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In AD 793 Norse warriors struck the English isle of Lindisfarne and laid waste to it. Wave after wave of Norse ‘sea-wolves’ followed in search of plunder, land, or a glorious death in battle. Much of the British Isles fell before their swords, and the continental capitals of Paris and Aachen were sacked in turn. Turning east, they swept down the uncharted rivers of central In AD 793 Norse warriors struck the English isle of Lindisfarne and laid waste to it. Wave after wave of Norse ‘sea-wolves’ followed in search of plunder, land, or a glorious death in battle. Much of the British Isles fell before their swords, and the continental capitals of Paris and Aachen were sacked in turn. Turning east, they swept down the uncharted rivers of central Europe, captured Kiev and clashed with mighty Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. But there is more to the Viking story than brute force. They were makers of law - the term itself comes from an Old Norse word - and they introduced a novel form of trial by jury to England. They were also sophisticated merchants and explorers who settled Iceland, founded Dublin, and established a trading network that stretched from Baghdad to the coast of North America. In The Sea Wolves, Lars Brownworth brings to life this extraordinary Norse world of epic poets, heroes, and travellers through the stories of the great Viking figures. Among others, Leif the Lucky who discovered a new world, Ragnar Lodbrok the scourge of France, Eric Bloodaxe who ruled in York, and the crafty Harald Hardrada illuminate the saga of the Viking age - a time which “has passed away, and grown dark under the cover of night”.


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In AD 793 Norse warriors struck the English isle of Lindisfarne and laid waste to it. Wave after wave of Norse ‘sea-wolves’ followed in search of plunder, land, or a glorious death in battle. Much of the British Isles fell before their swords, and the continental capitals of Paris and Aachen were sacked in turn. Turning east, they swept down the uncharted rivers of central In AD 793 Norse warriors struck the English isle of Lindisfarne and laid waste to it. Wave after wave of Norse ‘sea-wolves’ followed in search of plunder, land, or a glorious death in battle. Much of the British Isles fell before their swords, and the continental capitals of Paris and Aachen were sacked in turn. Turning east, they swept down the uncharted rivers of central Europe, captured Kiev and clashed with mighty Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. But there is more to the Viking story than brute force. They were makers of law - the term itself comes from an Old Norse word - and they introduced a novel form of trial by jury to England. They were also sophisticated merchants and explorers who settled Iceland, founded Dublin, and established a trading network that stretched from Baghdad to the coast of North America. In The Sea Wolves, Lars Brownworth brings to life this extraordinary Norse world of epic poets, heroes, and travellers through the stories of the great Viking figures. Among others, Leif the Lucky who discovered a new world, Ragnar Lodbrok the scourge of France, Eric Bloodaxe who ruled in York, and the crafty Harald Hardrada illuminate the saga of the Viking age - a time which “has passed away, and grown dark under the cover of night”.

30 review for The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    I guess the cover should have been a clue. There is a saying which is often quoted by historians, "History is written by the victor". That is sometimes true and perhaps most often true when the history happened 1000 years ago. I would add that readers have heard that quotation so often that when reading an historical document they keep it in mind and look for clues that might offer an insight into the perspective of the vanquished. What we never hear is that history is almost exclusively written I guess the cover should have been a clue. There is a saying which is often quoted by historians, "History is written by the victor". That is sometimes true and perhaps most often true when the history happened 1000 years ago. I would add that readers have heard that quotation so often that when reading an historical document they keep it in mind and look for clues that might offer an insight into the perspective of the vanquished. What we never hear is that history is almost exclusively written by men. And so we have this book which is all about the battles, the conquests, the massacres and it almost entirely ignores the women, the culture, the every-day life and the hearth. In the past I've forgiven it, but I'm tired of forgiving it. Anyone who wrote a book about the Vikings but completely ignored their warring ways, their raiding and pillaging would be criticised. And yet a book which deals almost exclusively with the raiding and the pillaging and ignores everything else is for some reason accepted. Not by me. Not any more.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎

    I love to read non-fiction books that, in addition to be accurate and seriously based on facts (i.e. non speculative), are also entertaining and not stiff and dry. This book is cleverly organised, the author presents the story of the Vikings in chronological order but he focuses on a geographical region at the time (e.g. France, England, Ireland, Iceland, etc.). With the scope limited in each chapter, the events in the story flow naturally and the genealogy of the relevant historical figures are I love to read non-fiction books that, in addition to be accurate and seriously based on facts (i.e. non speculative), are also entertaining and not stiff and dry. This book is cleverly organised, the author presents the story of the Vikings in chronological order but he focuses on a geographical region at the time (e.g. France, England, Ireland, Iceland, etc.). With the scope limited in each chapter, the events in the story flow naturally and the genealogy of the relevant historical figures are easy to follow. Brownworth includes excerpts from historical documents by chroniclers and biographers, but he also references Norse myths and their sagas. Though they contain much legendary material, the sagas are major historical resources of Viking-age Scandinavia; they also provide amusing anecdotes as a bonus. The author’s style is engaging, truly bringing history to life. I loved to learn about the adventures of famous Vikings such as Ragnar Lothbrok, Ivar the boneless, Rollo the walker, Erik the red, Vladimir the great, etc. and women, like Olga of Kiev, were not to be underestimated either, beware of vengeful widows! This book is accessible and entertaining, a true pleasure to read. If you are curious about this remarkable people and its colourful leaders read this! Highly recommended. 4.5 stars rounded up. Favourite quotes: Hastein and Bjorn made themselves such a nuisance in northern France that King Charles the Bald tried to buy him off by handing over control of the city of Chartres. Since the Viking had no use for a city, he sold it to a neighboring count and continued raiding. Not only was Vladimir a barbarian, but he was a staunch pagan to boot, who had slaughtered his own brother, raped his sister-in-law, and usurped the throne. He already had seven wives and over the years had collected some eight hundred concubines. Even in an emergency, he was not the type to be given a chaste Christian princess. The court – and poor Basil’s sister – may have been outraged, but the emperor was determined to have the extra troops. The Viking Age is often judged by its impact on other cultures. It’s remembered as a time of destruction – the brutal sacking of monasteries, the ruin of much of Anglo-Saxon England, Ireland, and the Frankish Empire – but there was creation too. Colonies were founded in Iceland and Greenland, a Duchy was created in Normandy, great trading cities like Dublin and York flourished, and Russia gained its first centralized state. It was the Vikings who exposed the sprawling empire of Charlemagne, revealing fundamental flaws in the organization of that would-be-Roman Empire. As it broke apart under the hammer blows of the Vikings, the survivors were forced to create smaller, more efficient states. Out of the ashes of the Viking assault rose the four great medieval powers of Western Europe: France, England, The Holy Roman Empire, and the kingdom of Sicily.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rex Fuller

    They didn’t come from any one place but all over Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. And they had no king, at the start. Instead, any man could gather as many followers as he could muster, and then take off for other shores plundering. Meaning to kill, rape, and steal as much as possible. Not a prescription for admiration. And they didn’t have an alphabet (only a few pictographic runes), so they kept no written record at the start. And today there are no Vikings. Long killing spree, then disappearance. They didn’t come from any one place but all over Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. And they had no king, at the start. Instead, any man could gather as many followers as he could muster, and then take off for other shores plundering. Meaning to kill, rape, and steal as much as possible. Not a prescription for admiration. And they didn’t have an alphabet (only a few pictographic runes), so they kept no written record at the start. And today there are no Vikings. Long killing spree, then disappearance. So, how is it that today, they are so widely admired and we have so many things that are traced to them? Okay, nicknaming an NFL team “Vikings” might be obvious. But then there are things like the jury system, the keel, and the spar for sails. Our word “law” comes from one of their words and “Bluetooth” is one of theirs. And one you don’t think of is “Russia.” The Rus were Vikings. Anyway, you get the idea, they aren’t around anymore, yet they’re kind of everywhere if you look for the connections. And the story of how that all played out is fascinating. The Viking Age stretched from 793 when they sacked the monastery of Lindisfarne on the east coast of England, to 1066 when the Anglo-Saxons defeated Harald Hardrada at the battle of Stamford Bridge. Yet, in a way, even that defeat is overshadowed by the “Normans” – Viking descendants – under William the Conqueror beating the Anglo-Saxons at Hastings later that same year, 1066. In between Lindisfarne and Stamford Bridge, the Vikings warred with and settled into what are today the British Isles, including the Orkneys, Faroes, and Shetlands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, the Balkans, Turkey, the Levant, Sicily, Italy, Spain, and North Africa, in addition to warring among themselves throughout their home territories. They became one of the richest entities on earth, forcing tribute of hundreds of thousands of pounds of silver from England alone. They were among the greatest seafarers of all time. But humans don’t gather on the sea, they gather on land. In essence, the Vikings became tied to the land and when they did, they became us. To learn how and why in this book is a thrill.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Grumpus

    Everything you wanted to know about Vikings. I don't watch The History Channel's "Vikings" show but I know the main character is Ragnar. This book details the life of the the true man, his predecessors, and his descendants. I never knew the geographic extent to which they pillaged, the sums of money given to appease them (another historical example that appeasement never works) and ultimately some legacies they left Europe and the world. It was well done and worthy of a relatively quick read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    Excellent book with good references based on historical data. The truth about genuine Ragnar and Rollo conjoined one book :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Tomislav

    The book is a really good account of the Viking age and their historical pervasiveness which still influences us today. The style is enjoyable and the history is unfurled in stories about the most influential people of the North who developed ships which enabled them to establish a trade network from Baghdad to North America. Despite being remembered as bloodthirsty ravagers, as Viking hammer broke up the remains of Charlemagne's empire and shaped first European centralized powers of England, Fra The book is a really good account of the Viking age and their historical pervasiveness which still influences us today. The style is enjoyable and the history is unfurled in stories about the most influential people of the North who developed ships which enabled them to establish a trade network from Baghdad to North America. Despite being remembered as bloodthirsty ravagers, as Viking hammer broke up the remains of Charlemagne's empire and shaped first European centralized powers of England, France, Holy Roman Empire, Kingdom of Sicily and stroke foundations for today's countries of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia - they introduced trial and jury to England, formed law codes and discovered Shetlands, Faroes, Iceland, Greenland and established first European contact with North America. As Norse legends foretold, the Ragnarok happened, and Christ defeated the Allfather and Thor, by the end of Viking age so pervasively that the cross is prominent on every Norse flag today. The remaining legacy is in names of three weekdays (Wednesday for Odin, Thursday for Thor and Friday for Freya), NASA's Viking probes and the Bluetooth (named by Viking king Harald With-A-Weirdly-Infected-Tooth who unified kingdom of Denmark). To quote from the Epilogue But perhaps the greatest Viking trait was not their martial or navigational skills, but their remarkable adaptability. They had a genius for absorbing whatever local traditions they encountered, combining them into new, and dynamic forms. In France, these 'filthiest of God's creatures' created the model chivalric state, in Iceland they set up a Republic based on individual rights, and in Russia they became autocratic defenders of Orthodoxy.   Where there were no native foundations to build on, the Vikings showed a willingness to experiment, combined with a stubborn practicality. They claimed that Odin himself had advised that "No better burden can a man carry on the road than a store of common sense."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Marie

    Starting off the new year with a leap into the past. Poetic. Aside from the enormous slew of names, this was such a great, easy read. It positively zipped by and held my attention the whole time. Joe Barrett was an excellent narrator as well.

  8. 4 out of 5

    B.A. Wilson

    There's some really great information here, and at first, I was really enjoying this one. I previously had read some very flowery renditions of Norse mythology that hadn't sat quite as well with me, so the straightforward, no nonsense approach of this text really appealed to me. Then it all became a bit textbook heavy and dense, and I started to lose focus. It would probably be best not to attempt to get through this in one sitting, but that's what I did. Now my brain is exhausted, but not in a There's some really great information here, and at first, I was really enjoying this one. I previously had read some very flowery renditions of Norse mythology that hadn't sat quite as well with me, so the straightforward, no nonsense approach of this text really appealed to me. Then it all became a bit textbook heavy and dense, and I started to lose focus. It would probably be best not to attempt to get through this in one sitting, but that's what I did. Now my brain is exhausted, but not in a pleasant way. I have to confess that the longer I read, the less I truly absorbed the information. I listened to this on audio, which I think helped me stay focused and on track, but there's so much to take in that I sometimes wished I could just see the text. It's definitely more of a research resource, which is actually why I read this. I'm getting ready to dive into some Viking research and thought this would help get my brain in the right mode. I'm hoping I absorbed some useful information so that when my heftier texts arrive, it will be easier for me to read those. Book 144 read in 2018 Pages: 302

  9. 4 out of 5

    Verity Brown

    If you're looking for an exploration of Viking customs and culture, this probably isn't the book for you. Rather, it explores the profound impact of the Vikings on future history across the entire map of Europe, from Ireland to Russia to Byzantium (yes, you read that correctly--Byzantium). It's rather mindboggling to consider that Harald Hardrada--the Viking invader that the Saxons had to fight off mere weeks before they lost to the Normans (Frenchified Vikings) at Hastings--had previously trave If you're looking for an exploration of Viking customs and culture, this probably isn't the book for you. Rather, it explores the profound impact of the Vikings on future history across the entire map of Europe, from Ireland to Russia to Byzantium (yes, you read that correctly--Byzantium). It's rather mindboggling to consider that Harald Hardrada--the Viking invader that the Saxons had to fight off mere weeks before they lost to the Normans (Frenchified Vikings) at Hastings--had previously traveled east and south through nascent Russia (founded by Swedish Vikings) and served as a commander in a special Byzantine imperial guard unit that had been made up of Vikings for generations. The world was not small to the Vikings, who also discovered the Americas centuries before Columbus. My only real complaint about this book is that it lacks a few extra sentences here and there that could have made it clearer what events were were happening at the same time in the various parts of the widespread area of Viking influence. Perhaps an appendix timeline could have served the same purpose, but it doesn't have one, leaving the reader to try to keep track (something that might have been easier with a paper copy rather the Kindle edition I read).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    The Sea Wolves (2014) by Lars Brownworth is a fairly compact history of the Vikings. The book is broken into sections describing the viking raiders, the explorers, traders and how the viking lands were ruled. The vikings were an incredible group of people who used their seafaring skills to mount a series of raids against much of coastal Europe. Their plunder was enormous. Surprisingly initially their weapons were fairly small but their hit and run tactics were very effective. The vikings were als The Sea Wolves (2014) by Lars Brownworth is a fairly compact history of the Vikings. The book is broken into sections describing the viking raiders, the explorers, traders and how the viking lands were ruled. The vikings were an incredible group of people who used their seafaring skills to mount a series of raids against much of coastal Europe. Their plunder was enormous. Surprisingly initially their weapons were fairly small but their hit and run tactics were very effective. The vikings were also staggeringly violent, slaughtering people who they defeated on a regular basis. They also captured and traded slaves. Eventually they improved their weapons, their tactics and began to conquer parts of the British Isles and France. Here they quickly took on many of the local customs. The exploration carried out by the vikings was also remarkable, culminating in their discovery of the Americas. The vikings also traded extensively across Europe and carried their boats as far as the Middle East. It's truly amazing. As well as this they established a number of states including what would eventually become the Russian state. The book goes over a lot of ground pretty quickly and the pace makes it a breeze to read. It's really a remarkable story and the impact that the vikings had on Europe as sea raiders is made very clear. Just as the Mongols had a huge effect on the history of Asia the vikings radically altered Europe.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I listened to this on audiobook, which I think made it easier to get through than if I tried to sit down and read it. This book was a more entertaining way of learning about the Viking Age as the Norse pillaged, conquered, and traded their way across a large portion of the globe. I read this directly after having listened to the Great Courses lectures on The Vikings. This book basically reiterated everything that was in that course, but in a literary form rather than lecture form. There were som I listened to this on audiobook, which I think made it easier to get through than if I tried to sit down and read it. This book was a more entertaining way of learning about the Viking Age as the Norse pillaged, conquered, and traded their way across a large portion of the globe. I read this directly after having listened to the Great Courses lectures on The Vikings. This book basically reiterated everything that was in that course, but in a literary form rather than lecture form. There were some small differences in information, but nothing crazy. It is nice to listen to the facts multiple times for them to better sink in though. The biggest difference I remember is the larger amount of information provided in The Sea Wolves about Albert the Great, which I appreciated. He was a very interesting character, and this book made me want to learn more about him individually. So basically, if you've listened to the Great Course on The Vikings then you've already learned most of the information in this book. If you haven't, want the information, but don't like lectures, then this is the book for you. All in all, a good read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    The Sea Wolves is a short and entertaining account Viking Age, which spanned a 200 year timeframe from the late 8th century to the mid 11th century. The story begins with the brutal attack at Lindisfarne Abbey on the northeastern coast of England in 793 AD, the event that initiates the beginning of the Viking Age. The book covers how the Scandinavian Vikings raided and/or settled in a vast amount of territory, including most of Continental Europe, the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, the north The Sea Wolves is a short and entertaining account Viking Age, which spanned a 200 year timeframe from the late 8th century to the mid 11th century. The story begins with the brutal attack at Lindisfarne Abbey on the northeastern coast of England in 793 AD, the event that initiates the beginning of the Viking Age. The book covers how the Scandinavian Vikings raided and/or settled in a vast amount of territory, including most of Continental Europe, the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, the northeastern coast of North America, and western Asia (present day Turkey). The chapters are for the most part, organized by the regions into which the Vikings raided. The book closes with the story of the last great Viking raider, Harald Hardrada. In the year 1066, commonly considered the end of the Viking Era, Hardrada was slain at the battle of Stamford Bridge in England. If you are interested in getting an overview of the Viking Age, I think this book would be a good place to start.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    First, let me start by saying I liked this book. I think I liked this book because I am a history enthusiast. However, the book reads much like a textbook. Which took me sometime to read through. I had to re-read parts to make sure I was absorbing all the facts. I gave this book 3 stars because of how it read, (like a textbook). I thought it would read more like individual stories of the Vikings, themselves. If you are looking to get a great history on the Vikings, this is a great book. I was go First, let me start by saying I liked this book. I think I liked this book because I am a history enthusiast. However, the book reads much like a textbook. Which took me sometime to read through. I had to re-read parts to make sure I was absorbing all the facts. I gave this book 3 stars because of how it read, (like a textbook). I thought it would read more like individual stories of the Vikings, themselves. If you are looking to get a great history on the Vikings, this is a great book. I was going to have my son read this book in his high school (homeschooling) studies of the Vikings. However, I think he would be really bored with reading this particular book. Super glad I read it first. If you are going to read this book, I suggest listening to the audio book instead, easier to get through. While I was reading I had a hard time staying awake! LOL

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Great book about the Vikings. I did not know very much about them at all. I have a Danish ancestor, and my husband has many Danish ancestors. This made the book even more interesting. I was fascinated to learn about how wide-spread they were throughout the world and that the Danes, Swedes, and Norse all raided different parts of the world. They started out being a group of people with many different leaders, even in their own countries. Their assimilation into a people of landowners with a domin Great book about the Vikings. I did not know very much about them at all. I have a Danish ancestor, and my husband has many Danish ancestors. This made the book even more interesting. I was fascinated to learn about how wide-spread they were throughout the world and that the Danes, Swedes, and Norse all raided different parts of the world. They started out being a group of people with many different leaders, even in their own countries. Their assimilation into a people of landowners with a dominant king was fascinating. It was also fascinating how their conversion to Christianity paralleled and even aided that transformation. I also couldn't help but see their history of frequent, repeated killing and deposing relatives and anyone else who stood in their way very similar to the Jaredite nations.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Noah Goats

    This is an engaging book, a very interesting and readable introduction to that savage race of marauders, traders and explorers who made such an indelible mark on European history and the human imagination.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Richard Due

    Well researched, well organized, well written. A page turner. This book kept my up past my bedtime on more than one occasion. Finding history that's interesting and engaging is not easy. This title is John McPhee good. I'm looking forward to reading his book on Norman Kings.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Review originally published at Book of Bogan The Sea Wolves is subtitled A History of the Vikings, and is an attempt at covering the influence and reach of a group of figures who have become somewhat mythologised through popular culture and society in general. I guess when we hear the word Vikings, it immediately brings to mind a particular image, and certain assumptions about them, but the truth was much more diverse, and much more interesting. I suppose one of the most surprising things for me w Review originally published at Book of Bogan The Sea Wolves is subtitled A History of the Vikings, and is an attempt at covering the influence and reach of a group of figures who have become somewhat mythologised through popular culture and society in general. I guess when we hear the word Vikings, it immediately brings to mind a particular image, and certain assumptions about them, but the truth was much more diverse, and much more interesting. I suppose one of the most surprising things for me was how short the 'reign' of the vikings was - only a few hundred years - but the impact that they had on Europe, and the rest of the world reaches far beyond that. I learned an incredible amount from this book about just how far the vikings raided, and ranged. This is not a rose-coloured glasses history of vikings, and does air a lot of their dirty laundry, which makes the story that much more interesting, as the author shatters some of the notions that might exist in the reader. I would recommend this for anyone with an interest in history in general, and the history of medieval era Europe in particular. The book will entertain and inform.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Radu

    This is mostly a military/political history of the Vikings. It has solid information on the vikings' explorations and conquests, their reach of Constantinople, Greenland and Newfoundland, as well as how they relate with subsequent civilizations, such as the Russians. It offers enough information for the amateur history buff without losing itself into unnecessary details. As the "Sea Wolves" title suggests, this is mostly about the viking military history and less about their daily lives, culture This is mostly a military/political history of the Vikings. It has solid information on the vikings' explorations and conquests, their reach of Constantinople, Greenland and Newfoundland, as well as how they relate with subsequent civilizations, such as the Russians. It offers enough information for the amateur history buff without losing itself into unnecessary details. As the "Sea Wolves" title suggests, this is mostly about the viking military history and less about their daily lives, culture or mythology. I do want to mention that I disagree with other reviewers who are wrongly suggesting that there is no focus on viking women. Considering they were a medieval people, there are more than a few mentions of women who lead during those times, such as Olga of Kiev or Aud the Deep-Minded.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shanna

    Lars Brownworth (I kept wanting to say “Brownsworth” instead of “Brownworth”) did a really good job in writing this book. Although, I feel like this is more of an intro to the history of the Vikings rather than a full on history of this interesting group of people. I’ve been learning about the Vikings in my medieval class at my guest university (I’m an exchange student), so it was really nice to have this as a supplement to all of the info I got from that class. The Vikings have started to become Lars Brownworth (I kept wanting to say “Brownsworth” instead of “Brownworth”) did a really good job in writing this book. Although, I feel like this is more of an intro to the history of the Vikings rather than a full on history of this interesting group of people. I’ve been learning about the Vikings in my medieval class at my guest university (I’m an exchange student), so it was really nice to have this as a supplement to all of the info I got from that class. The Vikings have started to become a recent interest for me, and I’d really like to add more books about the Vikings to my bookshelf. As I mentioned, Brownworth did a good job in writing this book: he kept it interesting and engaging for me, which I really enjoyed. It’s a really good book to get an intro to the Vikings and to add to your Viking knowledge.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ken Lindholm

    A reasonable popular history book that fit my need for some background on the Vikings while we were visiting Scandinavia. The first section The Raiders seemed a bit sensationalistic, emphasizing pillaging and killing, with a good number of gruesome executions. (Maybe this was just the nature of the world at this time.) The next sections on Exploration (primarily across the North Atlantic) and Trading (the Swedish Viking movement into modern day Russia) were much better and more informative. The A reasonable popular history book that fit my need for some background on the Vikings while we were visiting Scandinavia. The first section The Raiders seemed a bit sensationalistic, emphasizing pillaging and killing, with a good number of gruesome executions. (Maybe this was just the nature of the world at this time.) The next sections on Exploration (primarily across the North Atlantic) and Trading (the Swedish Viking movement into modern day Russia) were much better and more informative. The author concludes with a decent summary of the end of the Viking era and their contributions to history. Three and a half stars, rounded down because of the violent sensationalism.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alaine

    Fairly short audio book, and pretty entertaining for a work of nonfiction. It wasn't a dry and boring list of dates and names. It got into the juicy stories while also laying down adequate historical background. Good to hold you over while waiting for the next season of Vikings to air. Ragnar Lothbrok is even mentioned several times. Interesting details regarding Ivar the Boneless. I think the book's idea about why he was called that sounds more realistic than how he's portrayed in the show.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tawney

    Lars Brownworth packs a lot of information into this survey of Viking history. The book is only about 250 pages long and covers Viking raids and invasions of Britain, Gaul and Ireland; the explorations that resulted in settlement of Iceland and Greenland; the trading excursions to the east as far as Constantinople. It fits into and fills in the more generally known European history of the time and is quite entertaining.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Fantastic book. Highly recommended.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Excellent!! Brutes, but not just brutes. Didn't realize the influence they had and not just when they started conquering, but even when the 'Viking' culture waned.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elie

    They left a legacy that transcends their times. There are more to those people than brutality. They adopted to their surroundings and merged their beliefs.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    An enjoyable and informative introduction to the history of the Vikings. It's not especially academic but it works pretty well as a popular introduction.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    Perhaps missing on minor details (e.g. omitting Tuesday’s Norse origin), The Sea Wolves by Lars Brownworth is an excellent entry point into the Viking Age. It’s written in clear, simple, and oft descriptive language that’s easy to digest and casts the actors in a palatable light. I’ve seen some criticize the author for being too romantic regarding the Vikings and their activities, but I found him to be fairly balanced regarding their portrayal; there’s no sugarcoating their violence here. I’d re Perhaps missing on minor details (e.g. omitting Tuesday’s Norse origin), The Sea Wolves by Lars Brownworth is an excellent entry point into the Viking Age. It’s written in clear, simple, and oft descriptive language that’s easy to digest and casts the actors in a palatable light. I’ve seen some criticize the author for being too romantic regarding the Vikings and their activities, but I found him to be fairly balanced regarding their portrayal; there’s no sugarcoating their violence here. I’d recommend the book to any interested in digging into the Viking Age.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Nemo

    A great comprehensive overview of the Vikings conquests and contributions to a developing Medieval Europe.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This was a fantastic history book! I learned so much, and the book was easy to follow.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This was an interesting book. I learned a lot about the Vikings, their culture, and their impact on history.

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