Sunday 18 January 2015

Book Review: The Vikings - A New History by Neil Oliver

Title: The Vikings: A New History
Publisher: Pegasus

Publication Date: 13 November 2014
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction/History
Source: Xmas Gift
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

The Vikings famously took no prisoners, relished cruel retribution, and prided themselves on their bloodthirsty skills as warriors. But their prowess in battle is only a small part of their story, which stretches from their Scandinavian origins to America in the West and as far as Baghdad in the East. As the Vikings did not write their own history, we have to discover it for ourselves; and that discovery, as Neil Oliver reveals, tells an extraordinary story of a people who, from the brink of destruction, reached a quarter of the way around the globe and built an empire that lasted nearly two hundred years.

Drawing on discoveries that have only recently come to light, Scottish archaeologist Neil Oliver goes on the trail of the real Vikings. Where did they emerge from? How did they really live? And just what drove them to embark on such extraordinary voyages of discovery over a thousand years ago?
The Vikings: A New History explores many of those questions for the first time in an epic story of one of the world s great empires of conquest. (Goodreads Synopsis)

The Vikings: A New History offers an intriguing glimpse into a group long pictured as marauding barbarians. Unlike many books on this subject, Neil Oliver relies heavily on the archaeological evidence and builds up a strong background of the Vikings looking at where they came from and how their social and political world evolved. This book is a fairly scholarly work, and though the prose style is very accessible, it may not appeal to the less academically minded; however, it is an excellent addition to the library of anyone interested in the Vikings and their world.

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