Amazing book by Neil Price who tries to write a history of the Vikings more from their point of view than has been done before. He tells about who they were and how we know this, or intelligently figure it. He is an archeologist by profession but knows his history, too.
Children of Ash and Elm:
A History of the Vikings
By Neil Price
2020 / 573 pages
Read by: Samuel Roukin 17h 25m
Rating: 9.5 / European history
(Read and listened)
Oh my what a good book! Neil Price writes us a history of the Vikings more from their point of view than has been done before (other than their own sagas, of course). It a long book, but it’s both very readable and packed with information at the same time.
I was attracted to it back in November or December – the title sounded like a Christmas book and the Audible cover is red and green with a large triangle shape on it so, what else could it be? (The large triangle is the shape of a Viking ship.) The cover art is gorgeous and makes me wish I still read hard covers because that could sit around my house for weeks and I’d never tire of seeing it.
Anyway, I didn’t buy it and the book stayed on my Wish List at Audible waiting. So I kept it on my wish list. And then … ta-da … a month or so ago it popped up on sale! Omg – yes. And even knowing it was not a Christmas book, I bought it – I could still save it back in my library. But I got impatient so when I had time to read it I just opened it up.
Oh and it was so good to start out – I just had to get the Kindle version to read along. This is in case I think I missed something or didn’t quite comprehend and wanted to read it again, or it’s in case I need to see a name spelled out, or if there are pictures or maps or source information. Sigh – I’m bad.
The material is covered pretty much chronologically with the associated social parts interwoven. The ‘Rus (as they were sometimes known) finally do get to Constantinople via the rivers of Russia. They also get to Greenland and Vinland (North America) and many other places – Paris, London, maybe a couple sites in North Africa. They conquered other places and occasionally settled down there to be citizens and get converted. They are everything you’ve ever heard and more (or less). Price covers domestic issues, death, sex issues, right along with foreign trade and battles.
I think my only complaint is that the reader went a bit too fast for the material. That speed is fine on a run-of-the-mill crime novel, but Children of Ash and Elm is history and dense with names and places and dates and events. So I would listen then read the same pages over again – I did that quite a lot.
These are links to some of the incredible reviews I found – they didn’t convince me to read it – I wanted to see what others thought – I love it when we agree. 🙂