The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by medieval and modern myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and developed a vast trading network. They traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships, not only to raid, but also to explore. Despite their fearsome reputation, the Vikings didn't wear horned helmets, and even the infamous berserkers were far from invincible.
By dismantling the myths, The Age of the Vikings allows the full story of this period in medieval history to be told. By exploring every major facet of this exciting age, Anders Winroth captures the innovation and pure daring of the Vikings without glossing over their destructive heritage.
He not only explains the Viking attacks, but also looks at Viking endeavors in commerce, politics, discovery, and colonization, and reveals how Viking arts, literature, and religious thought evolved in ways unequaled in the rest of Europe. He shows how the Vikings seized on the boundless opportunities made possible by the invention of the longship, using it to venture to Europe for plunder, to open new trade routes, and to settle in lands as distant as Russia, Greenland, and the Byzantine Empire. Challenging the image of the Vikings that comes so easily to mind, Winroth argues that Viking chieftains were no more violent than men like Charlemagne, who committed atrocities on a far greater scale than the northern raiders.
Drawing on a wealth of written, visual, and archaeological evidence, The Age of the Vikings sheds new light on the complex society and culture of these legendary seafarers.
©2014 Princeton University Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Really enjoyed this thorough history but about half way they it became more about the church. I would have liked more Viking and only a little on the church's involvement of the Vikings and more on the prominent Vikings.
The performance was good but certain words were pronounced wrong.
"Interesting history. Narrator could be better"
A well-written introduction to the history of Scandinavia. Not just a litany of people, places, and events. The author takes time to explore the culture, art, literature, politics, and religion of Scandinavia.
The narrator reads fairly well, but his habit of ending every sentence with the same inflection and dragging out the last syllable of every sentence drove me batty. Unlike the best narrators he was never telling a story. He was merely reading a book.
"Amazing book, TERRIBLE narration"
Winroth's perspective on the Vikings is fair, balanced, and excellent. Identifying how primary sources and their origins have affected the way we view the Vikings compared to other equally savage contemporaries is insightful and helpful.
One caveat: the narrator is horrendous. Not only is the same inflection used throughout, pronunciation is terrible. I don't just mean the pronunciation of unique Nordic-origin words (all of which are butchered) but also a variety of words like "prelate" and "sepulcher", which the narrator had apparently never heard spoken aloud before. The speaking voice is pleasant, but this seems like a case where the narrator could have been prepped in the basics of Nordic language family pronunciations as well as any kind of oversight for the pronunciations found on the final recordings. I love this book but this recording makes me wish I'd bought it in print first.
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