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History Happy Hour

Episode 71: How Vikings Changed the World

Our guest is Arthur Herman, author of THE VIKING HEART: How Scandinavians Conquered the  World. Here are some other recommendations:  

Scandinavia: A History, Ewan Butler – Butler takes an interesting look at Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Sweden by describing not only the history of each country separately, but also as part of a larger Scandinavian identity. What I also like about the book is that it is a historical narrative that continues beyond the dark ages and into World War II and today.

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of a Scandinavian Utopia, Michael Booth – A wry look at Scandinavia today. The author takes a VERY critical, but oftentimes humorous, look at Scandinavians today and questions whether our current fascination with so much of their society is valid or not. I did not always agree with what Booth was saying, but I really enjoyed how he said it.

Scandinavians: In Search of the Soul of the North, Robert Ferguson – Ferguson’s book is a bit of a combination of Butler and Booth. He looks at significant events in Scandinavian history-such as the 18th Century Battle of Polatva or WWII Norwegian collaboration and considers how these events impacted on Scandinavian society today. I found it interesting that he describes great events of tremendous importance to Scandinavians that I knew little or nothing about.

Vikings: A History of the Northmen, W.B. Bartlett – This is a solid one-volume history of the Vikings. The author talks about the history of the “north men” from the dark ages through the middle ages. He discusses societal organization, ritual, culture, etc., as well as providing details of important figures in Viking history and a good narrative of events.

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