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on August 13, 2002
The maps and illustrations are fantastic. Each pair of facing pages concentrates on one subject.
I liked the maps that conveyed additional info. There is one showing the last great expedition to reopen the trade routes with the Arabs, an expedition which ends in disaster for the Swedish adventurers.
The Khazars from Jewish history (a south Russian tribe that may have converted to Judaism) even make an appearance. It seems the Khazars gave the Vikings permission to loot their neighbors in exchange for half of the proceeds. But the Vikings were so brutal that the Khazars reneged on the deal and massacred the Norsemen on the way back from pillaging.
The Vikings eventually got even though, and their revenge led to the demise of the Khazar empire.
Reading this book is like leafing through a series of magazine articles on the general theme of the Vikings. By changing topics so often the book holds the interest of the casual reader who finds the Vikings strange and mysterious.
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on September 25, 2002
Although I agree with the other reviewers that the maps and the two-page spreads are handy and informative, in my opinion the book lacks information on some of the most important recent findings on viking life and culture in their homelands. It also bothered me that the author chose to use the derogatory term "Lapp" rather than "Saami" to refer to the other group living in Scandinavia at the time. I felt that for an American audience, the book assumes too much prior knowledge of British geography and history. The text makes many references that are not illustrated in the maps. The book is great for someone focusing on viking battles, influences and history in Great Britain (and to a lesser extent on the Continent), but I feel it lacks important information about viking life in Scandinavia. There were also some bloopers, like calling "Aud The Deep-Minded" (from Laxdoela Saga) "And The Deep-Minded" on p. 44.
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on June 16, 2000
The maps in this book are clear and readable. It can be used as a stand alone, informative text, or as a supplement for historical reference. The timeline at the beginning of the book offers a comparison of activities in different parts of the world from AD 1 to 1024. This is very helpful and puts a number of events into perspective! Not only does this book help if reading Scottish, Irish and English history, but it ties in nicely while reading the new translation of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney! (Although, I would have liked a bit more information on this period) However, as a book with an overview with great maps, this book is a elemental reference text for any history buff!
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on August 21, 2000
I love this book. The only book I had found worth reading on the subject was Jones' definitive A History of the Vikings, but it's somewhat dry and has the feel of a weighty textbook. This, however, is the perfect compliment to it: a brightly illustrated book, with a detailed timeline and vivid maps that really bring the past to life. Where other books have just thrown out some speculation and a few pictures of stolen coins, this book really draws you in and gives you a very realistic feel for who and what the Vikings were. This book belongs in EVERY Scandinaviophile's library.
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on June 16, 2014
if its two things my father in law loves-- its Vikings and maps. He became engrossed in it almost from the moment he opened it up and kept showing me items of interest from the book. Now he wants a copy for my husband' brother. I may have to buy 2 more copies because now my husband wants one too.
Doreen Jensen
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on December 18, 2001
This book though small and short on pages is a good as the more lengthy reference books. Loaded with tons of great maps that show with clarity the actual extent of the vikings through out Europe. The reading is easy and full of easy to find valuable information. Well worth your money
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on June 1, 2014
tres satisfait
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