The Vikings

Ben Thompson, 1980-

Book - 2015

From battle-axe-wielding tribes plundering the greatest cities of Europe to powerful kings and queens ruling their dominions with iron fists, the Vikings were some of the most feared and fearless figures in European history. Find the bravest heroes, the most menacing villains, and unbelievably awesome facts and myths inside this action-packed overview.

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Series
Thompson, Ben, 1980- Guts & glory.
Subjects
Published
New York : Little, Brown and Company 2015.
©2015
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
289 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [281]-284) and index.
ISBN
9780316320566
0316320560
Main Author
Ben Thompson, 1980- (-)
Other Authors
C. M. Butzer (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Popular blogger and Civil War reenactor Thompson kicks off the Guts & Glory nonfiction series with an entertaining overview of the war that divided the nation. While each chapter covers a battle, such as Gettysburg, Antietam, and Shiloh, this endeavor is not a greatest-hits recap. With a focus on heroes or "villains" rather than political statements, the battle descriptions feature the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts (one of the first African American regiments recognized by the Union), Belle Boyd (a Confederate female spy who smuggled messages to Stonewall Jackson), a great locomotive chase, the first battle between metal warships, and one of the last cavalry melees in military history. What brings these events to life, particularly for reluctant readers, is Thompson's spirited, conversational narration (e.g., the Confederates took the USS Merrimack and "upgraded it like an iPhone," encasing it in four inches of iron plating). Dramatic sketches, period photographs, battle statistics, and related facts from food and music to sharpshooters and the Mason-Dixon Line should keep students engaged. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This action-packed Civil War title launches a nonfiction series dedicated to extraordinary chapters of history. Badassoftheweek.com creator Thompson adopts an urgent and sometimes humorous tone that conveys infectious enthusiasm in examining all facets of this conflict that "would claim more lives than every previous American war combined and redefine the United States of America forever." The narrative effectively sketches the major causes of the conflict, bringing to life the politics, combat, and key participants. Many chapters focus heavily on major battles (sidebars delineate numbers of combatants, casualties, and victors), while others cover famous figures including Harriet Tubman; the role of women as spies, supporters, and combatants; and lesser-known political events, such as the surprisingly tense reelection of President Lincoln. Chatty, colloquial comparisons (Thompson describes a Confederate ironclad ship as being "upgraded... like an iPhone") are accessible if a bit pandering. In all, it's a rousing introduction to this defining conflict that makes the history appealing and relatable. Period photographs and other images appear throughout; final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Farley Chase, Chase Literary Agency. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by PW Annex Reviews

This action-packed Civil War title launches a nonfiction series dedicated to extraordinary chapters of history. Badassoftheweek.com creator Thompson adopts an urgent and sometimes humorous tone that conveys infectious enthusiasm in examining all facets of this conflict that "would claim more lives than every previous American war combined and redefine the United States of America forever." The narrative effectively sketches the major causes of the conflict, bringing to life the politics, combat, and key participants. Many chapters focus heavily on major battles (sidebars delineate numbers of combatants, casualties, and victors), while others cover famous figures including Harriet Tubman; the role of women as spies, supporters, and combatants; and lesser-known political events, such as the surprisingly tense reelection of President Lincoln. Chatty, colloquial comparisons (Thompson describes a Confederate ironclad ship as being "upgraded... like an iPhone") are accessible if a bit pandering. In all, it's a rousing introduction to this defining conflict that makes the history appealing and relatable. Period photographs and other images appear throughout; final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Farley Chase, Chase Literary Agency. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—In this first of a series, history buff and reenactor Thompson displays a solid knowledge of the Civil War, hampered by an overreliance on "hip" prose. He ably covers major battles, campaigns, and figures in a roughly chronological order, mixing informational passages and fact boxes with colorful action sequences in each chapter in what could potentially have been a winning formula to grab and hold the attention of young readers. Unfortunately, Thompson's colorful prose often veers into the realm of the bizarre. The repeated use of the word dude may seem odd coming from an adult author, and readers are likely to miss many pop culture references, such as a mention of the 1990s film Anaconda or a "Mike Tyson haymaker sucker punch." The many run-on sentences will leave readers at a loss. One such sentence describing Lincoln's situation approaching the election of 1864 ends by saying that his popularity didn't "necessarily mean that everything was coming up unicorns, rainbows, and smiley-face sunshine happiness roses of joy." Thompson takes a linguistic swing for the fences and ends up spinning around and falling down at the plate. There are many other books on the Civil War for this age range that will hold a reader's attention without the bamboozling prose.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI [Page 140]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents the history and myths of the Vikings, from their rise in the eighth century, raids throughout Europe, conversion to Christianity, and eventual decline following the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

History comes alive for kids like no textbook can in this epic account of the time of the Vikings that's perfect for history buffs and reluctant readers! Contains awesome illustrations! From battle-axe-wielding tribes plundering the greatest cities of Europe to powerful kings and queens ruling their dominions with iron fists, the Vikings were some of the most feared and fearless figures in European history. Find the bravest heroes, the most menacing villains, and unbelievably awesome facts and myths inside this action-packed overview that will amaze kids with tales of a people so incredible...it's hard to believe they were real. History buff and popular blogger Ben Thompson's lively storytelling style brings the Vikings back to life in this second book in the exhilarating Guts & Glory series!