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The Vikings: a Very Short Introduction by…
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The Vikings: a Very Short Introduction (2005)

by Julian D. Richards

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I found this book with a bookmark in the middle, probably indicating that I'd read a substantial portion of it years ago, but I still started back at the beginning because I had little to no recollection of that. While this does broadly cover the history and settlement patterns of the Vikings, I'd hoped to get more of Viking culture and tradition out of it, so it was a bit of a mismatch between expectations and reality. Still, it was an interesting survey, and I particularly liked the 'Reinventing the Vikings' chapter that explored the 19th–21st century rebirth of interest in the Vikings and confronted some of the racial issues tied up in that. ( )
  rrainer | Sep 20, 2013 |
Too short to be useful.
1 vote talkingdog | Dec 11, 2010 |
Another VSI I'd kinda like to change the title of: "The things the Vikings left behind. And where they left 'em."

I really am undecided as to whether I like this book or not.

Richards puts some effort into countering other people's strange notions of who the Vikings were, but that leaves me where I don't quite seem to get a feel for who the Vikings were. What their daily lives were like. I suppose maybe pretty much like anyone else's lives back then, but still...

I'm left with a distinct feeling that Richards assumes I already know a bit about the Vikings, which I don't really. Which doesn't fit in under the title "A Very Short Introduction" I think.

Still I'm giving it 4 stars for the benefit of my doubt. ( )
2 vote zangasta | Oct 18, 2009 |
This is a fine, sophisticated overview that draws on numerous new archaeological discoveries. It's a nice antidote to the stereotypes. ( )
  ostrom | Dec 6, 2007 |
The Viking reputation is of bloodthirsty seafaring warriors, repeatedly plundering the British Isles and the North Atlantic throughout the early Middle Ages. Yet Vikings were also traders, settlers, and farmers, with a complex artistic and linguistic culture, whose expansion overseas led them to cross the Atlantic for the first time in European history. Highlighting the latest archaeological evidence, Julian Richards reveals the whole Viking world: their history, society and culture, and their expansion overseas for trade, colonisation, and plunder. We also look at the Viking identity, through their artistic expression, rune stones, their ships, and their religion. The Viking story is also brought up to date, by examining their legacy from the medieval Icelandic sagas to 19th Century nationalism, Wagner, and the Nazis.

Julian Richards is Professor of Archaeology at the University of York, and co-director of the Centre for Medieval Studies. He specialises in the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age England, and has directed several excavations of Viking settlements, including the only Viking cremation cemetery in the British Isles. Previous publications include "Viking Age England" (Tempus, 2000).
  antimuzak | Nov 2, 2007 |
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Every February the schoolchildren of York dress up in traditional Viking costume and this northern English city holds its annual Jorvik Viking Festival.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192806076, Paperback)

The Viking reputation is one of bloodthirsty seafaring warriors, repeatedly plundering the British Isles and the North Atlantic throughout the early Middle Ages. Yet Vikings were also traders, settlers, and farmers, with a complex artistic and linguistic culture, whose expansion overseas led them to cross the Atlantic for the first time in European history. Highlighting the latest archaeological evidence, Julian Richards reveals the whole Viking world: their history, their culture, and their legacy of overseas expansion for trade, colonization, and plunder. Viking identity is explored through what we have learned about their towns, art, shipbuilding, and religious rituals. Here the Viking story is brought up to the present, from the tales of adventure found in medieval Icelandic sagas, to their exploitation as a symbol of nationalism in the nineteenth century by Wagner, and later by Hitler and the Nazi party. The author also highlights their impact and influence on the history and people of Northern Europe. Vikings, a fascinating new look at a people and culture that have been reinvented throughout history, will take readers closer to discovering who they really were.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

Highlighting the latest archaeological evidence, Julian Richards reveals the whole Viking world: their history, society and culture, and their expansion overseas for trade, colonization, and plunder.

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