From groundbreaking new research that helps us challenge assumptions about the Viking expansions to the origins of how the Vikings created modern Britain, there is a book here for every taste.

1) The Children of Ash and Elm by Neil Price: A History of the Vikings

To understand the Vikings, you must first understand their milieu, culture, and mythology. Luckily for us, Neil Price leaves no (rune)stone unturned as he guides the reader on an educational journey that is as full of color as any Norse saga but with many more historical facts! From a deep dive into Norse mythology and cosmology to what the latest archeological findings can tell us about Viking gender fluidity and everything in between, this is as close as you will get to a university course lectured by Price, a Professor in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University in a fraction of the cost! A great read for novice or advanced Viking history nuts alike.

Read our full review of the book here while it is available for purchase on Amazon here.

2) River Kings: A New History of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Road by Dr. Cat Jarmnan

Dr. Cat Jarman is a modern-day Renaissance woman: a renowned bioarchaeologist, best-selling author, and broadcaster. In her latest book, she helps to shed new light on the eastward expansion of the Vikings, through the various river systems of Eastern Europe, down to the world of the Byzantine Empire, Abbasid Caliphate, and beyond. This eastward push, so overlooked by traditional histories of the Vikings, shows just how interconnected and interlinked the global economy was over a millennium ago. From how a simple bead traveled from India to a grave in England to the excesses of Viking funeral orgies, this book is part of a rethinking of traditional Viking histories.

Read our full review of the book here whilst it is available for purchase on Amazon here.

3) The Anglo-Saxons: A History of the Beginnings of England 400 – 1066 by Marc Morris

The history of the English and the Vikings are so intertwined and interlinked it can, in the early medieval period, be hard to see where one ends and the other begins. Marc Morris details, in great clarity, style, and depth, the origins of a nation forged by successive waves of invasion, including (but not limited to) the Romans, the Saxons, the Vikings, and the Normans. The prequel to Morris's weighty tome about the Norman conquest (see below), this covers many seminal periods of English history in one. From 12 days of feasting between Alfred the Great and his Norse opponent, Guthrum, to what else the British museum found with a Sussex farmer's lost tool, this book is full of detailed research and good humor that make Morris the best-selling author he is.

Read our full review of the book here whilst the book is available for purchase on Amazon here.

4) The Norman Conquest: The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Marc Morris

Though the Norman conquest may be one of the most studied invasions and conquest in history, Marc Morris breathes new life into what could be otherwise a staid subject. Given the lack of written records, Morris does his best to try to capture the history of one of the most dramatic turning points in English history. Each page drips with verve, color, and rich historical detail that will make you fall head first into this book and grab it with two hands like William the Conqueror was said to have done with English soil when he fell off his boat on an English beach before Hastings.

Read our full review of the book here whilst it is available for purchase on Amazon here.

5) The Wolf Age: The Vikings, The Anglo-Saxons and the Battle for the North Sea Empire by Tore Skeie

Though it is unfashionable now, the so-called "Great Man Theory" of history – where one individual can shape events and change the course of history – could be applied to the story of Viking King Sweyn Forkbeard. Aside from having history's best nickname, Forkbeard was the man responsible for creating a transnational maritime empire uniting the thrones of Denmark, England, and Norway in what has been seen as the high point of Viking influence, power, and prestige during the 11th century CE. Skeie delves into the political machinations and offers up a fascinating insight into how one man could forge such an empire in the "Age of Wolves."

Read our full review of the book here whilst it is available for purchase on Amazon here.

6) The Last Viking: The True Story of Harald Hardrada by Don Holloway

Though he may be remembered for a failed invasion of England, halted by English Harold Godwinson, Harald Hardrada was, without any doubt, the most impressive warrior of his age. From his insecure childhood exiled from Norway after seeing his half-brother slaughtered in battle, through his formative years fighting everywhere (and everyone) between Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, to his employment as head of the personal bodyguard of the Byzantine Emperor, Don Holloway charts Hardrada's storied and interesting life, full of excitement and derring-do. His death, in 1066 CE, sometimes incorrectly bookends the "Viking Age", and it's hard to argue there was a more interesting, or impressive, Viking king, warrior, and poet throughout this age.

Read our full review of the book here whilst it is available for purchase on Amazon here.

7) The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman

Sometimes history can get a bad rap. For many, it is just the repetition of a series of dates of battles, deaths, and coronations. For Arthur Herman, it's personal. Very personal. Whilst other Viking books end their story on the battlefield of Hasting, Herman takes the Scandinavian story right up, through the medieval period to the late 19th / early 20thth century CE. It was in this era that his forebears, like so many Scandinavians, emigrated from poverty to make their riches in the United States. Herman links the two parts of this book – the pre and post-Viking history of Scandinavia – with charm, rich detail, humor, and choked full of personal family history.

Read our full review of the book here whilst it is available to purchase on Amazon here.

8) Viking Age Brew: The Craft of Brewing Sahti Farmhouse Ale

Given the recent boom of craft beer and microbreweries worldwide, it was only a matter of time before new research into Viking-era beer would surface. Sahti Farmhouse Ale is now considered a super niche style of beer that even most hipsters and beer-geeks would hardly have heard of. However, in this lavishly illustrated book, the history of this ale, which was drunk widely throughout the Viking world over a millennium ago, is detailed along with a step-by-step guide on how to make this beer as well as many other medieval tipples. 

Possibly the first history book to give you a hangover...

The book is available for purchase on Amazon here.

9) Women In the Viking Age by Judith Jesch

Whilst almost three decades old, a classic is still a classic. This 1991 book was an inspiration for a whole new generation of female Viking historians and researchers. It was the first book to seriously look at a women's experience during the Viking Age. Whilst the female voice was cruelly silenced during this period, Lesch pieces together fragments and clues, from runic inscriptions to Old Norse literature, to try and provide a detailed examination and analysis of the varied experiences of Viking-era women. An instant classic upon publication deserves to be read by everyone.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon here.

10) Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them by Nancy Marie Brown

The history of the Lewis Chessman, 93 walrus ivory chess pieces that washed up on a beach in 19th century Scotland, is one of the most unlikely and remarkable accidental archaeological discoveries yet recorded. Yet the story of who carved them, almost unknown by the thousands of tourists who gawk at them at the British Museum annually, is just as fascinating. Brown gives the woman who created them, Marget the Adroit of Iceland, the treatment she deserves by telling her story centuries after she carved these delicate pieces of art.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon here.

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