website statistics The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World

Availability: Ready to download

“An absorbing and humane account . . . Mr. Herman is at pains to remind us that the Viking world was never just a stage for mayhem. It was, he says, ‘about daring to reach for more than the universe had gifted you, no matter the odds and the obstacles.’ In short: We might all take our own life’s cue from the Viking heart.”—The Wall Street Journal From a New York Times best- “An absorbing and humane account . . . Mr. Herman is at pains to remind us that the Viking world was never just a stage for mayhem. It was, he says, ‘about daring to reach for more than the universe had gifted you, no matter the odds and the obstacles.’ In short: We might all take our own life’s cue from the Viking heart.”—The Wall Street Journal From a New York Times best-selling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist, a sweeping epic of how the Vikings and their descendants have shaped history and America Scandinavia has always been a world apart. For millennia Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes lived a remote and rugged existence among the fjords and peaks of the land of the midnight sun. But when they finally left their homeland in search of opportunity, these wanderers—including the most famous, the Vikings—would reshape Europe and beyond. Their ingenuity, daring, resiliency, and loyalty to family and community would propel them to the gates of Rome, the steppes of Russia, the courts of Constantinople, and the castles of England and Ireland. But nowhere would they leave a deeper mark than across the Atlantic, where the Vikings’ legacy would become the American Dream. In The Viking Heart, Arthur Herman melds a compelling historical narrative with cutting-edge archaeological and DNA research to trace the epic story of this remarkable and diverse people. He shows how the Scandinavian experience has universal meaning, and how we can still be inspired by their indomitable spirit.


Compare

“An absorbing and humane account . . . Mr. Herman is at pains to remind us that the Viking world was never just a stage for mayhem. It was, he says, ‘about daring to reach for more than the universe had gifted you, no matter the odds and the obstacles.’ In short: We might all take our own life’s cue from the Viking heart.”—The Wall Street Journal From a New York Times best- “An absorbing and humane account . . . Mr. Herman is at pains to remind us that the Viking world was never just a stage for mayhem. It was, he says, ‘about daring to reach for more than the universe had gifted you, no matter the odds and the obstacles.’ In short: We might all take our own life’s cue from the Viking heart.”—The Wall Street Journal From a New York Times best-selling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist, a sweeping epic of how the Vikings and their descendants have shaped history and America Scandinavia has always been a world apart. For millennia Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes lived a remote and rugged existence among the fjords and peaks of the land of the midnight sun. But when they finally left their homeland in search of opportunity, these wanderers—including the most famous, the Vikings—would reshape Europe and beyond. Their ingenuity, daring, resiliency, and loyalty to family and community would propel them to the gates of Rome, the steppes of Russia, the courts of Constantinople, and the castles of England and Ireland. But nowhere would they leave a deeper mark than across the Atlantic, where the Vikings’ legacy would become the American Dream. In The Viking Heart, Arthur Herman melds a compelling historical narrative with cutting-edge archaeological and DNA research to trace the epic story of this remarkable and diverse people. He shows how the Scandinavian experience has universal meaning, and how we can still be inspired by their indomitable spirit.

30 review for The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I received a copy for free in exchange for an honest review; my thanks to NetGalley and the author! A well-written and exciting theorem on how the Vikings and the Norse peoples have influenced world affairs since bursting onto the scene post-Western Roman Empire. The author goes to great lengths, sometimes a bit too great for my tastes, to prove his ideas, some of which I question. Hard to fault this book though, it is incredibly readable and digestible as a history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    This non-fiction book is a bit of a departure for me. A lot of my friends are into historical fiction but the WWII books don’t interest me that much so why not read about Vikings? This was a pretty decent introduction to all things Viking. The author couched his narrative in terms of the Viking heart - their strength, resilience, loyalty all that good stuff because, as it turns out, they is no racial purity that can be ascribed to them. Poor old Hitler got it wrong with the idea of Aryan superior This non-fiction book is a bit of a departure for me. A lot of my friends are into historical fiction but the WWII books don’t interest me that much so why not read about Vikings? This was a pretty decent introduction to all things Viking. The author couched his narrative in terms of the Viking heart - their strength, resilience, loyalty all that good stuff because, as it turns out, they is no racial purity that can be ascribed to them. Poor old Hitler got it wrong with the idea of Aryan superiority, the Vikings were very much a mixture of peoples. Yes, they were fearsome warriors but they were also farmers and community minded. After winning territory with their raids they settled on the land and inter-married with the locals. What did surprise me was the reach of their expeditions. I hadn’t realised they had gotten to the Middle East and almost made it to China! Anyway, the book covers a huge amount of information, far too much to summarise here but, as I said, it’s a very decent accounting of the whole Viking story. It does focus later on the impact they had on America which might be more interesting to American readers. I do recommend the book however to anyone who wants to know about these very interesting people. Many thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley for the much appreciated ARC which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janine

    In the beginning, I thought that this book may have been a bit above my pay grade. I was really interested in learning more about Viking history, but my knowledge of history is a bit shaky. I definitely learned a lot from this book, but I felt like I was struggling to keep up at times in the beginninf. The book moved fairly quickly through all the conquests and sieges, passing from one king to another from different places. I definitely didn't have a sufficient basic knowledge to follow along al In the beginning, I thought that this book may have been a bit above my pay grade. I was really interested in learning more about Viking history, but my knowledge of history is a bit shaky. I definitely learned a lot from this book, but I felt like I was struggling to keep up at times in the beginninf. The book moved fairly quickly through all the conquests and sieges, passing from one king to another from different places. I definitely didn't have a sufficient basic knowledge to follow along all the time. I kind of had expected that this part of history would have made up the bulk of the book since that was the actual Vikings. I was surprised that the bulk of the book was more modern history on people from Scandinavia.  The pace of the book did slow down significantly when it got to the more modern history sections. I did find it interesting how the author would comment on information obtained from sagas and certain contemporary written accounts and then discuss why that version of events was not likely to be accurate. For someone more astute on the subject, I'm sure this was probably much more valuable. For a novice like myself, I wouldn't have known the difference, but I did appreciate that the author included these different perspectives. I also appreciated when he simply said that we couldn't know for certain what happened in some cases. I feel like sometimes in nonfiction works, authors present everything like black and white when it isn't quite that easy. I found it distracting that he kept talking about his family members and labeling them as such. It would've been one thing to mention it once, but to go back a few chapters later and reduce the captain of a regiment in the Civil War to the person who led your great-great-grandfather was weird to me. Mentioning the regiment should've been sufficient to remind the reader who you were talking about since there was considerable time spent on them. It was also a little off-putting when he would mention his ancestor by name in one paragraph (where the individual was also expressly referenced as an ancestor) and then the next paragraph would reference the writings of another Scandinavian immigrant whose name was not even important enough to mention. I struggle to believe the author's ancestors were historically significant enough to the common reader to mention them each by name (and reduce other more historically significant individuals to their relationship to the author's ancestors), but these other immigrants don't warrant the same respect and dignity. It was even more distracting when the commentary was limited to opinion, for example, his grandmother's prejudice against Catholics. I understand being proud of your heritage and ancestry, but this didn't feel like the right time/place for genetic cheerleading, especially when the information is irrelevant outside of your own family. Although bragging about your grandma's prejudice is a weird flex unto itself. In the same vein, it was weird and distracting for him to brag about when he first read Lindbergh's memoir. These weird personal anecdotes are not why I wanted to read this book, and they have no place in it. They are more suited to private discussions with family and friends. In general, the book was enjoyable and informative. It isn't quite what I expected it to be. When the premise is how Vikinga conquered the world, I expected there to be more of a focus on the actual Vikings rather than their descendants. There was definitely a lot more of what I would consider modern American history involved in this book than I ever expected.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. Arthur Herman explores Scandinavian culture, history, and its worldwide effects in The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World. As the publisher puts it, he “melds a compelling historical narrative with cutting-edge archaeological and DNA research to trace the epic story of this remarkable and diverse people.” For me, the book seemed about 80% history with repeated detailed battle descriptions. The archaeological and DNA aspect Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. Arthur Herman explores Scandinavian culture, history, and its worldwide effects in The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World. As the publisher puts it, he “melds a compelling historical narrative with cutting-edge archaeological and DNA research to trace the epic story of this remarkable and diverse people.” For me, the book seemed about 80% history with repeated detailed battle descriptions. The archaeological and DNA aspects are just a minor part of the whole. Herman also reviews the accomplishments of multiple Scandinavians and Americans of Scandinavian ancestry. Herman covers broad territory here, in terms of both content and location. He details Viking leaders through the centuries, both successful and failed. There’s also a small amount about Viking women, both leaders and not. But fundamentally, this book is about the exploits of Scandinavian men from early days until the present. It’s a lot to cram into just under 500 pages. Of course, Herman includes the wide-ranging efforts of Viking warriors as they ventured into Europe and even into Asia. It’s clear that these efforts affected nearly every culture reachable by the longships. And, as someone with considerable Norwegian DNA, it interests me to see how men from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and territories now known as Finland left their DNA in practically every place my ancestors lived. Modern Scandinavians Herman also discusses the impact of more modern men from the traditional Viking countries. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these men battled against evil forces. Except when they were the bad guys. They were captains of industry and philanthropists. Also, they were regular guys working hard to make their small farms successful. On the other hand, they created explosives and fed the Nazis ideas about Scandinavian / Aryan perfection myths. Each Scandinavian country responded to the times with their own style of changes. Their politics and economics have their roots in what Herman calls “the Viking Heart.” This idea crossed the Atlantic Ocean to America in the early 1800s, creating cities whose population was majority Scandinavian. And Herman explores it all, in large or small part. My conclusions The best part of this book is its diverse subject matter. Unfortunately, that’s also the worst part. Herman literally covers thousands of years of history. That means some sections just aren’t long enough. On the other hand, Herman is immensely excited by the strategy behind every single Viking battle. I confess to skimming these sections. Viking book always cover the battles. Frankly, it’s just a part of the culture. But I was hoping for more depth on other meaningful topics like religion, culture, and lifestyle. Herman does address all of those, but they make up a smaller, somewhat rushed, percentage of the book. Yet, every significant period is covered. So, for example, Herman addresses religion through the years. He talks about Old Norse gods and religious practices in places like Upsalla. And he discusses the Scandinavian relationship with both the Catholic and Lutheran Churches. Yet, there’s not enough depth on any of these topics, which frustrated me. And the same thing happens with discussions of art and literature. In Herman’s previous books, he clearly focused on histories about war. I just didn’t look closely enough before agreeing to read and review this book. That’s on me, not him. Still, it makes me hungry to pair this book with a relisten to Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. Or to pull a couple of unread books off my shelf about Norwegian American women. Stay tuned! Acknowledgements Many thanks to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / Mariner Books, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review. Publication date: 3 August 2021

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    A lay narration of the history of Scandinavia and its influence on the world. The author is very much personally invested in the narrative of the Scandinavians as having a particular kind of dedication to the common good and a robust work ethic developing out of their experience living in a very difficult land. Thus the entire work is an apologetic for the Scandinavians. Not much is made of Scandinavians before the Vikings break out on the scene in the latter part of the eighth century. The author A lay narration of the history of Scandinavia and its influence on the world. The author is very much personally invested in the narrative of the Scandinavians as having a particular kind of dedication to the common good and a robust work ethic developing out of their experience living in a very difficult land. Thus the entire work is an apologetic for the Scandinavians. Not much is made of Scandinavians before the Vikings break out on the scene in the latter part of the eighth century. The author explores what is known of them from the historical narrative and archaeological findings. He traces their journeys throughout Europe and western Asia and how they profoundly shaped the Europe of the time. We learn of their travels to Iceland, Greenland, and North America. The author then glazes over most of medieval and early modern history with the concession that Scandinavia was generally weak. Much is made of the Reformation and especially Gustavus Adolphus. Then there's a really almost patronizingly dismissive account of early modern Scandinavia which seems to mostly reinforce why so many Scandinavians moved to America. Much is then made of Scandinavian influence in America and on WWII. Does the author show that the Scandinavians are a hardy people and have their positive contributions to Europe and the world? Yes. Does he massively overstate "the Viking heart" in an understandable but ultimately misguided quest to exalt his ancestors? Absolutely. He does well at condemning the white supremacist embrace of all things Viking and Nordic, but his own quest falls prey to its own kind of chauvinism and essentialism. Probably nothing in here you couldn't learn from a slightly more academic yet accessible introduction to Scandinavia, and hopefully without the agenda. **--galley received as part of early review program

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Excellent depth. Wide subject lens to about 1500 years of Scandinavian history. But as most history books- it's a cast of millions. Each with place or era biography. Making it a truly heavy read. Plague changed as much as did massive migrations. Very interesting. Agree too that it was a world of their own. Apart. Excellent depth. Wide subject lens to about 1500 years of Scandinavian history. But as most history books- it's a cast of millions. Each with place or era biography. Making it a truly heavy read. Plague changed as much as did massive migrations. Very interesting. Agree too that it was a world of their own. Apart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want an entertaining general overview of Scandinavian history in both Europe and the United States. If you're very familiar with Scandinavian history, this might be too generalist for you. However, I've read very few books about Vikings and Scandinavian history, so I was quite entertained. Although dark aspects of Viking/Scandinavian history are touched upon (slavery, colonization, etc), this is very much a pro-Scandinavian read. Not a particulaly deep dive, but quite enlightening fo Read if you: Want an entertaining general overview of Scandinavian history in both Europe and the United States. If you're very familiar with Scandinavian history, this might be too generalist for you. However, I've read very few books about Vikings and Scandinavian history, so I was quite entertained. Although dark aspects of Viking/Scandinavian history are touched upon (slavery, colonization, etc), this is very much a pro-Scandinavian read. Not a particulaly deep dive, but quite enlightening for the general reader. Librarians/booksellers: If previous books about Vikings/Scandinavia have been popular, purchase this one for readers who may be interested, but find those books too daunting. Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This was a fascinating accounting of the Scandinavian people, their history, and contributions to society and culture. Dealing primarily with Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden history this book also touches heavily on Scandinavian American influence upon their arrival. Not exactly what I was expecting, and wanted more depth to the characters of history at times, but overall a rewarding reading experience and an excellent rebuttal to misappropriation of a culture leading to racist beliefs. Tha This was a fascinating accounting of the Scandinavian people, their history, and contributions to society and culture. Dealing primarily with Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden history this book also touches heavily on Scandinavian American influence upon their arrival. Not exactly what I was expecting, and wanted more depth to the characters of history at times, but overall a rewarding reading experience and an excellent rebuttal to misappropriation of a culture leading to racist beliefs. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this drc available through netgalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Munro

    very interesting and very well written. I was surprised to see it brought foward until the 19th 20th and 21st century. A good book to learn about Scandinavian history and heritage

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bagus

    In a tone that mixes historical saga with socio-cultural history, Arthur Herman brings an attempt to revisit the history of the Vikings and encounter what he terms as the Viking heart. He argues that the Vikings contributed so much to historical legacies in Europe, Asia, and America in so many ways that are previously unrecognised, through ideas, trades, etc. In his opinion, it was wrong to see the Vikings as a one-act drama of a barbaric tribe who lived by raids and voyages to neighbouring area In a tone that mixes historical saga with socio-cultural history, Arthur Herman brings an attempt to revisit the history of the Vikings and encounter what he terms as the Viking heart. He argues that the Vikings contributed so much to historical legacies in Europe, Asia, and America in so many ways that are previously unrecognised, through ideas, trades, etc. In his opinion, it was wrong to see the Vikings as a one-act drama of a barbaric tribe who lived by raids and voyages to neighbouring areas in Europe, before conveniently disappeared after the advent of Christianity in Scandinavia. Herman traces the legacies of the Vikings in no way ever attempted before, from the raid of the church in Lindisfarne in the 9th century into modern Scandinavia. A common image of the Vikings is that they were barbarians who believed in paganism and plundered over other civilisations in Europe with little respect for the sanctity of Christian rites and artefacts, as shown through the infamous raid of Lindisfarne. Yet it’s this image that Herman tries to challenge by portraying the Vikings, or in other words, Old Norsemen in a rather different light through some recent findings in DNA research and archaeological excavations of the old Viking’s settlements. He provides an interesting introduction to the socio-cultural history of the Vikings through these recent findings, that they indeed valued courage in battle, loyalty, and leadership through example rather than birth or status, yet they were still peace-loving tribes who found comfort through dedication to one’s community and lived mainly by farming and trade, as opposed to their barbaric depictions. There are frequent episodes in this historical saga in which Herman would describe the influence of the Vikings in shaping Medieval Europe, such as the rule of Rurik and his successors in shaping Novgorod and Kievan Rus that will, in turn, shape the history of Eastern Europe as the first Emperor unifying Russia, and also the Norman Conquest of England which will shape the history of England and continental Europe in the years to come. Interestingly, Herman also takes some cues of Christianisation of Scandinavia not as the end of the Viking age, yet as a way to connect the legacies of the Vikings into modern Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland that continues to thrive as ‘the Viking heart’. During the Medieval era, the Nordic countries also became the ground for the Lutheran doctrine to flourish with its compatible philosophy that the sociologist Max Weber said as: “the valuation of the fulfilment of duty in worldly affairs as the highest form which the moral activity of the individual could assume.” I can see where Arthur Herman came from, seeing how the legacies of the Vikings are still pretty much present in our day-to-day life, from the depictions of Viking’s characters and gods in various popular culture, films, video games, literature, etc, with probably inspired him to retrace the history of the Vikings through his idea of ‘the Viking heart’. The world is, indeed, owing so much of our progress to Scandinavian people. Their contributions are by no means minimum, we could cite names such as Alfred Nobel, Charles Lindbergh, Frijthof Nansen, etc, as people who have contributed so much to human history. Scandinavian way of life, home interior and furniture has now become the ideal of a good household to many people in our age. The first half of the book is interesting, especially how Arthur Herman could connect the legacies of the Vikings with the thriving of Lutheran ethics. However, in some sense, the narrative seems to be exploited to invoke the feeling that the world owed so much progress to the Vikings and their descendants both in Europe and America. The facts being presented here are outstanding, however, I could not stomach the idea that history progressed solely by the role Scandinavians played in it, rather they are one of the important equations in this continuous saga. Arthur Herman says that the Nazis exploited the Nordic myth into their own agenda and misinterpreted it to invent the myth about the master Aryan race in Europe. However, I also sensed a concealed chauvinist message in this book’s narrative, especially when it touches upon the subject of Scandinavian’s roles in shaping the United States’ society and countering Nazi Germany during World War II, which leaves this book with contradictory stances. Although, I'd praise Arthur Herman's meticulous research that is really eye-opening about the legacies of the Vikings.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard Becker

    The Viking Heart is a compelling story of discovery, conquest, and history as it unravels the exhaustive role Scandinvanians helped shape and influence the world today. It begins with the fierce raiders in the 8th century and tracks them into the modern times, specifically economic structures developed after World War II. Herman accomplishes this task in two ways — sweeping histories that follow the Vikings from the shores of the supposedly undiscovered Americas to the northern reaches of Africa The Viking Heart is a compelling story of discovery, conquest, and history as it unravels the exhaustive role Scandinvanians helped shape and influence the world today. It begins with the fierce raiders in the 8th century and tracks them into the modern times, specifically economic structures developed after World War II. Herman accomplishes this task in two ways — sweeping histories that follow the Vikings from the shores of the supposedly undiscovered Americas to the northern reaches of Africa by way of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, and miniature individual biographies of men and women who were the heroes of other countries but also of Scandinavian descent (mainly from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland but sometimes from Germany, France, England, and even Russia). I was more a fan of the former treatments than the latter, feeling that Herman sometimes overreaches to claim people who may or may not have identified with their Viking ancestors. Case in point, Herman invests considerable time with Charles Lindbergh as Lindbergh was the son of a Swedish immigrant. And yet, Lindbergh was chiefly American (and somewhat German if we count a double life that resulted in seven more children with three different women between 58 and 67). So while the account fits, it doesn't distinguish (nor can it) which influences Lindberg may be inherited from a Norse connection and which from being raised in Melrose, Minn. Lindberg isn't alone. Still, he is identifiable enough to wonder whether someone someday will line me up as a Native American, German, or any other DNA traces I possess. Nay, for me, the Viking story plays out better on a grand scale. Knowing about their conquests and their ability to assimilate to other cultures is enough. Whether Rus or Norman or Scott or German, the case is made without cherry-picking a few solo actors from history to drive the point home. But then again, doing so is part of Herman's motivation at times, especially when he paints the Scandinavian heart as especially socialistic while neglecting the Norse need to leave an individual (not just societal) legacy. Ergo, they are among several countries that have measured their society by the individuals they have produced. Aside from those two ramblings — claims on individuals and praise of socialism — that would have shortened the work, the balance of the book is exciting and enlightening. All too often, modern entertainment paints Vikings are rugged berserkers when, in fact, they were also intuitive, inventive, and well ahead of the world in terms of law, exploration, and gender equality. And this is what makes The Viking Heart such a strong read overall. It's fun to consider just how influential Vikings were to the world we live in today. Ideal for history buffs and anyone interested in Vikings, this is a story of a people who are often fearless in their quest for freedom. Readers won't look at Vikings the same way again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Harris

    An engaging history of the Viking Age and Scandinavian immigration to the United States, ending with the Second World War. The author brings together centuries of history in a readable style and includes short biographies of famous and lesser known Scandinavians and Scandinavian Americans in the text. The focus on immigration to the United States, however, means that Scandinavians in other regions of the world outside Europe and the United States are barely mentioned at all. There is a brief dis An engaging history of the Viking Age and Scandinavian immigration to the United States, ending with the Second World War. The author brings together centuries of history in a readable style and includes short biographies of famous and lesser known Scandinavians and Scandinavian Americans in the text. The focus on immigration to the United States, however, means that Scandinavians in other regions of the world outside Europe and the United States are barely mentioned at all. There is a brief discussion of immigration restrictions in the United States in the early 20th century but no analysis of how these restrictions in the United States resulted in increased Scandinavian immigration to Canada. The author also makes some very broad generalizations about Scandinavian culture that would have benefited from more nuance as he is writing about multiple countries over the course of a millennium. An engaging read but should be read alongside other books about Nordic history

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Vast history from the “stone age” to modern times for the people who lived in Scandinavia. The years from mid-1850s-modern times really focus on Scandinavian immigration to the United States. Definitely the focused readership is for descendants of these immigrants.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    Once we get up to the 1600s my interest began to wane, and that’s nothing that has to do with the author. I really just find the modern world less interesting.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    What do you think when you hear the word Vikings? A football team. This book isn’t about the football team, It tells in part about the original people that were called Vikings due to their strength, fighting expertise and more. The countries they came from were Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. It was due to the people who knew how to survive in such hard areas. They traveled to Europe and east Eurasia. They even visited the Romans who at first didn’t realize who the Vikings were. The Vikings What do you think when you hear the word Vikings? A football team. This book isn’t about the football team, It tells in part about the original people that were called Vikings due to their strength, fighting expertise and more. The countries they came from were Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. It was due to the people who knew how to survive in such hard areas. They traveled to Europe and east Eurasia. They even visited the Romans who at first didn’t realize who the Vikings were. The Vikings then became traders and finally settlers. The history is amazing. When they started immigrating to the United States, they did so due to population growth and poverty. The author goes on to give the important contributions given to The United States. He also gives information on how “Vikings” (Scandinavians) contributed to the Civil War. There are also biographies of famous Scandinavian Americans. According to the authors, Scandinavian nations became some of the worlds wealthiest besides becoming more socially progressive. Though this is an excellent book, this is only the beginning of the unknown history of Scandinavia. I enjoyed reading it especially about the contributions and the biographies. If you are a Scandinavian American, this is an excellent book to read and enjoy. Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I wasn’t obligated to write a favorable review or any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marinn

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from Goodreads. This was also my first dive into Scandinavian history and culture beyond the smattering of offerings in high school world history, so my knowledge of historical accuracy is limited at best. That being said, Herman offered a thorough overview of Scandinavian history and world influence rooted in his own ancestry. While an overview, it provided insight and information I had not previously encountered, and I frequently In the spirit of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from Goodreads. This was also my first dive into Scandinavian history and culture beyond the smattering of offerings in high school world history, so my knowledge of historical accuracy is limited at best. That being said, Herman offered a thorough overview of Scandinavian history and world influence rooted in his own ancestry. While an overview, it provided insight and information I had not previously encountered, and I frequently found myself wanting to know more. I suspect for those more informed on Scandinavia than myself, there will be little that is new, however if, like me, this is relatively new territory, it seems to be an excellent place to begin!

  17. 5 out of 5

    T

    There is an abundance of books about Scandinavian history on the market these days, but this one is, by far, the most expansive. Starting back in prehistory and running through time - giving a solid pause in recounting stories of immigrants to the US and Canada in the 1800s and 1900s - this book feels like it should lose its footing in all the ground it covers. Instead, it does the opposite. Much like the Vikings of the Viking age, this ship stays its course but does seem to hit choppy water onc There is an abundance of books about Scandinavian history on the market these days, but this one is, by far, the most expansive. Starting back in prehistory and running through time - giving a solid pause in recounting stories of immigrants to the US and Canada in the 1800s and 1900s - this book feels like it should lose its footing in all the ground it covers. Instead, it does the opposite. Much like the Vikings of the Viking age, this ship stays its course but does seem to hit choppy water once it reaches the chapters on WWII and [in]famous Scandinavian descendants of the early 1900s. The author leans in too hard on the sanitization of some 1st generation Scandinavians with checkered pasts, namely Lindbergh and Volstead (yes, of that certain prohibitive act). Education, and its importance amongst Scandinavians and their descendants in the US, could be argued as a vital part of the Viking heart. I was disappointed to see very few words about the colleges and universities set up by those of Viking descent here in the US alone. Luther College, a few seminaries, and St. Olaf are mentioned in passing but no words dedicated to the other Scandinavian (and Lutheran) established halls of higher learning. Despite these quibbles, this is a sprawling, fascinating read where little nuggets of info pop up in unusual places (for example, did you know the Thames was once an ancient tributary to the Rhine?) and I found myself highlighting a lot! Recommended. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me e a free copy for review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    This surprised me. I expected history from the distant past. I did not expect the more recent past material that reached even past WWII. The family connections of the author also caught my attention. I have lived near and worked with proud Scandinavian Americans for most of my life. This history helps me understand them better. The connections to the Icelandic Sagas of modern literature was appealing to me as well. A bit slow at points but still well worth my time to read. I will buy my own copy This surprised me. I expected history from the distant past. I did not expect the more recent past material that reached even past WWII. The family connections of the author also caught my attention. I have lived near and worked with proud Scandinavian Americans for most of my life. This history helps me understand them better. The connections to the Icelandic Sagas of modern literature was appealing to me as well. A bit slow at points but still well worth my time to read. I will buy my own copy to read again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    I’d been stalking this book for months before its release, and I swear I shrieked with joy when the publisher sent me a finished hardcover. I so wanted to love this book. Do you sense the but? The writing is dry, giving us more of a college textbook than narrative nonfiction feel. I could’ve lived with that had the content been more engaging, and here’s another but... I was thrown off by the author’s constant need to insert his ancestral history, however tangential, into this story of Vikings. None I’d been stalking this book for months before its release, and I swear I shrieked with joy when the publisher sent me a finished hardcover. I so wanted to love this book. Do you sense the but? The writing is dry, giving us more of a college textbook than narrative nonfiction feel. I could’ve lived with that had the content been more engaging, and here’s another but... I was thrown off by the author’s constant need to insert his ancestral history, however tangential, into this story of Vikings. None of these ancestors were in the least bit relevant to the topic. I was also dumbfounded by the author’s constant, emphatic claims that Christianity saved the Vikings, making them better people. He showed us absolutely no evidence of this because there is no evidence of this. Christianity has just as much violence in its history as any pagan religion. He simply proclaimed this as fact. Consequently, this again felt like nothing more than the author’s bias. This book was a struggle for me to get through. I felt the content was too much of a personal mission for the author to show Vikings in general, and his ancestors specifically, as heroes who saved and shaped humanity. *I received a free copy from Mariner Books .*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 2.5 of 5 Arthur Herman's The Viking Heart is a history book ... well, no, it's a sociology study ... er, it's a personal memoir ... or, rather, it's ... it's a little bit of everything. Including flawed. The subtitle, How Scandinavians Conquered the World, is meant to be quite broad. We don't realize this at first, reading through the early chapters discussing the early Scandinavian explorers - the Vikings. There is some really goo This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 2.5 of 5 Arthur Herman's The Viking Heart is a history book ... well, no, it's a sociology study ... er, it's a personal memoir ... or, rather, it's ... it's a little bit of everything. Including flawed. The subtitle, How Scandinavians Conquered the World, is meant to be quite broad. We don't realize this at first, reading through the early chapters discussing the early Scandinavian explorers - the Vikings. There is some really good, really informative history here about the make-up of the early Vikings (not all one group of people [Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, etc]) and their likely intent on their raids. I should note that I assume this good history. I don't know my Scandinavian history as well as I should. But I think I can recognize fact based on study and data as opposed to supposition. And Herman does a fair amount of supposition based on available facts. I enjoyed the early chapters, detailing the early Viking heart and spirit and travels. Herman makes a good case for their inclusivity (an important aspect of his book, which I get to a little more in just a little bit) but at its core, I can't help but feel Herman wants these people to be more inclusive than history actually suggests. As the book progresses toward modern times (early 20th century on through World War II), the book becomes much more lackluster. Here Herman begins reaching, trying to associate the Viking spirit ('the Viking heart') of the early raiders/explorers to the behavior of some familiar Scandinavian names in history. What prompted Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic was the same spirit that had the early Vikings sail unchartered waters to raid new lands. Right? What prompted Raoul Wallenberg to save hundreds of thousands of Jews in Hungary was the same Viking heart that had the Viking raiders taking slaves to ... erm ... well, there's a connection there somewhere. The general idea of comparing modern Scandinavians and their good deeds to ancient and medieval Scandinavians is fine, if it works, but Herman spends a great deal of time on unnecessary adiaphora. We really don't need so much time on Lindbergh and his anti-Semitic comments or his pro-Nazi beliefs. It's almost as though Herman is countering his own arguments about the Viking heart. We also get Herman writing a good deal about his own ancestry. Some general comparisons might be fine, but the author goes on too much, ignoring more generally known historical figures in favor of family. Before I address the last issue, I want to be clear on one aspect... Arthur Herman and I are generally cut from the same cloth. We both come from strong Scandinavian backgrounds. We both grew up and were educated in similar fashions. Bottom line, we're both middle-aged-to-old white guys with Scandinavian ancestors. Early on, Herman makes some very general statements that show a clear favorable bias toward the early Scandinavians ("After acting as a largely destructive and disruptive force for two centuries, the Norsemen suddenly pivoted and became a galvanizing presence in European civilization. They helped shake Europe out of its Dark Age malaise, finding innovative ways to transmit ancient Greek and Arab knowledge and science to the West, while expanding and fortifying the boundaries of Christendom, thereby laying the foundations of the medieval West.") so we know to take a lot of what he writes with a grain of salt and we can see that sometimes he is really reaching to make a point or a connection. My biggest issue, however, is a point he tries to make about how the Viking heart prompts a work ethic to be envied. I don't necessarily disagree, but his rationale for making this point is a real slap in the face to our current culture. He writes: As the sociologist Nima Sanandaji has put it, "High levels of trust, a strong work ethic, and social cohesion are the perfect starting-point for successful economies. They are also the cornerstones of fruitful social demographic welfare policies." What's striking, in fact, is how powerfully those same bonds can be seen at work among Scandinavia's offspring in the United States. He goes on to show how not only have Scandinavian Americans done well, but "when we look at the experience of Scandinavian Americans, we see a substantial difference in their economic performance and status that simply living in the United States can't explain." Well, of course he does explain it, in his own bias: "...the right cultural ingredients, plus the kind of environment in which the qualities of the Viking heart can flourish, add up to a powerful socioeconomic advantage." What he never addresses is to me the most obvious of factors. White privilege. While he writes briefly of how the Nazis assumed the Scandinavians would agree with their Aryan race ideas and how the misguided white supremacists have errantly taken to Viking culture for their beliefs, he fails to comment that simply by being a white man in America has contributed to the socioeconomic advantage. We don't have to be actively or consciously taking advantage of this for it to be there. I'd argue that many cultures and many races have work ethics as strong or even stronger than the early Vikings, but the shade of the skin has had a strong contributing factor in how they are seen, historically and still today. Looking for a good book? The Viking Heart by Arthur Herman has some interesting ideas but the author fails to truly make the strong case for his theories. The history in the early pages is worth reading, but the theories later, mixed with personal ancestry, should be skipped. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kjirstine

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Like the author, I am also descended from Scandinavian-Americans. In the chapters about emigration, my great-grandparents stories came into focus and context. I had been unaware of the roles of Scandinavians throughout history and particularly, their contributions to the United States. The author's presentation of "The Viking Heart" feels balanced and kind. He is respectful of those who have gone before, honest in his mentions of the uglier chapters in Scandinavian I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Like the author, I am also descended from Scandinavian-Americans. In the chapters about emigration, my great-grandparents stories came into focus and context. I had been unaware of the roles of Scandinavians throughout history and particularly, their contributions to the United States. The author's presentation of "The Viking Heart" feels balanced and kind. He is respectful of those who have gone before, honest in his mentions of the uglier chapters in Scandinavian history, and did not give any impression of superiority, just a celebration of the good things to be found in the Scandinavian mindset. The book felt like a comfortable conversation a well educated friend. I definitely recommend.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara Laor

    Despite the hefty tome, there is not a lot of information here. The latter half of the book focuses on individuals, many of them modern. There is very little depth in the mythological, religious or archaeological facts presented. You can safely skip this one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    3 1/2 stars. Herman has written an interesting, solid history, including information from archaeology, the sagas, and DNA about the Vikings that shows their complexities but is also accessible to people who are unfamiliar with Norse history or frankly usually uninterested in history. He goes beyond that to follow Scandinavia through the centuries down to the modern times but not in as much depth. Instead, he highlights the times when Scandinavia was important to “saving” Catholic and later Prote 3 1/2 stars. Herman has written an interesting, solid history, including information from archaeology, the sagas, and DNA about the Vikings that shows their complexities but is also accessible to people who are unfamiliar with Norse history or frankly usually uninterested in history. He goes beyond that to follow Scandinavia through the centuries down to the modern times but not in as much depth. Instead, he highlights the times when Scandinavia was important to “saving” Catholic and later Protestant Europe as well as providing a conduit for Arab knowledge that would help transform medieval Europe into the Renaissance. The most surprising aspect of this book is the history of the impact of Scandinavians on American history. Not only is there discussion about the colonies Sweden established here but also the importance of the Scandinavians during the Civil War. He spends the most time on the impact of American-Scandinavians in the time leading up to and during WWII. Not all of these people showed the best impulses of the human spirit. However, I was most interested in how important a few people were in getting U.S. private manufacturing companies switched over to producing the goods necessary to win WWII. The theme of the “Viking heart” runs throughout the book. At the core of this is courage, daring, loyalty and resilience. He attributes many of the accomplishments of Scandinavians to this phenomenon. However, the characteristics of the Viking heart changed over time, with the influence of Christianity, to something that was less bloody than before with more of a concern for individuals and society as a whole. At different times he adds qualities to the Viking heart but does not reinforce them in the conclusion so it is a little unclear exactly his final definition of the Viking heart. One thing he makes clear is that he does not believe that the “Viking heart” has a racial component. He completely disavows the use of it by Hitler and by Neo-Nazis groups today. In fact, he stresses that many other groups share the characteristics of the “Viking heart” and have made equal contribution to society. The Vikings themselves were not one united racial group. They were a mix. Herman makes some sweeping statements but does not always support them with enough evidence. For example, he claims that Saint Brigitte of Sweden, Queen Ingeborg of Norway and Queen Margaret of Denmark transformed their countries and arguably Europe itself. That they had an impact and an influence is not in doubt but the statement that they transformed their countries, much less, Europe is not borne out in his narrative. He does not give evidence much less prove their lasting impact. He also includes some information about his own family, particularly what they did in the American Civil War. They weren’t major movers or shakers and he doesn’t pretend they are. It can be a little jarring with the inserted personal history in the middle of the more neutral presentation of the narrative history. Some people might find this touching and way to make the history not so boring. I was a little jolted out of the flow. Overall, a solid history with some information that I did not know about. It shows that Vikings were much more than just marauding killers; they traveled further and had a much greater impact in areas than many people know. The later history is also interesting and Scandinavia did not just disappear from the world stage when the Vikings “disappeared” into the sunset. There are some weaknesses in Herman’s arguments but it is a satisfying and informative book. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman is a highly recommended history of the Vikings, their influence in Europe and beyond, and eventually how the mind set of the Scandinavians influenced American history. This is a history written with ties to Herman's own family heritage. As most people know the Vikings, Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes, were raiders who sparked terror across Europe and east Eurasia for more than two centuries after 780 C.E. and shaped the The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman is a highly recommended history of the Vikings, their influence in Europe and beyond, and eventually how the mind set of the Scandinavians influenced American history. This is a history written with ties to Herman's own family heritage. As most people know the Vikings, Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes, were raiders who sparked terror across Europe and east Eurasia for more than two centuries after 780 C.E. and shaped the history of these areas before they settled down to becoming settlers and traders. These Norsemen were never part of one national identity and represented a very small population, which makes their impact even more interesting. What set them apart was that where ever they went they brought with them a certain attitude, way of life, and mythology. Herman also shares archaeological and DNA research to trace the movements and reach of the Vikings. As this is a history focused on Scandinavians, the peoples comprising these countries are the focus of the book. Their bold actions, raids, travels, movements, mythology, communities, families, inventiveness, and adventurous spirit are the focus of the history from the early time of the Viking to the contributions of settlers in America. Once in America, Herman covers the role the role these settlers played in American history along with several famous descendants of Scandinavian ancestry. The part that many Scandinavians will stand up and applaud is the clear presentation of how Snorri Sturluson's Eddas and guide to Old Norse Mythology influenced so many parts of popular culture today, especially Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The narrative is very accessible to readers wanting a basic account of Vikings and their descendants in America rather than an encyclopedic history of all things Viking and Scandinavian. Those who are looking for a complete in-depth examination of the history can look for further information, but a causal reader will appreciate this presentation. Herman states that he wrote this book to examine and pay homage to his ancestors, so he does make the book personal, naming his Scandinavian relatives and sharing personal family stories. The volume includes chapter notes and an index, as well as photographs. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HMH Books. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2021/0...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    I wanted to finish this book but it's like pulling teeth to continue. I only got to chapter 3 before I just couldn't anymore. I don't like nonfiction books that read as if the author is having a conversation especially when they do not accompany their ideas with footnotes or any citation of research. The overall tone of the book came across as the author just one day sat down and started writing about Vikings with only reading one or two sources about it. The extent that Peter Foote and David M I wanted to finish this book but it's like pulling teeth to continue. I only got to chapter 3 before I just couldn't anymore. I don't like nonfiction books that read as if the author is having a conversation especially when they do not accompany their ideas with footnotes or any citation of research. The overall tone of the book came across as the author just one day sat down and started writing about Vikings with only reading one or two sources about it. The extent that Peter Foote and David M Wilson were mentioned as sources was overwhelming. If the author is going to quote others so much I would just rather read the primary source. I am also sooo tired of authors comparing the complexities of ancient monarchical politics as a "true Game of Thrones" (p. 54)… that’s just lazy writing. I also did not like how the author was constantly bringing up the idea of race and tying it into modern times. The author mentions the Nazi’s dream of a pure blonde hair blue eyed race never existed. I’m sorry, we aren’t talking about Nazis. We are talking about ancient Scandinavian people. Then the author declares how inferior authors would glance over the Vikings involvement in slavery but he’s a superior author so he will discuss it? Speaking of slavery, the author claims the slave trade ended because the Vikings became Christian (p. 50). Umm, NO. Also, I don’t appreciate the undertones that Christians are the superior religion. Most slave traders in history have been Christian or from a country that their official religion is Christianity. All these ideas were discussed within 3 chapters of the book. That doesn't include when the author starts talking about the topography of Scandinavian lands, building of boats, Althings, rights of men, Charlemagne, dark ages and Germanic tribes (p. 41). It does not have any organization or transitioning phrases to let the reader know a new idea is approaching. Overall poorly written work of an author trying to capitalize on the current popularity of Vikings. If you want to read a well-written, and serious book about Scandinavians during the Viking Period then I would recommend "The Children of Ash and Elm" by Neil Price. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lafourche Parish Library

    Usually when one thinks of Vikings, it is about how aggressive and bloodthirsty they were, conquering those weaker than themselves throughout the known world. The Viking Heart breaks down the truth about our Scandinavian ancestors who came from Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, showing the tenacity, work ethic, and resiliency that reshaped Europe and even parts of the Middle East. But, according to author, Arthur Herman, the deepest mark they left was in North America, where the author state Usually when one thinks of Vikings, it is about how aggressive and bloodthirsty they were, conquering those weaker than themselves throughout the known world. The Viking Heart breaks down the truth about our Scandinavian ancestors who came from Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, showing the tenacity, work ethic, and resiliency that reshaped Europe and even parts of the Middle East. But, according to author, Arthur Herman, the deepest mark they left was in North America, where the author states, “…the Viking legacy would become the American Dream.” This epic non-fiction account tells the story of how these diverse people made an impact as immigrants on their new country, America. Using DNA evidence, archaeological data, and other cutting-edge technology the book shows how the influence of the Scandinavian experience has affected American culture from the start and continues to do so today. Even the DNA of this 98.6% Northwestern European (translation = French) reviewer contains 1% Finnish ancestry! Arthur Herman makes it clear that The Viking Heart is a historical record of how Scandinavian immigrants made a special and successful mark in the world, especially focusing on America. He argues that the Viking heart cannot be found in today’s hate groups and Neo-Nazi fringe who use the past successes of Vikings for their own warped purposes. He points to the popular and traditional images of Norsemen in such modern tales as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy to the traditions of Star Wars as a continuation of the heroic Norse sagas universal appeal. Availability: Book Rating: **** Stars (I really liked it) Reviewer: Helen, Technical Services ARE YOU AND THIS BOOK A GOOD MATCH? DISCOVER MORE WITH NOVELIST APPEALS! GENRE: History Writing STORYLINE: Sweeping LOCATION: Scandinavia SUBJECT: Viking Civilization; Northmen and Northwomen; Scandinavian Americans; Vikings; Warriors

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeana Lawrence

    I first picked this up because I was interested in Viking history and because when I took an Ancestry DNA test a few years ago, my ancestry came out to be English/Welsh despite no connections to that part of the world in any of my family histories. When I clicked on the link to learn more, it instead redirected me to the Central Swedish information, which was definitely within the established family genealogy lore. So I assumed that my ancestors might have been at one point Vikings and traveled I first picked this up because I was interested in Viking history and because when I took an Ancestry DNA test a few years ago, my ancestry came out to be English/Welsh despite no connections to that part of the world in any of my family histories. When I clicked on the link to learn more, it instead redirected me to the Central Swedish information, which was definitely within the established family genealogy lore. So I assumed that my ancestors might have been at one point Vikings and traveled to England and somehow got some English DNA mixed in before heading back to Sweden and staying there then coming to America. So from a genealogy standpoint, this book provides excellent context about the larger cultural and historical moments of any Scandinavian peoples, from the Vikings to the modern age. However, it got a little tiresome his constant explanations of the “Viking Heart” and how different people embodied it and how its definition changed over time. I also felt like he was a little biased in brushing over some problematic Scandinavian figures and historical events and swept some of their problematic views and opinions under the rug so he could make a point about their Viking heart and spirit. He also claims that people from Scandinavian descent and countries do better because they have a “Viking” spirit but it’s more likely that they’re white and didn’t face the same level of prosecution as other peoples. Again, it’s good for general context for genealogy research if your family happens to come from one of the Scandinavian countries and have strong ties to that side of the family but maybe not much else.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    A fairly engaging read. Jumps right into the details of history rather than hemming and hawing for a chapter over whether or not the author actually knows anything. Well written. However. There are several sudden and jarring steps away from “unbiased historian” to convey the bizarre general idea that once the Vikings abandoned that horrible barbaric paganism and embraced Jesus Christ they abandoned blood feuds and rape and revenge as though the king who finally conquered Norway was not literally A fairly engaging read. Jumps right into the details of history rather than hemming and hawing for a chapter over whether or not the author actually knows anything. Well written. However. There are several sudden and jarring steps away from “unbiased historian” to convey the bizarre general idea that once the Vikings abandoned that horrible barbaric paganism and embraced Jesus Christ they abandoned blood feuds and rape and revenge as though the king who finally conquered Norway was not literally sainted. The human toll of those persecuted by the church is almost entirely glossed over and any change in the treatment of women is straight up ignored. Herman even cites the witch hunts (correctly) as a misogynist phenomenon and (bizarrely) brags that the tradition was "simply not present" in Scandinavia (say that while standing in the memorial hall in Vardø, maybe). Additionally it is not really a book on the real spirit of everyday people but a timeline of wars and kings. Specifically kings. Herman seems to not really make any effort to showcase practically any women. Six named women are mentioned in the 1157 pages of the ebook for a total of 27 pages and two of these women are the author’s grandmothers. Even Queen Cristina (cited correctly as a "terrible ruler") gets barely a single sentence in the passage on her father, despite her spirit being the sort of "Viking type" the author cites in numerous other barely known men in the 1100s. Definitely a book “Written by a Christian Man (TM)” but still more readable than other similar books.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of this new history. One's thoughts of Scandinavia usually usually go right to IKEA with its functional furniture with funky names and meatballs that really hit the spot. Or to the new improvement plan of Hygee with its thought of cozy contentment no matter the clime. Even mysteries stories with long running series of sad detectives and clever until the end killers. Arthur Herman would like us to see the bigge My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of this new history. One's thoughts of Scandinavia usually usually go right to IKEA with its functional furniture with funky names and meatballs that really hit the spot. Or to the new improvement plan of Hygee with its thought of cozy contentment no matter the clime. Even mysteries stories with long running series of sad detectives and clever until the end killers. Arthur Herman would like us to see the bigger picture of the importance of Scandinavia in his book The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World. Combining cutting edge technology and archeology, with his own family history, Mr. Herman traces the growth of Scandinavia from farmers and fisherman, to explorers and raiders, to migration to America and to modern day. A familiarity with history would be helpful, but Mr. Herman does a good job of explaining his points and his research, which seems very expansive. The book is full of interesting new facts and historical views that I had never thought about, It's also a little gossipy about his ancestors who migrated here and different times and had different ways of settling in. The book is a nice overview of the Scandinavian experience For anyone who enjoyed the Thomas Cahill books about various groups of people, or for those trying to get in touch with their immigrant experience and where they came from.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book begins dramatically with the terror of the Viking raid on the monastery at Lindisfarne. The Vikings are regarded as a fierce and indeed, rather nasty lot with their savage attacks. However, this book paints a different picture of them, presenting a nicer side. They were not only fierce warriors, but great explorers, traders and farmers.They may have been barbarians once, but they eventually learned Christian values. Most of all, they had courage - the courage to endure great hardships, This book begins dramatically with the terror of the Viking raid on the monastery at Lindisfarne. The Vikings are regarded as a fierce and indeed, rather nasty lot with their savage attacks. However, this book paints a different picture of them, presenting a nicer side. They were not only fierce warriors, but great explorers, traders and farmers.They may have been barbarians once, but they eventually learned Christian values. Most of all, they had courage - the courage to endure great hardships, wars and to settle far from their homelands. Herman theorises that 'the Viking heart' endured for centuries, and still exists today in European culture and in the countries settled by Europeans. Even today he argues that this Viking heart helped the Scandinavians manage to live fairly normally and even thrive during the pandemic (unlike my homeland beset by devastating lockdowns and border closures). He even attributes Lutheranism to this Viking heart. He presents the argument well, and this is an inspiring book. I especially liked the part about Tolkien, being a big Tolkien fan. However, I wonder if the effect of the Vikings on history is exaggerated here. I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review. EDITION Other Format ISBN 9781328595904 PRICE $30.00 (USD)

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...