SP_ChildrenofAsh

Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

Written by Neil Price

From Basic Books:

The definitive history of the Vikings — from arts and culture to politics and cosmology — by a distinguished archaeologist with decades of expertise

The Viking Age — from 750 to 1050 — saw an unprecedented expansion of the Scandinavian peoples into the wider world. As traders and raiders, explorers and colonists, they ranged from eastern North America to the Asian steppe. But for centuries, the Vikings have been seen through the eyes of others, distorted to suit the tastes of medieval clerics and Elizabethan playwrights, Victorian imperialists, Nazis, and more. None of these appropriations capture the real Vikings, or the richness and sophistication of their culture.

Based on the latest archaeological and textual evidence, Children of Ash and Elm tells the story of the Vikings on their own terms: their politics, their cosmology and religion, their material world. Known today for a stereotype of maritime violence, the Vikings exported new ideas, technologies, beliefs, and practices to the lands they discovered and the peoples they encountered, and in the process were themselves changed. From Eirík Bloodaxe, who fought his way to a kingdom, to Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir, the most traveled woman in the world, Children of Ash and Elm is the definitive history of the Vikings and their time.

“A thrilling read….The stereotype of the Viking that we know from history books and popular media is here dismantled and presented anew by Mr. Price in all its wonderful, terrifying complexity and ambiguity. By clarifying the long-reaching effects of Scandinavian influence, Children of Ash and Elm brings a dramatically altered understanding of the Viking Age to a wider international audience.”―Wall Street Journal

“As Neil Price shows in his colorful, revelatory new book, we are almost always looking at the Vikings the wrong way around…. He may know more about medieval Scandinavia than anyone else alive, and he aims to show us these fascinating people as they saw themselves, not as they were perceived by those on the sharp end of their robbery…. Thousands of books have been published about the Vikings — this is one of the very best.”―Sunday Times (UK)

“Scholarly, colourful and often remarkably funny, this is history at its very best, a richly decorated window on to a very strange world.”―The Times (UK), Best History Book of the Year

“Not only a leading authority on the period, Price is also a wonderful writer, by turns philosophical, witty, lyrical and poignant. He possesses both an archaeologist’s ability to interpret large quantities of scholarship and data, and the skill to translate it creatively. His vivid prose illuminates both the physical and the psychological dimensions of the early medieval north, while at the same time leaving space for uncertainty: the possibility of future discoveries and theories that will alter the picture yet again…. The writing hums with life as Price summons up the voices of the past.”―Guardian