From Odin to Christ
by Martyn Whittock; Hannah Whittock
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Pub Date 22 Jun 2018 | Archive Date 17 May 2019
Lion Hudson Ltd, Lion Books
The popular image of the Vikings is of tall red-headed men, raping and pillaging their way around the coast of Europe, stopping only to ransack monasteries and burn longships. But the violent Vikings of the 8th century became the pious Christians of the 11th century, who gave gold crosses to Christian churches and in whose areas of rule pagan idols were destroyed and churches were built.
So how did this radical transformation happen, and why? What difference did it make to the Vikings, and to those around them, and what is their legacy today?
This book takes a "global" look at this key period in Viking history, exploring all the major areas of Viking settlement. Written to be an accessible and engaging overview for the general reader.
A Note From the Publisher
Hannah Whittock was awarded a First in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Studies and an MPhil in the same period of history by Cambridge University
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 59 members
A progression of Vikings religious beliefs in different countries, some chapters are country specific. a good resource if doing a project on or similar to the topic. not all over the place country wise to go chronically, it is good it sticks to talking about the country/ continent side to it.
If I could hug the authors, I would hug them breathless. What an incredible book! As a Norwegian family, we are (i.e. ridiculously over-the-top and proud of it) not shy about our Viking heritage. Which means that I tend to devour any and every book that has the Vikings as it's subject. Martyn and Hannah Whittock did such an amazing job with this book. Their attention to detail and historical accuracy is wonderful, and their writing is superb. I could not be more thrilled with this book. My only wish is that I had MORE from these authors!
For me, this was a highly informative journey into the transformation of the "pagan" Viking into the acceptable "christian" that is well annotated and referenced, and makes use of the voices of the Vikings themselves, through their sagas, to provide context. The authors explore the conversion of the Viking peoples and how and why this religious transformation took place. What is interesting is the differing views on what constituted conversion, where the roots of conversion eminated from, and the how each conversion event was unique.
The authors make clever use of their chapters to sort out and compartmentalise the history of the conversion of each group or nation, making it more accessible to the reader. We take a look at who were the Vikings of the pre-christian world, and compare that with our modern perception of them. We look at how different forms of Christianity were the driving forces behind the conversions - German, Irish, British and Greek missionaries each had their sphere of influence and success.
This is truly a remarkable journey of the Christianisation of the Scandinavian world that really kicked off in the late 9th century and lasted for a period of three hundred years.
For full review: http://melisendeslibrary.blogspot.com/2018/08/review-vikings-from-odin-to-christ-by.html
Most people think of the Vikings as a raping and pillaging lot, intent on conquering their world as it was known to them. However, many Vikings were converted to Christianity and spread the gospel. This one is very readable and well written. A must for a history buff.
My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via Net Galley.
Viking. Coincidentally, on the very day I started reading a NetGalley ARC (advance reader copy) of this history of the Vikings, I happened across our 28-yr-old son's Halloween costume from last year: THOR! (He'd left it here during his transition from Chicago to Manhattan.) Minutes later, I happened across a Steemit post on "Dark Souls" by @scienceviking. Call it synchronicity, or a message from the gods, but Viking forces are outpacing signs of the Zodiac in my life. (Not that I worry if Mars is rising and the house of whoever is declining. I can't even remember the terminology, much less claim to believe in it.)
So, I'm predisposed to love anything affirmative I read about Vikings, and this book gives us a kinder, gentler Viking than the stereotypes we're used to.
So much information, and not just about the Christianizing of the Viking. I love how "the word Viking is something you did rather than what you were," and to go out viking or to be "a Viking" did not carry the negative connotation it later came to bear.
The book is cool for wanting "to correct the over-emphasis in popular culture on the Odin-worshipping warriors of film and fiction."
Like any well-written, informative, exhaustively researched history book, this one is long and packed with line after line of quotable and noteworthy quotes.
Because I'm reading a NetGalley ARC, I can't utilize the handy Kindle-Share feature, which saves me a lot of typing vs a quick copy-paste when I want to cite excerpts from the text. And all that typing takes time.
Eventually, I swear, I'll get around to posting great lines from this great history. Trust Carol: this is no dry, dull history. Even the etymology and linguistic evolution of the word "viking" is fun to read. E.g., those known as Vikings put a positive spin on a dreaded people, saying, perhaps, "I am an adventurer," rather than "My employment is smash and grab... and worse." (Images of Haggar the Horrible, a long-lasting cartoon, spring to mind.)
It takes tremendous passion, dedication, time, concentration, and hard work to write a book of this scope and depth. I am in awe!
The Vikings from Odin to Christ by Martyn and Hannah Whittock was received direct from the publisher. I have been interested in the Vikings my whole life. I took a stronger interest in them after I visited Iceland. The main aim of these authors is to explore what happened to the Vikings after they converted to Christianity. Yes! I had never heard of this either. Also, the term Vikings refers to Danes, Norwegians and Swedes, at least in the context of this book. The Viking Age was about 800 - 1100 AD. While the book explores Vikings and Christianity, do not think anyone wanting a history lesson about “real” Vikings would go wrong with this book. This book is recommended for those simply interested in Vikings, like I was, those who want the history of Vikings for whatever reason, or those needing or wanting Viking information for any reason. Please grab this book and keep it on your shelf.
The Vikings have an image of rough warriors intent on rape and pillage and wearing helmets with horns on them. However the truth is far more complicated. Yes, the Vikings were marauders who looked for wealth in the form of goods or slaves but they were not the heathens portrayed. here a consideration is taken of the spread of the Viking peoples and also the spread of Christianity amongst them. the Vikings were huge contributors to Western civilisation as we know it. This book is written in a very readable style and never labours its points.
We can easily imagine Vikings raiding towns and profaning the Christian cult places they find on their path. But we cannot usually picture as vividly how these warriors were converted to Christianity, how they passed from heathens to saved souls.
I have to confess that despite my love for the man that came from the North, I had a hard time trying to understanding how they passed “so quickly” from the pillagers to followers of God.
In this book Martyn and Hannah Whittock show the process of the Viking conversion in a clear language and in a way as accessible for a scholar reader or a casual one.
I especially enjoyed how the book divided his treatment of conversion for each area of viking influence, giving us a little background in the history before pulling us to the crucial points and evidences that the warriors of the north were leaving their pagan traditions behind. This, plus the glossary of names and the notes, made for a book enjoyable to read and a history easy to follow even if one doesn’t know beforehand too much about Viking history and legend.
Other than the clever division of chapters and accessible language, I have to notice that I was happy to find out that there was no inclination to paint pagans as bad and Christians as good. It was simply presented the facts and we were left alone to take our conclusions on this point.
To finish, the bibliography and the text itself guide us to good texts that are rather good paths for the next reads about our favourite raiders.
All in all, “Vikings, from Odin to Christ” is a solid book, informative, clear to all that want to read it and a crucial read for everyone that want to know more about the man that once bowed to the Allfather.
I visited far northern Norway in 1996. Norway brings to mind Vikings. The coast, fjords, architecture, and the language drips with the thought of Vikings. Many people are enamored with the view of Vikings. I am not one of those people. The subtitle of this book is what interested me. How did the Norse people go from being raiders to Christian in a relatively short period? Martyn Whittock and Whittock tell the story of these people well.
Reading a history textbook does not sound enjoyable. Most times it is not fun. The tale of the Vikings becoming a Christian people is interesting. Whittock and Whittock performed yeoman's work in research. Their presentation goes beyond a research book. There are few, if any, stories of individual Norse people but it is easy to view these people and the change their world must have gone.
This book is an easy read for someone with interest in Viking history. I believe this book would make an excellent addition to an academic course in any medieval history of Europe also.
The Viking: From Odin to Christ gives great insight regarding the shift from pagan beliefs to Christian dogma.
I enjoyed the section about Norse mythology as well as their traditional stories. There is a section in between that and looking at the transition between pagan` and Christian theology that I was interested in and felt like I was reading a textbook. The manuscript picked up as Martyn Whittock described the combination of religious icons as well as how each section of the area morphed in their beliefs. I was most interested in the facts about the first Christian in North America as well as the British rule of a Christian Viking King.
If you are interested in the Viking and their religion, then this gives a lot of insight. But this does read like most history books and is not for everyone.
I remember a long-ago archaeology class that did not devote much time to the Vikings much to my dismay, because I thought that topic was fascinating. Fair disclosure, the book has clearly been inspired by the popularity of a cable TV fictional drama called The Vikings. I was hoping for a more in-depth, historic, and scientific treatise on the Vikings and their expansion, and their adoption of Christianity. But the book, while covering the entirety of this span of Viking history, is very shallow and just provides a brief history of the culture. The authors clearly knew the sheer number of named Vikings would be confusing to the average reader, so they included a timeline at the beginning that outlines activities and actors; a map; and a list of key people. What they didn't provide were illustrations, and this is particularly pertinent to the entire middle of the book, where lengthy discussions of Viking art and its embrace of Christian elements, and vice versa, are described, and presumably well-known artifacts referenced repeatedly. But without a few photos, this reader was left dissatisfied with the entire material culture discussion. A bit dry and best only for a brief intro to Viking history. Anyone with a real desire to delve into Viking history should look for more academic publications.
A fascinating read. This renewed a childhood obsession with viking history, but now with sophisticated understanding. This book is written with a great balance between scholarly insight and keeping the lay read interested.
A must for anyone intrigued by either Christianity or Viking history, as a buff of both, I had high hopes for this book and I was not disappointed.
The background detail provided prior to the body of work increased my understanding prior to jumping right in.
It is important to remember that this is non-fiction so at points it will not be entertaining, just informative.
Martyn & Hannah Whitlock have delivered a quality book on the history of Vikings ignored by popular media channels.
Much more my style! I love history and always wondered about how the Vikings integrated in to a society. Though I doubt very much I have any Viking stock in my dna, I am descendant of places Vikings pillaging and plundering and then settling! I was curious as to how this all came about so peacefully in the end and this book tells the tale! I really didn't do my homework in this area of history and am very glad Martyn and Hannah Whittock did! Yes, it is somewhat of a dry read if you aren't into history in general, or Vikings in particular. But for those of us who enjoy Vikings and history, this is a real joy to read; loads of facts and explanations for why Vikings ended up as they did. Great read.
I do enjoyed this story,if you like learning about the Vikings this is the one to read.. Loved the story line,so we'll researched and written. You learn so much of why they did what they do a introduction to them learning about God and not all the rituals they performed,worshipping Idols. The adventures,if not for the Vikings,it would have been longer to discover lands.
“History is written by victors” we are told but although this makes logical sense it doesn’t always ring true. What if the victors were illiterate at the time of many of their conquests? Whilst they were enjoying the spoils of war the vanquished were penning tales of bloodshed and sacrilege. Even though The Vikings eventually converted to Christianity, became bone fide rulers of vast territories, and transformed the family trees of European nobility we still tend to think of them as they were portrayed in those early monastic manuscripts. So perhaps a better understanding of posterity is that “history is but a fable agreed upon”
This book is one of several recent attempts by historians to rehabilitate The Vikings’ image. Although I thought I knew a fair bit about our Scandinavian forebears it was enlightening to have it all laid out so concisely. The way that this book is organised makes it clear just how important The Vikings were and how they shaped the world we now live in. We love to talk about The Romans but should we be asking ‘What did The Vikings do for us?’
Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
<strong>Rating: 3.5 out of 5</strong>
<i>The Vikings: From Odin to</i><em> Christ</em> contains a great wealth of information about how Vikings were converted and transitioned to Christianity from their religion. In order to give full context of how this happened, the authors detail how and where these people settled, the politics involved, and what archaeological evidence we have for their conversions.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It has a lot of information that most other histories of Vikings don't really touch on; focusing specifically on the religion conversion helps to give this book a sole focus, which was great. I do think this book would be a lot easier to read in print, because there is a reference for which famous Vikings are which, so when they're mentioned in a chapter, it would be easy to look at and understand where the information fits into the larger whole; this was rather difficult to manage in the e-book.
I also wish there some sort of narrative focus or better organization, because the information was sometimes difficult to follow. As a reference book, this is great, but if you're wanting to sit down with some reading about Vikings, it might be a struggle, since a lot of the times, this book lists out dry facts rather than having a cohesive narrative that would help the reader follow along. However, it contains a lot of reference material and I appreciated just how many citations were included, since I felt secure in trusting the material.
Definitely recommend for this interested in religious or Viking history!
Although this book is subtitled "From Odin to Christ" and is ostensibly a book about the 'Christianizing' of Scandinavia, the truth is that this is a really phenomenal, brief history of the 'Vikings.' I put a quote around 'Vikings' because, as the Whittocks explain, 'Viking' is something you <em>did</em> (you went viking) and <em>not</em> something you were.
The research here is tremendous and although the presentation feels somewhat brief, there's a strong sense that the information behind the presentation is accurate.
Although I have long been interested in Scandinavian history, this book reveals some very interesting information - so much so that I can't say what it all is without repeating so much of the book. Suffice it to say that I was not aware that we knew so much about which groups of Norsemen (those from Denmark, Norway, or Sweden [or at least what is now referred to as these areas]) invaded which areas. I was not aware that the Norsemen vikinged so far east and southeast - I thought they worked primarily in Great Britain, Iceland, and points west.
I knew I was in for an educational treat early on when the Whittock's write:
<blockquote>There is also another factor that may have prompted the start of Viking raids. The late-eighth-century Danish attacks on the Frankish Empire and the British Isles coincided with changes occurring in the far off Middle Eastern Islamic Caliphate from the 740s onwards, as the Umayyad dynasty lost out to the new Abbasid dynasty and the centre of political power shifted from Damascus to Baghdad. These distant political and economic changes disrupted the flow of silver to Scandinavia. For some time Islamic merchants and their middle men had brought silver to northern Europe to trade it for the products of the north: slaves, furs, amber. However, the violently shifting politics within the Caliphate were followed by its fragmentation and a decline in central authority. As a result of this, in the late ninth century the Caliphate lost control of the silver mines in what is now Tajikistan. This precipitated a crisis in Scandinavia. Scandinavian economies began to falter as trade with the Islamic world declined. It was now harder for (suddenly silver poor) Scandinavian elites to engage in traditional gift-giving which cemented social bonds. Raiding offered an alternative method of obtaining both precious metals and slaves.</blockquote>
And while I was certainly aware that there were a good many Viking raids on Ireland I absolutely loved that there was a poem written in the upper margin of a manuscript in a monastery of St Gall (written c. 845-850):
<blockquote>Bitter is the wind tonight
It tosses the ocean's white hair
Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway
Coursing on the Irish sea.</blockquote>
The book does address the adoption of Christianity by the Scandinavians and we get just as thorough a documented history of the rolling conversion from paganism to Christianity as we did the rest of the book. From noting that "women in the Icelandic context seem to have played an important role in the conversion" to recognizing that "A new deity was not the issue: it was the exclusivity of Christianity that was the challenge" this book covers a lot of ground and unlike the history books of my school days, this is presented extremely well. The almost conversational writing style makes this very easy to read.
My only down-side to my Kindle ARC is that the footnotes are not hot-linked so I couldn't read the notes or check the resource while reading this. For that reason, this is my holiday wish list because I am confident I will want to refer to this book again and again.
Looking for a good book? <em>The Vikings</em> by Martyn Whittock & Hannah Whittock is a well-written, well-researched book that will appeal to lovers of history, Christianity, Scandinavian culture, Norse mythology, and anyone who just enjoys a good non-fiction read.
<h6>note: quotes are from an advanced reading copy and may not accurately reflect the published edition</h6>
<h6>I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.</h6>
A fascinating history of the rise and fall of the Vikings. Full of background material and surrounding events that frame the Viking era. Immensely readable and complete.
This informative text book contains the history of the Norse from pagan times to early Christianity.
It was a very interesting read, but, since it's a text book, it's not a book you read for leasure/pleasure. Hence it took me some time to get through it.
This is very good history of the Vikings with a particular focus on their conversion to Christianity
The book is wide in its scope covering everything from settlements in North America to Rus.
Never too academic, this book offers an interesting story to a general history audience
Fascinating treatise on Viking history that will make you re-think what you’ve been taught in school and what what pop culture tries to propagate. As I am someone who has always been interested in Viking culture and history - and that of the lands in which they conquered - this was right in my wheelhouse. Many thanks for this ARC copy to review!
This is an informative book about Vikings. Its more of a text book form but great! awesome book to have on hand if you have questions!
Giving it a 5/5 stars because KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
For many of us, the story of the Vikings is quite fascinating. Most often, they are portrayed as pagans who travelled the waterways raiding villages with savage brutality.
While this was often the truth, there is a bit more to them than that and this book dispels some of the myths surrounding the Vikings.
With a focus on the Vikings path to Christianity, readers follow the Vikings from the earliest records and evidence, both from archeological sites and written records. While the book does read more like a text book and is tedious at times, it was interesting to learn how the Vikings began to evolve from pagans to Christians. Contrary to popular belief, Vikings turned to Christianity much earlier than we are led to belief from myths, stories and popular television.
I found the book to be very informative, but there were many names and details to remember. I recommend this to history lovers and Viking enthusiasts who don’t mind textbook style reading.
My thanks to NetGalley and Lion Hudson Limited for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
Informative, well researched and an ideal read for those studying Christianity and wish to have a wider scope on the historical aspects of faith than academics sometimes allow for. It's well written and easy to read so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to some of my students.
The Vikings: From Odin to Christ, written by a scholarly father and daughter team, Martyn & Hannah Whittock, was an interesting, unique, and well researched history of the Vikings. Here is the publisher’s description of the book:
“The popular image of the Vikings is of tall red-headed men, raping and pillaging their way around the coast of Europe, stopping only to ransack monasteries and burn longships. But the violent Vikings of the 8th century became the pious Christians of the 11th century, who gave gold crosses to Christian churches and in whose areas of rule pagan idols were destroyed and churches were built. So how did this radical transformation happen, and why? What difference did it make to the Vikings, and to those around them, and what is their legacy today? This book takes a "global" look at this key period in Viking history, exploring all the major areas of Viking settlement. Written to be an accessible and engaging overview for the general reader.”
I read a LOT of history and taught a LOT of history and developed library collections of diverse history books most of which I read and I learned a lot from this book. I have to be honest—some sections were more interesting than others to me because of my unique interests—and this book covers an extensive part of the world in great detail. So it isn’t just Scandinavian history. The Vikings sailed to the Americas long before Christopher Columbus and the book covers that, they settled so many parts of the North Atlantic, they settled in places like Russia and France and England and Ireland and intermarried with those peoples and absorbed their cultures. Did you know the Normans were descended from the Vikings? As in William the Conquerer of 1066 fame? Did you know they fairly rapidly embraced and spread Christianity? If you were a Norse woman during the pagan era, Valhalla was only for men, and infanticide was practiced which made life pretty bleak. Christianity changed all that. The Whittock’s did an amazing job of extensively documenting the book with everything from archaeological evidence to the Norse sagas of the era, and the book will change your stereotypical view of the Vikings.
So if you are interested in the real story of the Vikings—this is the history book for you!
Except from the book:
“Modern historians tend to use the term the “Viking Age” to describe a period which ran from the late eighth century until about 1100. During this period people from Scandinavia first of all raided and then later settled across a wide geographical area, from Russia in the east, to Greenland and the coast of North America in the west. They raided on both sides of the English Channel and then later settled in Normandy, in eastern and northern England, across the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland, and also established a Viking kingdom in Dublin. Vikings colonized Iceland, the Faroe Islands and parts of Greenland. These North Atlantic colonists used both Norway and Ireland as springboards for these particular settlements and modern DNA testing shows that a large proportion of the female genetic heritage in modernday Iceland is Irish-derived (clearly brought there as wives, slaves or both combined). Some Vikings took part in raids which reached Spain and North Africa, while Swedish Vikings explored the eastern Baltic and followed the river systems down into the eastern Mediterranean. This is a staggeringly diverse area and remarkable in its geographical range. In this book we will, at times, extend the final end date of the Viking Age beyond 1100, in order to see how Christianity influenced some Scandinavian Viking societies.”
Thank you publisher Lion Hudson Ltd and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book and for allowing me to review it.
Very good review of the Vikings and their history. It was interesting reading about the conversion from pagan to Christian country by country. This book will be a great reference for other authors writing about this time period.
This was well written, and kept my interest, not easy for nonfiction to do. I learned a lot of "global history" , putting pieces together from different countries that I hadn't connected before, how things affected other areas of the world. I look forward to reading it again with my boys when they are old enough to study the Viking time period.
I was inspired by the impact of the faithful Christians in occupied territories.
📌 I received a copy of the book from @NetGalley and choose to review it here.
Wow! This book is so fascinating ,and it is full of surprising facts. Who knew that they converted to Christianity, despite having a plethora of Gods to choose from in their own culture? I knew they attacked York and Lindisfarne ( Holy Island) and had many settlements in East Anglia, but they travelled to Spain, North Africa and Russia,that's just amazing!!
This book is a mine of information. It mentions key people of those times, plus the many complicated spellings involved, battle timelines, place names, family naming systems and evidence of habitation as seen in Anglo Saxon chronicles, engravings and relics of jewellery, sailing boats and household goods.
This is a well researched textbook, it may be dry and tedious at times, with many pages devoted to endless lists of names and dates. But, it does dispel many myths about this remarkable group of explorers and adventurers, who became known as Vikings.
My knowledge of Vikings has been courtesy of the Last Kingdom novels of Bernard Cornwell, and he is spot on with so many details as confirmed by this excellent book. A book to return to when travelling around the country on holiday, and further information is needed.
The fascination with the Vikings has interested people for ages. The fact that they were so quickly converted to the christian culture leaving a majority of theirs behind, The authors did a wonderful job of tracing the vikings through the ages and provide the information in a concise and informative way. The research was abundant and will done. The book was written in a way that anyone can follow the path of the vikings. They presented more than one side to a theory. This is a very good book and would be a good one for anyone that is researching the history of the Viking era.
I love History and greatly enjoy the chance to learn something new or expand on my learning. Well the extent of my Vikings knowledge is gained from TV; The Vikings and The Last KIngdom. This book really filled in gaps and taught me even more.
Now, the first few pages are dates and names. I'm hopeless at both these things, so they didn't stick, but were interesting to read. And thanks to the aforementioned TV shows I found I actually knew some of the people mentioned.
And then we're off. From the first raid all the way through the Northman's journeys through Europe and through religion. I was fascinating not only to learn, but to hear were preconceive notions have come from. No horned helmets, but a few winged ones.
Overall the book was fascinating and conversational. The author has a comfortable and relaxed tone that makes the information easier to digest
Grab this book for bedside read and finish each day by curling up with a new bit of info about how Northman.
Thank you to Netgalley and Lion Hudson Ltd. for the opportunity to read and review this title.
As a lover of things Scandinavian. I love reading and learning about Vikings as they are part of my bloodline. So this book was very comprehensive in detailing the paths of this culture as it adapted from Paganism to Christianity. I enjoyed this book very much! I voluntarily read this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
An interesting book that focuses on the conversion of "pagan" Viking society to Christian over the course of a few hundred years. Definitely more of a text book approach to the subject than written for the general history loving audience. I found the writing style annoyingly repetitive, with a tendency to summarize the statements the authors made almost immediately after making them. Not necessarily a book the general history lover will enjoy as a 'fun' read, there is still plenty to be gotten out of "The Vikings". I might recommend reading only one chapter at a time to reduce the repetition of information.
While the title may cause one to jump to the conclusion that the book has a religious bent, the truth is not quite so restrictive. Though the authors do talk about the Vikings becoming Christians, this story is more of the backbone of the book rather than a driving focus.
What I found interesting about the book were the many “facts” I had come to accept as true that have no basis in actual history. Authors Martyn Whittock and Hannah Whittock (father and daughter) dispel many myths that have rooted and grown over the years, including the fact that no archaeological dig has ever unearthed those skullcaps with horns we always see in the movies.
This book is a fascinating account of Vikings throughout history as well as their travels around the world. Their exploits took them everywhere, including the Middle East (would you believe the decline of the Middle East brought about a reduction of silver, which provided a reason to why Vikings needed to venture out and find more, although in a more violent fashion than when they traded for it).
The impact of the Vikings upon the world (and the world upon them) provides a different viewpoint, one most of us have probably never experienced before. History buffs as well as those who only possess a mild curiosity about the past should both find this book a good read. Five stars.
I give The Vikings by Martyn and Hannah Whittock 5 stars. This was such a fun and informative read. I loved the way that it was set up, country to country, and how it covered so much without being dense or overdoing the details. I also appreciated that they they were respectful about they’re descriptions.
A Peculiar Perspective of the Vikings!
The title 'The Vikings: From Odin to Christ' was what attracted me to pick up this book. Told from a rare point of view, the book offers surprising facts about the conversion of Viking communities to Christianity. Many thanks to the authors Martyn Whittock & Hannah Whittock for breaking the stereotype of the Vikings and showing their softer side.
The Vikings: From Odin to Christ is a thorough study of the growth and eventual dominance of Christianity in Viking society. I loved the organization of the book - the authors provided the reader with a grounding in Pagan/pre-Christian Viking beliefs and then methodically moved through time and place. The focus on the sweep of Christianity through each Viking country was helpful in showing that Viking is an umbrella term for a disparate group of people and countries.
As I made my way through the book, I found myself returning multiple times to the timeline and list of important people - this information kept me on track, even if it was several days between reading sessions.
The tone of the book is like a textbook, which can make long reading sessions challenging. I found that I got the most out of the book by reading it in bursts of 15 or 20 minutes. The information in the book is valuable and I will refer back to it in the future.
This book was so interesting! It has been a while since I've read any nonfiction and I really enjoyed learning things the movies and other formats have left out.
While the Vikings did a lot of nasty things, they also eventually found Christ - and this book really explores that all the way down to language format and the link between what is publicly "known" about their existence.
It is so intricate and even provides a timeline and name database so the reader doesn't get lost as can keep up with who is being referenced. I really appreciated that info, as I referenced it quite a bit throughout the reading!
You would think that a book on history and Christianity would appeal to me. Add in the fact that I used to live near York, formerly known by the Viking name of Jorvik, and this should be a book I find fascinating. My introduction to the Vikings was through the Jorvik Viking Museum in York, a museum that seemed impressive 30 years ago and even more so when I last visited in 2014. Despite those visits, I wasn’t sure how much I knew about the Vikings before starting this book. It turns out I knew quite a bit but had forgotten it over the years!
The Vikings: From Odin to Christ spans over 500 years of global history. It’s a lot to cover in one book. It starts with a timeline, the names of key people, and a list of terms including Gaelic and Scandinavian words. This is a useful document, particularly when it comes to names. There is more than one person named Olaf in Viking history, and more than one Harald and Sigurd as well. Chapters are divided by region. For example, one chapter is The Christian Vikings of Denmark, while another is Christian Vikings of the North Atlantic. The father and daughter writing duo also try to keep things in chronological order, so the final chapters circle back around to the British Isles and the decline of Viking power and culture.
This was a difficult book to get through. It took me well over a week. Because of the amount to cram in, it isn’t as detailed as I’d hoped. There are no illustrations or photographs, a loss when it comes to the discussion of Viking art and runes. I ended up searching elsewhere for visuals and consequently was often sidetracked. I went on similar searches for information about a couple of places mentioned, including Uppsala in Sweden and Kirkwall in the Orkneys. Because the book focuses on those Norsemen who traveled, it looks only slightly at the inhabitants of the places they visited and conquered. We don’t get much of an idea of how life changed for the ordinary person. I feel each chapter could’ve been a complete book in itself.
It’s also a fairly dry read, reminding me of a textbook. Despite that, there were some interesting stories of individuals such as Cnut, who gets a chapter to himself, and repeat appearances by men such as Harald Finehair and Olaf Tryggvason. I would’ve loved to see in-depth chapters focusing solely on the history of men such as these. I was also reminded that William of Normandy, the Conqueror, was descended from Vikings.
Overall, with the chapters and index, this is more of a reference book rather than one to read straight through. It’s good for showing how some Vikings converted to Christianity due to faith while others did it as a matter of practicality. It’s good to counter the image of pagan warriors in popular media. It’s a good introduction to various Viking personalities. Just don’t go expecting great visuals because you won’t find them.
Disclaimer: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a review, and the words above are my own.
I love this if only for the references at the front, SUCH a good resource and I enjoyed reading about the history that's not always available in quick searches online.
If you are familiar with the image of Vikings as portrayed in modern movies and culture, this book will paint a completely different and more historically accurate picture. It traces the progression of Christianity through the geographical areas that we consider to be Viking territory. Viking, as the authors point out, is a term that more accurately describes an action than a people, even though we tend to see it as the latter these days.
The book is nicely divided into chapters that show how the Christian transformation of Viking territory was not one simple movement. It was particular to each region, based a lot on the area’s history and the social context. The authors present both analysis and excerpts from old sagas. I appreciated that they included a very detailed list of names, definitions, and notes that I would recommend you bookmark so you can turn back to it as you follow the complex histories of these lands. I also appreciated that the authors took a neutral stance on paganism versus Christianity. The book is a nonprejudiced, non-demonizing, balanced look at how the societies changed with the coming of Christianity.
If you have any interest whatsoever in Viking history, you will find this book about their Christian age to be a fascinating and in-depth one.
Interesting History book on how the Vikings became Christian. Its not something that's usually written about, as there seems to be a strong prejudice against associating Christianity with anything to do with the Vikings.
This is inaccurate and frankly bordering on xenophobic. There were, the author demonstrates, a number of prominent figures in Scandinavian history who were proudly Christian, and were still 'Vikings'. Warriors and adventurers including King Olaf of Norway, King Cnut, and Gudrid 'the Far Traveler' who was one of a group of Vikings to traveled to the New world.
This book explores how and why this conversion happened in various regions, from Scandinavia to the Western Isles of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, which were also important areas of Norse settlement.
The author makes good use of archeological evidence, artifacts, and some contemporary written sources to support the narrative.
One aspect that I found interesting was the reasons why Viking women might have converted to Christianity. Its recently been claimed that pagan Viking women had it better than anyone else in Europe at this time: I for one find this claim hard to believe. As Mr Whittock demonstrates, not all women in Scandinavia were freeborn shield maidens.
Many were slaves: yes the Vikings were major slave-traders. Some were taken from their homelands as wives or companions to settlers of new lands. Many came from Ireland and may already have been Christian, providing the impetus for later conversion.
There was also a darker side: with evidence that the Vikings practiced infanticide though exposure of unwanted babies, and that this may have been more common with female children. Christianity expressly forbade such practices, and as such gave women more hope for survival in the present life, and a better afterlife than the one promised in Norse Paganism (nobody seems to have been sure whether women could enter the legendary Valhalla).
Overall, this was an interesting and worthwhile book that may help dispel some of the myths about the Vikings. The author does not pull any punches, or engage in any revisionist exoneration of the Vikings by trying to convince us that they were really not that bad. Nor are they painted as total villains.
This is not a dry and boring history book though: the chapters are pretty short and concise, following a roughly chronological timeline, and it makes for an easy read.
Thanks to Lion Hudson approving me for this title on Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
The forgotten story of the ‘Christian Vikings’.
The popular image of the Vikings is that of tall red-headed warriors with longships, worshiping Odin & Thor and ransacking every kingdom in their path. But the violent Vikings of the 8th century became the pious Christians of the 11th century. So how did this radical transformation happen, and why? This book is a fascinating account of Vikings throughout history as well as their travels around the world.
The Vikings: From Odin to Christ focuses on the brief period of history from the 8th century to 11th century detailing how Vikings were converted to Christianity from their Pagan religion. The authors detail how and where these people settled, the politics involved, and what archaeological evidence we have for their conversions.
This book focuses specifically on the religious conversion of the Vikings, i.e. how and why this conversion happened in various regions, from Scandinavia to the Western Isles of Scotland and even Russia. The author makes good use of archeological evidence, artifacts, and some contemporary written sources to support the narrative.
If you want to read more about the early Vikings and Odin & Thor, this book is not for you. Also if you are a casual reader, you may sometimes find the narrative difficult to follow as the book lists out dry facts instead of an engaging narrative that would help the reader follow along. The chapters are arranged country wise, which helps to know the specific history of the region. The level of detail and research in this book is top notch.
Overall, this was an interesting and worthwhile book that may help dispel some of the myths about the Vikings. The author tries to paint a realistic picture of the Vikings without trying to paint them as heroes or villains. If you are interested in the religious history of the Vikings, this book may interest you. Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Many thanks to the publishers Lion Books, the authors Martyn Whittock and Hannah Whittock and NetGalley for the ARC.
*Many thanks to the Authors. Lion Hudson Tld and Netgalley for providing me with arc in exchange for my honest review.*
The Authors wrote an interesting book based on thorough research on the Vikings. Knowing almost nothing about them, I found this non-fiction stimulating and most informative. The only complaint I could make is that it was not easy to follow for me as there are facts given in a journalistic language which often does not allow for a narration that makes a read more accessible to an average reader like myself who has no factual background to support reading.
While not a light non-fiction read it was certainly very interesting and captivating. I read this over the past month while travelling around Iceland and over to Norway and then on to all the other Scandinavian countries around the Baltic Sea. What a journey that was and this book enable me to develop a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of these areas and its people.
Thank you to Netgalley and publisher Lion Hudson Ltd for a copy to read and review.
Interesting book on the Vikings and their history. There is a lot of information to take in so its taken a while to read, but I've certainly learnt that the way the Vikings have been portrayed in the past isn't wholly accurate and that even the term Viking is a modern invention rather than a word used when they invaded our shores!
Plenty of names and events that I recognise from having watched the TV drama series in the History Channel. My OH likes books on this subject so its certainly something I would consider buying him in the future.
I received this book from netgalley in return for a honest review.
Our knowledge of the Vikings has expanded excitingly in recent years. Once thought of as pillaging, raping pagans they are now recognised as much more sophisticated and complex. As the book title suggests their era which extended over hundreds of years encompasses Christianity, commerce and political negotiations. This well researched book adds much to the field, not necessarily fresh primary material but interweaving new discoveries and approaches to the topic. Well worth consulting and using as a core course book.
I started reading this book in an e-book format and did like what I read so far. However, because of the type of reader I am (I like to constantly refer to maps, lists of characters, timelines, glossary, etc) I found myself constantly scrolling back to the beginning, an e-book wasn't working for me. So, I bought a physical copy of this book and will finish reading it that way.
This book by the Whittocks was interesting. It talked about how the Vikings forced the conversion of people from Paganism to Christianity and the time period that it happened.
I would recommend this book to people interested in the vikings or pagan conversion.
Slightly heavy going even though I am an easy reader, meaning I plough through most things. A lot of the information has already been published but I enjoyed it and if you've little knowledge of the subject then it is worth reading.
Interesting and relevant . I watch most all Viking history programs on the TV. I was curious as to how much of what I am seeing is true or just kind of true. Alfter reading this book I have a better idea about Viking life and religion. Well writen and down to earth style.
Vikings have often been misportrayed in history. Unfortunately, they were given a bad rap - instead of focusing on who they really were.
This book takes a great look at the real history of the Vikings, and who they were and how they lived. I really enjoyed reading this one. It is full of great facts and information, giving the reader the ins and outs, leaving room for more research in the future.
Check it out!
Great non-fiction title, with interesting information!
I even found this useful for my university essay on Vikings, even though I'd picked it just to have some context to the topic, and it's well written. Nicely structured, if a little heavy, but many of the best non-fiction are densely packed.
8/10, definitely recommend this book, especially to those with an interest in true history and mythology
Vikings history is not well known at all. The Vikings traveled the.world but we tend to forget about them. I dived into this book and eat it up. It kept me going to the point I didn’t want to put it down and need to knock more about them. Loved every piece of this book.
I went into this book not knowing much about Vikings but was greatly surprised by just how much research the authors did.
This was highly informative and very detailed my only critique was that I had to keep going back to the beginning to look at the maps and list of people.
Many thanks to Netgalley for this ARC all views are my own.
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