A new history of the Vikings - told from their own perspective rather than that of their victims
Neil Price holds the Chair of Archaeology at Uppsala University, Sweden, where he has also been appointed Distinguished Professor by the Swedish Research Council. A leading expert on the Viking Age, his fieldwork, teaching and research have taken him to more than forty countries. Neil is a Fellow of learned academies in Britain and Scandinavia, including Sweden's oldest, the Royal Society of Sciences; in 2017 it awarded him the Thureus Prize for his lifetime achievements in Viking studies. His publications have appeared in sixteen languages, and he is a frequent consultant and contributor to television and film.
as Neil Price shows in his colourful, revelatory new book, we are
almost always looking at the Vikings the wrong way around. Price is
one of the world's foremost experts on the Vikings and holds the
chair of archaeology at Uppsala University ... He may know more
about medieval Scandinavia than anyone else alive, and he aims to
show us these fascinating people as they saw themselves, not as
they were perceived by those on the sharp end of their robbery ...
Thousands of books have been published about the Vikings - this
is one of the very best. -- Dan Jones * Sunday Times *
This history takes us deep into the lives - and deaths - of the Vikings ... What surprised me about The Children of Ash and Elm is the extent to which recent archaeological discovery is transforming our picture of the Vikings from the inside. Price, who has spent several decades in ancient cesspits and the remains of Norse workshops, is superbly qualified to understand the significance of what is being unearthed, analysed and dated, and conveys a sense of excitement about just how much is being learnt -- David Aaronovitch * The Times *
a book that offers delight after delight ... lyrical, unnerving, specific, and passionately uncertain, all at once ... Throughout this book are glorious collections of Viking facts that are technically known yet still resist our best attempts at interpretation ... Price has a talent for evoking the Vikings' physical surroundings as they might have been - a gift for recreation that's probably natural for an archaeologist accustomed to eking significance from the smallest bit of disturbed dirt ... To convey such a deep sense of scholarly indeterminacy, all while dazzling the reader with cinematic detail-this is, truly, a feat. -- Rebecca Onion * Slate Magazine *
a thrilling read ... His clear, engaging style introduces us to the Scandinavian communities of the eighth and ninth centuries, centered around the farmstead, before catapulting us overseas and outward into an expanding world where raiding and trading quickly boosted the wealth of individuals and the ambitions of the elites. ... The stereotype of the Viking that we know from history books and popular media is here dismantled and presented anew by Mr. Price in all its wonderful, terrifying complexity and ambiguity. -- Karin Altenberg * Wall Street Journal *
It is full of meticulous accounts of the specifics of early medieval Scandinavian daily life ... beautifully evocative, engaging and thought-provoking ... It is impossible not to admire the breadth and range of this book's discussion of Viking material culture. -- Eleanor Parker * History Today *
The question that this dark, brilliantly written and absorbing book asks is: who were these people and where did this violence come from?...The powerful and unsettling message of this book is that they never went home. These strange, vicious people are our forebears. They never went home. -- Jay Elwes * Spectator *