Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

Basic. Aug. 2020. 624p. ISBN 9780465096985. $35. HIST
Price (archaeology, Uppsala Univ., Sweden; The Viking Way) sets out to uncover Vikings myths and legends in order to create a nuanced view of the Viking Age (750–1050 CE). Using research taken from across various disciplines, such as archaeology, sociology, and economics, Price attempts to get at how the Vikings viewed themselves and how they reshaped the world. An immense undertaking from an expert who has studied the Vikings for almost 35 years, this is a masterful piece of work that seeks to present the historical Vikings as distinct from the caricatures of pop culture. Separated into three sections focusing on how the Vikings viewed themselves from gender identities to burial rites; to the Viking phenomenon itself of raids and expansion; and finally, to the transformations of both themselves and the world at the end of the era, this is an engaging and engrossing read.
VERDICT Exhaustively researched using cross-disciplinary resources, this breathtaking, epic history will appeal to all types of readers.

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