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Myths and Legends: Norse Myths [Paperback]

Kevin Crossley-Holland , Gillian Mcclure
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Oct 1995 Myths and Legends (Book 20)
An exploration of the Viking mythology of gods, men, giants, dwarfs, monsters and witches. Illustrated throughout in full colour by Gillian McClure.


Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wayland; New edition edition (30 Oct 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750014601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750014601
  • Product Dimensions: 26.6 x 20.8 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,232,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthur trilogy was translated into 25 languages, and has sold well over one million copies worldwide. He is a poet, historical novelist for children and authority on traditional tale who has presented many BBC radio programmes and is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries. He is the President of the School Library Association, an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, a patron of the Society of Storytelling, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His memoir of childhood, The Hidden Roads, was published in 2009.

Bracelet of Bones, the first of his Viking Sagas, was published in 2011 and the second book in the series, Scramasax, in 2012.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange and disturbing stories we think we know. 14 April 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Adult retelling of stories we think we know from the surviving original sources. Reading Crossley-Holland's book is like reading the real Grimm's Fairy Tales -- they are much stranger and more disturbing than you remember from the kiddie show about Thor and his hammer. The Aesir are a doomed race of flawed, violent, sometimes cruel but ultimately heroic gods. Odin is not always a benevolent father, but also is obsessed with knowledge and willing to kill, deceive and suffer intensely to get it. Freya is not only a war-goddess but a kind of personification of sex. The stories cover the building of Asgard, an ur-War between the Aesir and the ultimately allied Vanes, struggles between the gods and the Frost Giants, the mischief and ultimately evil of Loki, and an array of malevolent dwarves and monsters with names like Niddhog (the worm that gnaws the root of the world-tree Yggdrasil, Fenris the wolf of the end of the world. Incidentally, Tolkien got many of the names of his characters from the sources. Highly recommended.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of the 'Norse myths' 2 Mar 2005
Format:Hardcover
The author retells the beautiful and colorful Norse mythology in an organized way which in it, it is comfortable to follow the development of the story and without losing in sense of Myth in the translation.
The many stories of that mythology are wonderful and capture the reader in the magical world of the Gods fighting against the giants and trying to keep their grip as rulers until the unavoidable Ragnarok.
The author also made good notes of each story which explains the story's origin and the introduction at the beginning of the book is very interesting and explains a lot about the Norse world and the development of its Mythology through the hundreds of years.
I recommend this book very much to the fans of this kind of literature, the Norse mythology is just fascinating and full of cleverness and humor.
Tal Katz.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cultural treasure 7 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully collected chunk of deep north european culture. The stories are great and funny, kevin c-h's prose is sharp and interesting.

Many people are drawn to greek myth and to native american stories of creation, or of the trickster coyote. It seems a real shame to have read these stories but to have missed core norse myths, which have been told on our land, right here, for millenia. the creation story is weird and magnificent, the end of days is always waiting there, with the release of the wolf fenrir and the death of the gods. loki is a tricky and cunning god, causing mayhem and getting out of scrapes. the details of the gods are exquisite - freyja, goddess of fertility, also goes to war in her chariot drawn by two cats, accompanied by her magical boar, and has a cloak of feathers that allow her (or loki) to fly anywhere. it is a rich source for the imagination, particularly as many of the tales are lost and some of the characters are there, but undeveloped (or developed in other stories). there is a wonderful open-endedness to many of the stories.

These stories, along with the celtic myths, are deeper and closer to people on these islands than the greeks or the judaic stories. Yet deeply neglected. And I think they are a much more fun read than achilles' sulking and slaughtering in the iliad. give me loki, heimdall, or cu chullain any day. (though i could never give up odysseus!)

On a more concrete note the stories are fun, very readable and the notes are an absolute blessing. You don't need the notes to get the story (I often can't understand shakespeare without flicking to the commentary) as they are so well written. But if anyone has ever tried to read the older / poetic edda in the raw, you will find these adaptations, and the notes, a huge relief.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must-have reference. 4 Jan 2006
Format:Paperback
Finally I've found it: the book of tales of Odin, and Thor, and Bifrost, and Ragnarok! What a pleasure to read the tales that inspired so much of the world's fantasy literature! Here you'll find the background stories behind and the likes of Beowulf, the Nibelungenlied or the Volsungs' Saga, and obviously the roots of Professor Tolkien's own Middle-Earth mythology, so numerous are the similarities.
Not only are the thirty-two myths comprised in this translation very well told and captivating, but the introduction and notes are very complete and interesting, not to mention the very practical glossary and index. I haven't read Snorri Sturluson's Edda so I can't compare, but I'm pretty sure Kevin Crossley-Holland's is one of the best reference books on the subject, a must-have on one's shelf.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable in the study of Norse Mythology. 11 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I bought this book as a part of an analysis of Norse Mythology, and found it more than useful. Not only does the author show the myths in a new light, but also includes and in-depth background of each myth and an informatve introduction. The bibliography has seperate headings for each topic of research, and the glossary is useful for those who have trouble keeping track of the often confusing names.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting. 22 July 2002
Format:Paperback
This book taught me how to take an insult (like Thor ignore it- usually!) and reaffirmed the importance of courage. The Gods in these myths are closer to the Greeks ones than the Christians: their vices and virtues, their pettiness and greatness, however, it is all good fun and well worth a look. If you are a more serious student of Norse myths then the original Icelandic epics would, I imagine, be more worthwhile as all the tales are plucked from that tree.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read!
I have read through this book several times from cover to cover, simply for the joy of reading the tales, as well as working with specific sections for the purpose of study. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Keith Farrell
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
A birthday present for my son (a heavy metal fan) - one of his favourite groups uses a lot of Norse Myths on which to base their songs and this book explains those myths in a very... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Natasha
1.0 out of 5 stars It wasn't to my taste unfortunately
I had to return this book as I found the language of it unenjoyable to read (i.e it didn't flow) and the writing was extremely small (and I have really good eyesight! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michy28
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Epic, Mythical Entertainment.
I guess like many children who grew up in the 60's I was read the old tales of the Vikings by enthusiastic teachers with the class sat on the mat listening to them. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Glenn Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This was purchased for my son who loves all things Norse. It is a lovely book and covers all the Norse myths as far as I can tell.
Published 17 months ago by H Midgley
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Although long winded at the beginning which is understandable if you know very little of Norse mythology, it's quite an interesting read! Read more
Published 21 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection
Fabulous retelling of the Norse myths from the creation of the world from fire and ice to the end of the gods at Ragnarok. Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by Pensato
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes to Norse!
I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book; it's one of those rare instances when you devour every word on the page before moving on to the next. Read more
Published on 22 Dec 2010 by Brian Cuinn
5.0 out of 5 stars Recovery of our ancient heritage!
Despite the murderous Christians having burnt, hanged and tortured by diverse means some 60,000 men, women and Children in Europe alone during what has become known as the "Burning... Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2010 by Odininasgaard
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Coverage of Nordic Sagas
The Penguin Book of Norse Myths re-tells a range of the myths emerging out of northern Europe and famously recorded in the sagas. Read more
Published on 29 April 2009 by MLA
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