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Saxons, Vikings, and Celts Audiobook

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

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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

4.0 (198 )
5 star
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4.1 (163 )
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Story
3.9 (163 )
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3 star
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1 star
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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 2016

    l'enfer c'est les autres

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "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.

    6 of 6 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.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francesca 11-28-11
    Francesca 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 01-07-14
    Twang 01-07-14

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-06-11 Listener Since 2009
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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.

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-09-17
    ratings
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    Story
    "Not sure what I expected... Not a lot of takeaways"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Fair warning is that I listened to this about 5 months ago. I know that it wasn't a terrible book, but I retained very little and to me that is always an indicator that it wasn't a great book for me. I wanted to read it with a vague goal to expand my Nordic heritage knowledge. The main takeaway for me is that in the regions discussed, you can trace everyone back to a handful of original women. Even though I'm a scientist by profession, this book was not an effortless listen. It seemed to wander and wasn't easy to follow and the points, if they were made, were kind of lost on me I guess. Maybe because I already knew a bit about genetics? Maybe because it was an audio book? Maybe I was distracted?


    What three words best describe Dick Hill’s voice?

    He has a pleasant timbre, but also always sounds like he's just about to run out of breath. The effect is that I was always a little bit stressed out for him.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Bickers 04-13-17 Member Since 2002
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    "Excellent book, marred by bad narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend reading it in hard copy or ebook. The material is really interesting and well presented but I would have liked to flip back and forth to review some of the material.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dick Hill’s performances?

    No. His narration was often painful to listen to, sounding automated at times. He may be better suited to other kinds of books. I am not sure, but I think I will steer clear.


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

    I really don't think so, unless advances in the field challenge the findings.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate 03-23-17
    Kate 03-23-17 Member Since 2014
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    Story
    "Two Sins - Unlistenable and Full of Bad Science!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No one, the reader was terrible and the content is not a good representation of the subject.


    Has Saxons, Vikings, and Celts turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader's pacing and inflection were very bad.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment and anger.


    Any additional comments?

    The author spends much more time self-aggrandizing and laboring over his various successes than breaking down the science supporting his work, which is outdated and inaccurate. He overreaches in his interpretation of history, archaeology and relevant texts - all areas he has no expertise in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia 03-10-17
    Cynthia 03-10-17 Member Since 2016
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    "informative and surprising"

    it was fascinating to learn the ethnicities of the British Isles. I am now motivated to research my own genetic history .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey 12-03-16
    Casey 12-03-16
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    "intriguing "

    This book was very intriguing for me. I learned a lot of interesting facts from this book about DNA.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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