When I saw this book on the table of "new" books at the local chain bookstore, I rushed home with exitement to order the book from Amazon - at a considerable discount!
As a Norwegian-American, I grew-up with other people named "Olaf", "Eirik", "Ragnar", "Einar", "Magnus" and "Bjorn". I always knew that these names had come from Scandinavian history - but I didn't know EXACTLY. Now I know. As children, we would hear small snippets of these stories from our parents and grandparents - but never really knew exactly where they came from. Now I know.
In this age where we are constantly told through a variety of media and social institutions that we must "appreciate" diversity and other cultures, this usually really only means a COUPLE of other cultures that happen to have a lot of political influence right now.
There are GENERATIONS of Scandinavian-American people who have completely forgotten THEIR heritage...having been lumped-together with other Western Europeans...as if they ALL had/have the same culture.
These stories of Eirik The Red, Leif Eiriksson, Odin, etc. should be force-fed to EVERY literature student in America - along with Toni Morrison, Shakespeare, Steinbeck AND Greek/Roman mythology. (Heresy, I know!) I see students every day who devour "junk" trade paperback fantasy novels, when everything they are looking for can be found in these beautifully translated sagas that are not only based on some historical fact, but are so beautifully written that they could become a foundation for much further learning.
This edition is wonderful. Beautifully bound, with a few maps and geneological charts, glossary and pronunciation guide. Reading through this collection of sagas reminded me of my experience in junior high when I was reading through J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy. There are a lot of names to keep tract of as you read, but many of these names have important historical references with which you will already be familiar. I am so glad that I purchased this book. It will be on my bookshelf for many years to come, and I am sure that I will take it down and re-read favorite portions of it again and again.