Vikings at War presents a sumptuous depiction of how the Vikings waged war; their weapons technology, offensive and defensive warfare, military traditions and tactics, their fortifications, ships and command structure. It also portrays the Viking raids and conquest campaigns that brought the Vikings to virtually every corner of Europe and even to America. Viking ships landed on almost every shore in the Western world during the 350 years that followed the introduction of the sail into the region, from the 9th to the 11th century. Viking ravages united the Spanish kingdoms and stopped Charlemagne and the Franks' advance in Europe. Wherever Viking ships roamed, enormous suffering followed in their wake, but the encounter between cultures changed both European and Nordic societies.
Employing unorthodox and unpredictable strategies, which were hard for more organized forces to respond to, the most crucial element of the Viking’s success was their basic strategy of evading the enemy by arriving by sea, then attacking quickly and with great force before withdrawing quickly. The warrior class dominated in a militarized society. Honour was everything, and breaking promises and ruining one’s posthumous reputation was considered worse than death itself. If a man offended another man’s honour, the only way out was blood revenge.
Never before have the Viking art of war, weapons and the history of their conquests been presented together in such detail. With over 380 colour illustrations including beautiful reconstruction drawings, maps, cross-section drawings of ships, line-drawings of fortifications, battle plan reconstructions and photos of surviving artefacts including weapons and jewellery,
Vikings at War provides a vivid account of one of Europe’s most exciting epochs. Vikings at War was awarded the Norwegian literary prize ‘Saga Prize’ in 2012; currently in its fourth printing in Norwegian, the translation presented here makes it available for the first time in English.
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Kim Hjardar holds a MPhil in Nordic Viking and Medieval Culture from the University of Oslo and works as a lecturer in history at St Hallvard College. He has been involved in Viking and Medieval studies for more than fifteen years, both as a professional and through living history re-enactment. He is head of Norway’s biggest and oldest Viking re-enactment association.Review:
“It's a magnificent piece of work...Although this is pitched as a book about the ‘Vikings at War’ it's much more than that and provides a very excellent introduction to the Viking age as a whole...In short it’s a book I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the Viking period and I’m sure I shall be using it on set for Vikings.” (Justin Pollard, Historical Consultant for the Amazon television series Vikings)
"Superb account of a race we're all familiar with...This is comprehensive, beautiful and readable, and brings to life the people we know as the Vikings." (Books Monthly)
“Well illustrated with excellent maps, drawings and photos, it deserves a place on the bookshelf of any Viking enthusiast.” (Current World Archaeology)
"This book is easily the best book on Viking history I have ever read... It purports to be a book about Viking at war, but it is really so much more than that... It is a history of not only the Vikings in northern Europe, but of everywhere the Vikings went, and it also goes deeply into the actual facts of Viking warfare." (A Wargamers Needful Things)
“In Vikings at War, the Viking age in all its gory glory is brought to life in a beautifully illustrated 400 page book.” (Medieval Warfare)
"The two authors demonstrate extensive knowledge of their subject matter and introduce it to their audience in a fashion which makes it readable and digestible particularly for the non-experts." (Mediaevistik)
“This book is special because it's comprehensive and reconstructs Viking routes, invasions and campaigns across Europe and beyond, a thoroughly informative and enjoyable book for anyone who wishes to learn more about this era. Warfare Magazine highly recommend it!” (Vikings at War)
“This volume would be a worthwhile addition to a Viking-themed library for the illustrations alone; archaeologists will additionally benefit from the syntheses of historical sources and sagas this text provides.” (Medieval Archaeology)
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