone interested in the genealogy of England, Scotland, or Ireland, Saxons, Vikings, and Celts features a chapter specifically addressing the genetic makeup of those people in the United States who have descended from the British Isles.

©2006 Bryan Sykes (P)2006 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (82 )
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3.9 (61 )
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Story
3.8 (62 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 04-02-13
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 04-02-13 Member Since 2001

    Letting the rest of the world go by

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Makes history and myth come alive"

    Data is not understood in a vacuum, so the author first enchants the listener with the history and myths of the people of Great Britain and relates that to what his DNA analysis tells him. The story comes alive when he explains the history and myth of the British, and he writes better than almost anyone on those topics.

    The author steps you through past attempts at understanding the genetics of the British and how DNA can be used to help deconvolve the problem.

    He never lets the science or the data get in the way of telling a good narrative and at times the book was like listening to a beautiful song.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Clinton, MS, United States 09-26-12
    Benjamin Clinton, MS, United States 09-26-12
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    "Good Listen"
    What made the experience of listening to Saxons, Vikings, and Celts the most enjoyable?

    The story was easy to follow even if it was some what technical at time but the author made the best of the situation.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The out come of the story was the best part because it wasn't what I was expecting.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My Favorite scene was the part where the author asked a man for a DNA sample and he says , "You don't want me for your study. I'm not form around here". So the author ask him where he was from and the man tells him and the autor has to ask the man where that is and it turns out to be like ten miles down the road.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francesca Dallas, TX, United States 11-28-11
    Francesca Dallas, TX, United States 11-28-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Fascinating Listen"

    Some technical chapters were a little hard to listen to and would have been better read but overall this was a fascinating book that provided a whole new perspective on ancient British history.
    It was well read, however, I would have preferred it to be read by an English narrator as the author's use of language was so obviously English in many instances it sounded odd read in an American accent.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Twang SCOTTSDALE, AZ, United States 01-07-14
    Twang SCOTTSDALE, AZ, United States 01-07-14 Member Since 2007

    Yet Reader

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    "Thesaurus taxing mind numbing travelog"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I'm not a fan of this narratiator to start with but in this particular recording his lilting emphasis on words/phrases becomes so faint at (many) times that words are entirely lost, especially if listening in a car, and this means many 'rewinds' to catch what was said.


    What could Bryan Sykes have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    He could have talked about the genetics of Saxons, Vikings and Celts. Or better yet leave book as is and chang the title to something more like: Musings on the mystic beauty of the Isles, possible historic events and some suggestive supportive genetic data.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Technically the recording was fine - no dropped mics, etc.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Saxons, Vikings, and Celts?

    Either most of it - we only get about eight sentences in the whole book that mention genetics specifically by region anyway - or better yet just change the title to reflect the true content of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Out of about 300 books I have bought over the years from audible this is only the third that I would like my money back on (Disappearing Spoon & Michael Palins Around the World are the others). 'Spose one out of a hundred isnt so bad though.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Newburyport, MA, United States 04-06-11
    Phil Newburyport, MA, United States 04-06-11
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    "Great content, maddening narration"

    Interesting content for anyone with ancestry in the Ireland and British isles. Good science paired with a historical perspective. The narrator is American, why? His style is suited more to a children's book with his overly dramatic emphasis, especially at the start- almost makes you want to stop listening. The style does not match the content. If you can bear the narration and the clunky, casual writing style, it's an interesting story of the spread of humans to the isles and beyond to the new world.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fahel San Antonio, TX, United States 05-07-14
    Fahel San Antonio, TX, United States 05-07-14 Member Since 2002
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    "Trying to make DNA interesting"
    Would you try another book from Bryan Sykes and/or Dick Hill?

    They apparently did good research, but the most interesting bits were about their social engineering skills.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Shorten it


    What does Dick Hill bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Dick did a good job using his voice inflection to keep the dry material conversational


    Do you think Saxons, Vikings, and Celts needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gotta Tellya Santa Rosa, CA 03-27-14
    Gotta Tellya Santa Rosa, CA 03-27-14 Member Since 2013

    KEC

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    "Interesting but often confusing."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, though the written version might be better. I wanted to review facts often but found their location hard to rediscover in the audio version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Saxons, Vikings, and Celts?

    None come to mind.


    What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

    A good narration, not spectacular, but certainly enjoyable and adequate.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not that kind of book.


    Any additional comments?

    I found this book a bit dry, though the info was welcome. But the volume of fact and theory leading to conclusions was a bit excessive for my taste. I started to lose interest in each section well before conclusions were reached. Having listened to the entire book, I find that I can't integrate the conclusions very well. I will have to listen to the book again someday. Maybe more will stick.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen M. Ueblacker Wellsville, NY 03-22-14
    Kathleen M. Ueblacker Wellsville, NY 03-22-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Very interesting"

    I liked this audible listen for two reasons: the narrator did an excellent job and the material was fascinating. I am looking forward to listening to "DNA USA". Hoping that other Bryan Sykes titles will be available on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pstros USA 04-24-13
    Pstros USA 04-24-13

    blavaaira

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    Story
    "How many times can you listen to the same intro?"
    What would have made Saxons, Vikings, and Celts better?

    This was one of my first Audible purchases. If I had known to avoid audio books that are fragmented into 35 separate presentations, each with the same intro music and narration, I'd have been better off.

    The information itself is breathtaking, and the narrator perhaps the most informed individual on the planet regarding the subject - I just can't keep my train of thought as it goes from chapter to chapter.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Not at all.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The information is fascinating.


    Any additional comments?

    Read the description and be sure you're not getting a story on the installment plan.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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