The Real Valkyrie

By Nancy Marie Brown,

Book cover of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

Book description

In the tradition of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, Brown lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors

“Once again, Brown brings Viking history to vivid, unexpected life―and in the process, turns what we thought we knew about…


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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Real Valkyrie as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Recent genetic research on the human remains of a 10th-century Viking grave excavated in 1878 in Birka, Sweden, rocked the world of Viking studies when it determined that the warrior buried with numerous weapons and two horses was not male, but female. I loved how this author imagines what that woman’s life might have been like. She also suggests that the woman buried in the Birka grave was merely one of many female Viking warriors, offering data drawn from archaeological finds, from historical accounts, from language studies, and from the sagas to support the theory that ‘shield maids’ really did…

From Patricia's list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia.

In 2017, Swedish bioarchaeologists announced the discovery that an iconic Viking warrior known as the Birka man was in fact the Birka woman. In The Real Valkyrie, Nancy Marie Brown takes the reader on a deeply researched and richly imagined exploration of what life might have been like for the Birka woman, whom she names Hervor. She asks new questions of sagas, chronicles, and archeological sources—and leads the reader through what those sources can tell us. She introduces us to a broader version of the Viking world, and to many powerful Viking women who have been previously dismissed as…

From Pamela's list on women in war.

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