am 7. April 1999
I loved the first edition of this book, and this revised edition is even better, incorporating much new archaeological evidence. As a historical fiction writer, currectly writing a novel about the Vikings, books like this are invaluable to me. This is my #1 reference book. Not only does it contain a tremendous amount of information, Roesdahl has organized it exceptionally well, such that it is always easy to find exactly what I'm looking for. As a read-through book, I also found it captivating and not in the least bit dry. Replete with maps, diagrams and photos, it is an invaluable learning tool for anyone interested in this time in history. One of the aspects I particularly appreciate is that Roesdahl has a Scandinavian perspective, viewing the Vikings as a legitimate Norse civilization, with a vibrant, artistic, agricultural and exploratory culture, more than as pagan invaders of the rest of civilized Europe. Yes, there were some ruthless invaders amongst them, but many writers are too focused on that aspect. The book starts with a look at the sources of information we have about the Vikings, the written sources, place names and archaeological evidence. Knowing the sources on which our knowledge is based is extremely important, so we won't be so readily hoodwinked into believing faulty interpretations. Roesdahl then looks in excellent detail at Scandinavian geography, people, language, history, religion, art, etc. A wonderful feel for the times and culture is gained. The next focus is Norse expansion, their conquests and settlements in Britain, Russia and the Baltics, and west to Iceland, Greenland and North America. Finally, she concludes with the lasting significance of these Norse peoples and the so-called Viking Age. I would highly recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in Viking history.
am 5. Oktober 1999
Roesdahl's work has allowed me to see the Vikings as much more than a band of maruading pirates. -Much more than actors who appear in the annals of history to relieve the monotonoy of un-inspired court tomage, the task of reconstructing Viking culture is related in a rich and fascinating adventure. This Roesdahl translation relates how the Vikings, far from being merely a sea-fairing chapter of the "Hells Angels", actually had many customs, artifacts, and lands that can be equated into the european calendar using dendrochronology. With so many "viking values" being adopted by modern man, this work is invaluiable to understand where our world is going, as well as where it has been. I just wish that I could put a copy of it on my web-site!