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A History of the Vikings by Gwyn Jones

A History of the Vikings (1968)

by Gwyn Jones

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This is a very good overview of the Viking Age. I have used it as a textbook for a couple of college courses. My one critique is that Jones chose to break up the chronology a bit too much, in order to delve into topics, but that's mostly a pet peeve of mine. All in all, a very good book on the subject. ( )
  Steve.Bivans | Jul 20, 2014 |
This is an incredibly dense and informative history of the entire Viking era. Jones works his way from pre 700 AD to 1066. He breaks this up into four sections based on time periods and explores the society, culture, legal systems, famous leaders, and religions. He also describes their explorations and expansions into other countries. To me, some of the most interesting sections were about the pre-Christian religious beliefs and descriptions of everyday life. I was also pretty interested in the ship building and thought there could have been a bit more about that.

Although the subject matter and detail is fascinating, this book is not an easy read. It was published in the 1960s and the language feels old-fashioned and stuffy. It was really hard to get into the flow of it and had lots of words that are rarely used today. I'm also so used to reading current nonfiction that is or tends toward narrative nonfiction that it took me a while to get used to the style.

While the information in this book is fantastic, you have to be determined to get through the dense language. I definitely got so bored at times that I missed the gist of certain sections.

Original publication date: 1968
Author's Nationality: Welsh
Original Language: English
Length: 504 pages
Other books read by this author: none
Rating: 3.5 stars ( )
1 vote japaul22 | Aug 25, 2012 |
A good primer for learning about the vikings. One will find it to general if they have done much study on the subject. ( )
  C.Art | Jan 2, 2011 |
SCAN/Vikings/Civilization, Scandinavian
  SGSLibrary | Sep 8, 2010 |
For those seeking to delve deeper into the history of the vikings as well as to learn more about the culture, you would do quite well with this book by Gwyn Jones. I have always wanted to learn more about the stories of viking expeditions and settlements in 'Vinland', Greenland, and Iceland. Further, recent historical fiction works covering Danish settlement and conquest in England by the likes of Bernard Cornwell, further piqued my interest. Be prepared, this book is a scholarly work and not for the faint of heart. But I relished digging into the details.

Sean ( )
  seanvk | Sep 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192801341, Paperback)

"An utterly splendid book, quite the most brilliantly written, balanced, and explanative general work on the Vikings ever to appear in English or in any language."-- Scandinavian Studies

The subject of this book is the Viking realms, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, their civilization and culture, and their many sided achievements at home and abroad.
A highly readable narrative follows the development of these Northern peoples--the Nordmenn--from their origins and the legendary pre-history to the military triumphs of Canute and the defeat of Harald Hardrádi at Stamford Bridge in 1066, which symbolically ended the Viking age.
The book recounts the Vikings' exploits in war, trade, and colonization: the assault on Western Christendom; the trading and military ventures to the Slav and Muslim worlds and to Byzantium; and the western voyages of discovery and settlement to Greenland, Iceland, and America.
Numerous photographs, maps, and drawings contribute to Gwyn Jones's rounded portrait of Viking civilization and vividly evoke the importance in their culture of religion, art, and seafaring.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:23 -0400)

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