Monday, December 16, 2013

Viking: Norse Warrior's Manual (2013)

Viking: The Norse Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual. John Haywood. 2013. Thames & Hudson. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

The world needs more history books like this one. Viking is written in second person present tense. The reader is addressed directly, and the material--though unofficial--blends what you want to know with what you need to know...if you want to become a Viking. The book is set in December 991 AD.

The book is arranged topically.
  • Why Become a Viking
  • Joining Up
  • The Novice Viking's Guide to the Great War Leaders
  • Weapons and Tactics
  • Going to Sea
  • Have Longship, Will Travel
  • Life On Campaign
  • Battle
  • The Spoils of War
  • The Sword's Sleep
 I found many sections entertaining and enjoyable. But probably my favorite section to grin about was "Have Longship, Will Travel." In this section, the author rates lands to potentially plunder. The name of each country is given, of course, as well as essential information such as location, inhabitants, key resources, several descriptive paragraphs, and the all-important section describing how hard it is to raid. (England is rated five stars; Ireland three stars). It reads in part:
Rich, green and fertile, England is the destination for the ambitious Viking at the present time. Since 978 England has been ruled by a foolish and unpopular king, Aethelred. (101)
Overall, this one is just a fun, light history book. 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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