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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars By far not the best book by the author, 2 Sep 2003
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Tarjei T. Jensen "Tarjei7" (Sandnes, Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Viking Art of War (Greenhill Military Paperback) (Paperback)
I have read some of Paddy Griffiths other books and had very high expectations for this one. However as I read it, it becomes clear that he is not at home with all of the subject matter. Simply put; he does not understand ships.
He seems unaware of the benefits of sailing inshore and the dangers of sailing both outshore and inshore. He seems not to have grasped that "safe" navigation around shores and especially inshore requires lighthouses (plus an engine, radar and a computerized navigation system).
He also seems to be unaware that the documents which are available to us today about sea voyages in the viking age might have been written because of spectacular successes or failures. His sources might not represent the averages.
I'm not happy with the table which he provides for the load carrying ability of various means of transport. A pack horse fed on grain can carry a lot more than 50 kilos (100 lbs). A fjord horse (Fjording) from western Norway will carry 250 kilos (500 lbs) when fed grain.
I'm not sure that he grasp the practicalities of settling on a foreign shore. I believe that he underestimates the number of hands needed. I doubt very much that the vikings transported grown animals other than horses overseas.
This book should therefor not be read as the last word on the viking warfare, but rather as a second or third, but not neccessarily trusted opinion on the matter.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended for vikingophiles., 27 Aug 1998
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This review is from: The Viking Art of War (Greenhill Military Paperback) (Paperback)
Griffith critically examines the evidence on how and why the Vikings fought, and finds much of it questionable. The sagas aren't reliable, sources are fantastic or biased, and physical remains are insufficient for firm conclusions. In short, he acts like a real historian in a period where enthusiastic amateurs have set the standards. Overall, he finds a mixed record of Norse military success, seeing them more as opportunistic bandits than conquering warriors. Given the persistance of Norse "kingdoms" in some areas of Northern Europe, this conclusion is far from proven. Many readers would probably disagree with some (or most) of his conclusions, but he does make you go back and look at the sources. Most recommended for those interested in the Vikings, "Dark Ages" Britain, Scandinavia, and Russia.
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The Viking Art of War (Greenhill Military Paperback)
The Viking Art of War (Greenhill Military Paperback) by Paddy Griffith (Paperback - 31 Aug 1998)
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