A History of the Vikings / Edition 2

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"An utterly splendid book, quite the most brilliantly written, balanced, and explanative general work on the Vikings ever to appear in English or in any language."-- Scandinavian Studies

The subject of this book is the Viking realms, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, their civilization and culture, and their many sided achievements at home and abroad.
A highly readable narrative follows the development of these Northern peoples--the Nordmenn--from their origins and the legendary pre-history to the military triumphs of Canute and the defeat of Harald HardrĂ¡di at Stamford Bridge in 1066, which symbolically ended the Viking age.
The book recounts the Vikings' exploits in war, trade, and colonization: the assault on Western Christendom; the trading and military ventures to the Slav and Muslim worlds and to Byzantium; and the western voyages of discovery and settlement to Greenland, Iceland, and America.
Numerous photographs, maps, and drawings contribute to Gwyn Jones's rounded portrait of Viking civilization and vividly evoke the importance in their culture of religion, art, and seafaring.

"Utterly splendid book, the most brilliantly written... and explanative general work on the Vikings ever to appear in English or...in any language."--Erick Wahlgreen, Scandinavian Studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Excellent revision and useful for both graduates and undergraduates."--Benjamin T. Hudson, Pennsylvania State University

"In this revised edition of his 1968 volume, hailed as the definitive study of the three hundred years during which Scandinavians changed the face of medieval Europe, Jones has updated his text to incorporate the latest scholarly findings from both Europe and North America."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Excellent survey - in-depth and well balanced."--Cassandra Potts, Middlebury College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192801340
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 552
  • Sales rank: 328,329
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 4.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Gwyn Jones is Emeritus Professor of English Language and Literature, University College, Cardiff

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Table of Contents

Part 1 - The Northern Peoples to AD 700
1. From Beginnings to the Age of Migrations
2. The Legendary History of the Swedes and the Danes
1. Part 2 - The Viking Kingdoms to the Close of the Tenth Century The Scandinavian Community, I: Diversity and Unity
2. The Historical Traditions of Norway to 950
3. Denmark to the Death of Gorm the Old
4. Denmark and Norway from the Accession of Harald Bluetooth to the Death of Olaf Tryggvason
Part 3 - The Viking Movement Overseas
1. The Scandinavian Community, II: Aspects of Society
2. Causes of the Viking Movement Overseas
3. The Movement South and South-West to 954: the British Isles, the Frankish Empire, the Mediterranean
4. The Movement East: The Baltic Lands, Russia, Byzantium
5. The Movement West: Iceland, Greenland, America
Part 4 - The Viking Age Ends
1. The Scandinavian Community III: Culture and Image
2. Svein Forkbeard, Saint Olaf, Knut the Great
3. The Viking Kingdoms to the Death of Harald Hardradi, 1066

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    Best Book that I would love to have!!

    I would like to have this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    i agree this was a difficult read.the information is very good though. i hate that information about vikings is usually based on numismatics and the like,but any history fan will enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2004

    A Good but Difficult Read

    Being a decendent of Scandinavia, I wanted to really get an in-depth look at the history of the Vikings, and this book delivered. With that said, I really had a difficult time getting through this book. It is a difficult read by any measure. While the author's main focus was to give the reader a quite extensive look at the history of the Vikings, I felt that it could have been written in a way that it would be open to more readers. The author did an excellent job with the depth of the history, but it could have been a little easier to read, and that is the only reason whey I did not give this book five stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2003

    Clearly written my foot!

    It's an extensive history I'll give it that. Some good illustrations and pictures. But this is hands down the most difficult to comprehend book I have ever tried to read. The writer needs to work on getting his ideas across in an easier to understand style. I'm no dummy...but this book sure made me feel stupid. A very interesting topic that I am eager to learn more about.....unfortunately this book did NOT help me at all. I would not recommend this to anyone short of a Harvard educated history professor with multiple degrees.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2000

    A Comprehensive, Satisfying Survey

    A clearly written, well-organized review of the full range of Viking history, from dim origins to far flung diaspora, to gradual fade. The story of the Greenland colony's disappearance is bone-chilling: like a subtle horror story, or a disturbing anxiety dream about neglect and loss. The mystery of it, and the other-worldly setting, raised the hairs on my spine. The book is an ample exploration of the entire gamut of Viking history, and strives to redress some of the demonization that has traditionally beset Vikings in history, presenting the archaeological evidence (such as it was in the late 60's--which is to say, not bad) alongside the contemporary accounts (including the fascinating diary entries of Arab travelers). Much of Viking history is a puzzle, so one must bear with some of the writer's detective work regarding placenames, dates, saga deconstruction and principal actors; but it helps to know the basis of the author's conclusions--where the firm ground is, and which claims are more or less tacit. The footnotes and bibliography are extensive and helpful.

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