New York, N.Y. :
- Physical Description
- xi, 450 p.,  p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm
- Includes bibliographical references and index.
- Main Author
Sporting monikers such as Sven Forkbeard and Harald Bluetooth, the Vikings left arresting traces in saga and chronicle, in addition to their signature destruction and massacre. Ferguson synthesizes Viking scholarship for a general audience and follows the Vikings wherever they went. Spreading from Scandinavia, they entered written records as a result of raids on Britain and Ireland in the late 700s; soon the divisive Carolingian empire, and the land that would become Russia, would experience the Viking scourge as well. But along with slaves and booty came the encounter with Christianity, among whose proselytizers numbered the fearless believers who brought the Gospel to worshippers of Odin and Thor. The pagan-Christian interface informs Ferguson's narrative, and by emphasizing experiences of the conversion process by identifiable individuals within a centuries-long direction of Vikings forsaking their old religion, the author textures the pillage that he asserts is necessary to a complete understanding of the Viking age. Integrating archaeological, genetic, linguistic, and literary information, Ferguson realizes a Viking history bound to satisfy the interested reader. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.Review by Library Journal Reviews
Ferguson (Enigma: The Life of Knut Hamsun; Henrik Ibsen: A New Biography) offers a comprehensive overview of the Viking age, covering mythology and tradition alongside the many bloody forays Viking warriors made into Europe and the North Atlantic between roughly 790 and 1100 C.E. Although Ferguson often notes how incomplete the source material is, he tells a full and lively story and is transparent about where records or interpretations diverge. The narrative occasionally threatens to get bogged down in a confusion of Olafs, Olavs, and Olofs, but Ferguson keeps the pace up with numerous fascinating tidbits. He describes Viking words still used in modern English, the Viking origins of major British cities, and the dark rituals the community hung onto as Christianity crept into Denmark, Scandinavia, and Iceland, eventually bringing the population into a more peaceful modernity. VERDICT Ferguson has produced a readable and accessible book that will serve as a solid introduction to Viking history, even for those with no previous knowledge of the subject.—Elizabeth Goldman, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. [Page 72]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Presents a history of the Nordic warriors and explorers that plundered and traded their way across Europe, and discusses how ultimately their violence and conquests helped spread and enhance accomplishments in the arts, culture and government.Review by Publisher Summary 2
Presents a history of the Nordic warriors and explorers who plundered and traded their way across Europe, and discusses how their conquests helped spread and enhance accomplishments in the arts, culture, and government.Review by Publisher Summary 3
A comprehensive and thrilling history of the Vikings for fans of the History Channel series, soon to return for its fifth seasonFrom 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."Integrating archaeological, genetic, linguistic, and literary information, Ferguson realizes a Viking history bound to satisfy." -Booklist