Viking: The Norse Warrior’s (Unofficial) Manual

John Haywood, Author
John Haywood. Thames & Hudson, $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-500-25194-2
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-500-77141-9
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Haywood’s newest (after Chronicles of the Ancient World) is a whimsical and informative how-to guide to becoming and living the life of a fearsome Scandinavian raider. The year is 991 C.E., and the glory of Olaf Tryggvason’s victory at the battle of Maldon in England this past summer has you, the reader, interested in becoming a Viking. If you are healthy and can handle a weapon, regardless of your class (save slaves), there is some chance that you’ll be chosen to join a ship captain on his raids; women need not apply. Haywood offers latent marauders advice on everything from weapons to life onboard a longship and on campaign. Battle tips are to be expected, but surveys of countries just itching to be raided, types of treasure, and historical asides on cultures contemporaneous with the Vikings are added bonuses. The author describes potential battle wounds and field treatment options (or the lack of same) in graphic detail, but for the most part he avoids rape and torture. Text and captions can be repetitious, and although there is a glossary, there’s no pronunciation guide—good luck with “hirð.” Nevertheless, anyone hoping to go a-Viking will find this manual to be fun and revealing. 135 illus., 29 in color. (June)
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