The Best Books About The Viking Period

Max Adams Author Of Aelfred's Britain: War and Peace in the Viking Age
By Max Adams

The Books I Picked & Why

The Northmen's Fury: A History of the Viking World

By Philip Parker

The Northmen's Fury: A History of the Viking World

Why this book?

Every subject needs a really sound, comprehensive introduction – and Parker's book is just that: a big, chunky history of the Vikings in all their guises, as traders, raiders, explorers, and entrepreneurs.  It's very well illustrated with photos and maps, lucidly written, and with a passion for the subject that is infectious. If you're looking for just one book to see you through the Vikings, make it this one.


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The Vinland Sagas (Translated By Keneva Kunz)

By Unknown, Keneva Kunz

The Vinland Sagas (Translated By Keneva Kunz)

Why this book?

When I write about any period, I want to go back to the original sources: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the charters and, especially for the Viking period, the sagas. They may not be contemporary with the tales they tale – of adventure and murder, treasure, intrigue, and betrayal – but there is no more evocative way of hearing the 'voice' of far distant times and places. The Vinland Sagas, which includes the Saga of the Greenlanders and the Saga of Eirik the Red, tell of the great voyages to the west in search of Vinland. They are thrilling and accessible in a good English translation – a must-read for any Viking enthusiast.


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Vikings of the Irish Sea

By David Griffiths

Vikings of the Irish Sea

Why this book?

This may not look, at first sight, like a book for the general reader. But in my research into the period I have found no more useful, better written, or more thought-provoking work. David Griffiths is, like me, an archaeologist; and he knows his material. How the Vikings explored, conquered, and settled the lands in and around the Irish Sea is a story of marvellous sculpture and enigmatic burial mound; of silver, towns and landscape. A very fine book.


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The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

By Nancy Marie Brown

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

Why this book?

Nancy Brown's search for one of the most intriguing characters of the sagas, Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir, is both a detective story and an evocation; a travelogue and history. It brings the adventuring spirit of the age to life; and in exploring this most fascinating and intrepid woman – the first European to give birth on American soil – it warns us not to forget half of the Viking population.


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The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings

By John Haywood

The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings

Why this book?

If I'm to understand a period and a theme, I want maps: lots of them and packed with information. John Haywood's beautifully presented series of full-colour thematic and chronological maps is a perfect companion for the curious reader and student of the Viking period. It has good thematic summaries, plenty of illustrations and helps one to understand the sheer breadth and pace of Viking activity across Europe and beyond in the two centuries after the first raid on Lindisfarne. Invaluable.


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