Genre = History, Empires
A short book that covers Viking history from late 8th century to mid-11th century. Their invasions, social circumstances, and mythology are included while also correcting some misperceptions. Vikings made their presence felt in England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Vinland, and France. The era of Viking invasions has three potential catalysts. 1) The invasions were retaliation for coercion and terror in trying to turn them into Christians. 2) Need for resources led them to trade and obtain trading partners in new territories. 3) Growing population with a lack of fertile farmland caused them to seek it elsewhere. In many instances emulated the people under their reign.
The raids were typically small but appear to have been part of grand strategy. Usually raiding in the winter as the regions under attack would lack support. What gave the Vikings superiority was the Viking longships which were fast and could travel shallow waters. Some Vikings left regions because they were paid to leave. Other Vikings settled in regions where armies could not remove them. While other Vikings lost battles and retreated.
Social culture was typically hospitable and welcoming of strangers. Although the Viking was not larger-than-life-size, because of their harsh environment, physical chores, and battles, they were physically stronger than average man. Women were independent and had certain rights which permitted them to enjoyed relatively more liberty than other regions during the time period. Large slave population for daily and physical chores. The kings title was fought for rather than inherited.
A quick read. As this is a short book, it discusses the Vikings in broad descriptions and does not contain many details per event. A very good overview of the Vikings which allows the reader to consider looking for more. Provides history from different perspectives rather than glorifying or demonizing the Vikings.