Book review - Blood of the Vikings by Julian Richards
review by Becky
Blood of the Vikings by Julian Richards
Available on Amazon.com: Blood of the Vikings
Book Description: Published to tie-in with the BBC series, this lavishly illustrated book brings the world of the vikings to the present day - using up-to-the-minute scientific techniques to link us to our viking ancestors and answer the questions that have puzzled historians for centuries. The Blood of the Vikings is a five part series, each programme 50 minutes long, fronted by Julian (Meet The Ancestors) Richards, which will be BBC2's showcase series for next Christmas. It not only tells the story of the Vikings in Britain in a new and exciting way, but also uses advanced DNA testing to show how the influence of the Vikings has lingered genetically in modern Britain.
This is a great book for anyone in the United Kingdom who wants to understand the history surrounding the first viking raids to 1066. As it not only covered of course the impact on the small english kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex, North Umbria etc but it looks at how the vikings first began to turn towards the main continent by raiding into the Hebrides and Shetland, then how they affected the politics and many battles in Ireland which was as divded as England at the time with many small rulers squabbling for ultimate control, which then leads on to the invasion of England.
It also dispells many of the myths surrounding the vikings such as the sticking idea of horned helmets and that they were only good at raiding whereas they were good adapters to changing environments and cultural clashes, brilliant blacksmiths, farmers, jewellers and poets. It looks at the viking influence in the not to recent past such as the Victorian interest that sparked up around their myths and most controversially how the German Nazi's distorted the image of the brave viking to spur on their warriors and even used a rune to become the Nazi symbol.
This book is not just easy to understand and follow it never bores you to death, it is always interesting by looking at different archeaological, historical and physical discoveries and finds that have helped support and develope our understanding of the vikings, why they came here, why they stayed here and all they did to help change our history. Julian Richards, the author, also looks at the homelands of the vikings so we understand their brutal and harsh origins but also at the key players that lived and influenced events in this fantasticly turbulent era, from Edmund the Unready, Alfred the Great, Eric Bloodaxe, Athelfaed - Alfred's daughter, Athelstan to Cnut, Harthacnut, Harald Hardrada to William Duke of Normandy.
Some of the pictures used in this book are of good quality and detail enabling you to see many of the finds and discoveries he discusses from outlines of the Danelaw, viking treasure hordes to burials and historical documents from the period.
It really helped improve my understanding of how much the Vikings changed and shaped our present culture today. I really recommend it to anyone whether just beginning to take an interest in these fascinating people or devout fans.
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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