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Books about the Anglo Saxons and/or Vikings

(10 Posts)
TheDuchessOfKidderminster Sat 06-May-17 15:56:43

I've just finished watching The Last Kingdom and currently reading the original series of books by Bernard Cornwell. I'd like to find out more about the history behind this period and wondering if anyone could recommend any history books about the Saxons/Vikings and similar.

Feawen Sun 07-May-17 12:51:54

Ooh! Some suggestions:

Elsa Roesdahl's The Vikings for a history of early mediaeval Scandinavia.

An Introduction to Anglo Saxon England by Peter Hunter Blair for, well, an introduction to Anglo Saxon England. Be sure to get the 2003 edition, which has a really excellent introduction by Simon Keynes, who is Professor of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge. PHB's book creates a narrative structure for Anglo-Saxon history (which is an important place to start while you're getting your head around the period) while SK explains why such a narrative should be approached critically and with caution.

For a readable book about a very powerful woman of the time, try Queen Emma and the Vikings by...er...I think Harriet O'Brian.

Lastly, very definitely read some Scandinavian mythology, which is fascinating, funny, revolting and glorious by turns. Neil Gaiman has just brought out a modern retelling of various legends and called it Norse Mythology. Some of the sagas are also interesting reads but are maybe less accessible.

Enjoy! It's not a straightforward period to explore; there are relatively few surviving written sources, so it's near the edge of the historical horizon. But what there is, is fascinating, and leaves great scope for imagination.

TheDuchessOfKidderminster Sun 07-May-17 15:13:42

Thank you smile

Papergirl1968 Sun 07-May-17 22:18:09

Hi Duchess, I'm not far from Kidderminster waves.
These are novels rather than history books but you might enjoy I Am England and That Near And Distant Place by Patricia Wright, and Sarum and other novels by Edward Rutherford.

Redredredrose Mon 08-May-17 18:20:42

Nick Higham and Martin Ryan's Anglo-Saxon World is very good, the best basic text on the market, I'd say. It's not too expensive and it's written with an undergraduate audience in mind (so, assuming the reader is intelligent but doesn't necessarily know a great deal already).

Redredredrose Mon 08-May-17 18:23:31

Campbell's The Anglo-Saxons is also good - that's what I used to teach the period to first year undergrads, until Higham and Ryan brought out their book in 2015.

TheDuchessOfKidderminster Tue 09-May-17 16:04:01

DP studied history 2000-2003 and definitely has the Campbell book (its in my study), so maybe I'll start with that. Not sure if he's got anything much about Viking history, l'll have to have a dig around.

Redredredrose Thu 11-May-17 11:40:12

Ooo, where? Maybe I taught him.

TheDuchessOfKidderminster Thu 11-May-17 16:25:07

University of Hull - he was very into the medieval stuff.

Redredredrose Fri 12-May-17 10:11:35

Ah no - I taught at Manchester. I guess Campbell must be the standard text at unis all over!

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