A review of Vikings by Martin J Dougherty

Reviewed by Molly Martin
A Dark History of the Norse People
by Martin J Dougherty
Amber Books
Pages: 224, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-1782740612

Martin J Dougherty’s Vikings is filled with maps, drawings, photos of surviving artefacts and well researched text. Dougherty says that hardly any peoples or groups have ever such an impact on common ethos as had the Vikings.  From that bold declaration the author sets out to substantiate his contention.

Early peoples became cognizant of the society we refer to today as the Vikings; in 793 AD, when a group of plunderers from across the North Sea landed on Lindisfarne Island and despoiled the monastery there.  This book discusses early inhabitance of Vikings in Scandinavia, the Valkyries, Elves, Dwarves and Norns: the three women who could see the past, present and future and decided the fate of every person; the idea of Valhalla, the Viking Gods, chief of them Odin, along with Thor, Aegir, Loki, Viking culture, laws and society.

While there is no single date at which the Viking Age ended in total, 1066 does provide a definite date that most Viking colonization was ended; the various peoples were becoming Icelanders, or Scandinavian, Danes or Greenlanders. While the date thought to end of the Viking era may be an arbitrary time imposed by historians; Viking settlements, towns, sagas, poems, along with the social values they lived; color by much of our understanding of these robust and strong willed people. ‘Many of the worlds’ nations can trace their origins or elements of their history to Viking influence.  That Dougherty is a historian is evident in this work. Filled with maps, photographs and graphics; Dougherty treats the reader to an eye-appealing, gratifying volume regarding the fundamentals of Viking life, history and a broad spectrum of activities carried out for the duration of the period. Vikings provides a robust overview of a fascinating people whose life, culture, accomplishments and behaviors have colored much of the world and have left an indelible mark on those of us who descend from the settlement areas colonized by them. The book contains photographs of relics, as well as  sketches describing pertinent examples of life, more relics, scenes including burial mounds and the like all from the time period of the era and detailed maps. The volume itself is well made, and will stand up to repeated usage, a good thing since readers will want to read and re-read this book.

Reviewed by: molly martin  http://www.AuthorsDen.com/mjhollingshead