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Vikings Hardcover – Dec 4 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (Dec 4 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297867873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297867876
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 621 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Looks beyond the cliched impressions of hairy raiders to exhaustively explore their less well-documented maritime and agricultural innovations. LONELY PLANET TRAVELLER this wonderful book is completely worth the effort THE LADY Neil Oliver brings alive another area of British history CATHOLIC HERALD

About the Author

Neil Oliver is a Scottish archaeologist, historian, broadcaster and writer. He is perhaps best known as the charismatic presenter of the award-winning documentary series COAST, as well his two critically acclaimed landmark BBC history series, A HISTORY OF SCOTLAND and A HISTORY OF ANCIENT BRITAIN. He lives in Stirling with his wife and three children.




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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having watched Neil Oliver on many episodes of Coast, and finding him a very engaging presenter, I was pleased to see that his method of writing is just as engaging. This is not one of those history books that you buy because the subject interests you, only to put it away after a few chapters because it's impossible to keep your interest alive. This is truly a book that engrosses the reader (at least this one) and shows that history need not be dull and dry, but can be interesting and entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent companion to the BBC series. Neil Oliver has the ability to bring the past to life. I only wish I could have had him as a professor.
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Format: Paperback
I read this prior to seeing the BBC series and found this book to be thoughtful and using best historical evidence to explain who the Vikings were. Worthwhile read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellant! April 29 2014
By William V. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil Oliver gives fresh insight on the subject,even if you have several other books on Norse history,you should add Vikings to your library.Be sure to check out the documentary as well!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a surprise! Aug. 5 2014
By Silure Dumnonii - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't like Neil Oliver on TV. I find his manner of presenting really annoying with far too much emphasis on him, however he really can write well. This is a really engaging book with an amazing capacity to bring the Viking world and its characters to life. This is the book that Oliver's TV series should have been, without distractions of shots of him walking here and there or flicking his hair out of his face all the time you really get to see what an excellent historian he is. Archaeology, history ,myth and legend are combined to reveal the Vikings for who they were. Oliver doesn't subscribe to the theory that just because they produced great art the Vikings have been misunderstood and were really just talented pagans misreported by monks with their own agenda. The Vikings are revealed as brutal raiders, canny traders, daring explorers AND brilliant artists who were doing it tough as farmers in the difficult environment of their homeland. Oliver presents a fascinating, balanced picture of Viking achievements, blunders, politics and culture, a mixed and colourful tapestry that is very readable and beautifully researched. The Viking influence reverberates even today, and not just in Scandinavia, Oliver takes a look at this too
This book definitely deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone with even a passing interest in this turbulent period.
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise and flowing book March 2 2016
By Paul Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Neil Oliver is well known to viewers of BBC historical documentaries via his work on series such as A History of Scotland and A History of Ancient Britain. This book is the tie in for his series on the Vikings. As such it benefits from a sort of familiarity as anyone reading it as Olivers style of delivery when on film very much carries over to his style of writing.

The work gives a very good overview of the history of the Vikings and does so by keeping things in a chronological order, not delving too deeply into technical terms or archaeological jargon or getting bogged down into overwrought supposition. The book starts with an overview of history of the area and its peoples leading up to what could be termed the ‘Viking Age’. The book looks very much at the activities of the Vikings both in the east and in the westm points such as their trading exploits and their impact as far away from their home bases as Constantinople is covered as is the nation state building aspects of what was going on in Scandinavia during this time. The author spends a lot of time talking about his thoughts and feelings and imparting a sense of what it is like to stand in some of these places. Which is probably not the most academic manner of writing but suits the story of the Vikings because so many of the places they travelled to are beyond the usual sort of persons experiences. How many of us have been to the Shetlands, much less the Faroe Islands or Greenland. Even modern nation states such as Iceland evoke a certain frisson.

As the author weaves the story of the Viking push across the Atlantic to places such as the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland (and beyond) it is easy to fall into a sort of unquestioning veneration of, if nothing else, the bravery and derring-do of these people. The harshness of some of these environments is quite epic, the North American bases being a bridge too far and even the Greenland colony eventually petered out (the cause of which the book gives only slim address).

I had feared that when the book dealt with the Viking influence and engagement in the British Isles that it would lose cohesion, so many petty kingdoms and warlords, so many freebooting exploits and very little hard information for some of the events may have caused the book to trail off into a million tangents or made it ponder things for too long for which enough information is just not available. However by keeping focussed on the big picture things are kept on an even keel.

Overall this is a fun read that imparts chunks of knowledge on a human scale and in a personable fashion. It steers clear from flowery prose or attempts at stilted formality. And it contains a bunch of photographs of items, artefacts and geography that provides a nice visual stimuli to proceedings. There are also a few small line drawing style maps.

The bibliography contains a number of volumes that have now made it to my wish-list and the index of important names at the end is a nice touch.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars About Vikings and why their history fascinates the author Sept. 10 2014
By ElenaDelfina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are scholars, this book does not add anything new. Of course, because it is educational. In Italy, we have a word that means: a book or paper or TV programme that someone creates summarizing the state of the art of a scientific (or historic or other) issue, aiming to inform people who were completely uninformed about it, using plain and pleasant prose.
If you like this kind of books, this one if for you. About Vikings and why their history fascinates Neil...
4.0 out of 5 stars Gave me an insight into the both the adaptability of ... July 29 2016
By Jenni Guilfoyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gave me an insight into the both the adaptability of "Vikings" to their new environments and the spread of their conquests.

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