My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Even though I’m a History enthusiast, I didn’t know a lot about the Vikings before I decided to read Neil Oliver’s “The Vikings: A New History.” To be honest, World History classes in High School and European History classes in college just didn’t have much to say about them, but after reading this book, I came away with more knowledge of the Vikings and a desire to learn more. Oliver goes from the pre-History of the Vikings to the close of their age in the British Isles, exploring their origins, their development, and their movement across Europe, the Middle East, an Asia. He shows how they often adapted to the cultures of the areas they occupied instead of forcing their culture on the occupied. They have a fascinating History and Oliver tells it in an enthusiastic, conversational way. In my opinion the books has two shortcomings. First it has no maps; maps would better illustrate and represent the Vikings’ travels. Second, he is admittedly enthusiastic about the Vikings and while I don’t know enough to presume to call his objectivity into question, the thought did linger in the back of my head at times.