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The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 8 Sep 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (8 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192806076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192806079
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1 x 10.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Julian Richards is Professor of Archaeology at the University of York, and co-director of the Centre for Medieval Studies. He specialises in the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age England, and has directed several excavations of Viking settlements, including the only Viking cremation cemetery in the British Isles. Previous publications include Viking Age England (Tempus, 2000).


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a bad introduction to the Vikings overall, but be warned it is quite patchy and somewhat narrow in its methods. The main focus of the book is the archaeology. This is fascinating in itself, but does leave one feeling only one of a number of possible approaches has been used.

As far as the omissions are concerned, where is the chapter on the (mainly) Swedish Vikings' voyages and settlement in the east? There is almost no mention of this, yet Viking activity in the east is a core element of Viking history. Furthermore, runestones (and runic inscriptions in general) are virtually absent from the book, yet these largely represent the literature of period as produced by the Vikings themselves. The later medieval literature of Iceland which is concerned with the deeds of their Viking forebears gets some treatment (as far as Vikings in the *west* are concerned), but not as much as I would have liked. Viking art and Viking warfare are ignored in this book. The treatment of the Vikings' pre-Christian religion is short and sketchy. Nor is there a deal said about Viking seafaring. Or place-names.

On the plus side, there are readable and informative (but brief) discussions of the Vikings' explorations/settlements in the west - the Danelaw, the Scottish islands, Man, the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland and "Vinland". The treatment of especially the last two is factual and sober. However, all these elements of the Viking world are considered primarily from the perspective of archaeology, and it sometimes goes into more detail than than one would like.

Overall, this is not a bad book for its size (and price). But I found Else Roesdahl's "The Vikings" a more balanced introduction to the Viking world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the book title says SHORT. This whole series of books is excellent for getting the grips with the essentials of the chosen topic and so orientate the reader for further reading and research. Easy and quick to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This "short introduction series" is perfect to discover various subjects. The viking one is a well balanced, short and informative introduction to the subject. Although I have read a couple of books on the subject, I still learned some stuff reading this little book.
The first parts are succeeding in explaining the pre-raid era society organisation, customs, etc.
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