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The Vikings: From Odin to Christ*

Post-Pagan Vikings

If you are familiar with the image of Vikings as portrayed in modern movies and culture, this book will paint a completely different and more historically accurate picture. It traces the progression of Christianity through the geographical areas that we consider to be Viking territory. Viking, as the authors point out, is a term that more accurately describes an action than a people, even though we tend to see it as the latter these days.

The book is nicely divided into chapters that show how the Christian transformation of Viking territory was not one simple movement. It was particular to each region, based a lot on the area’s history and the social context. The authors present both analysis and excerpts from old sagas. I appreciated that they included a very detailed list of names, definitions, and notes that I would recommend you bookmark so you can turn back to it as you follow the complex histories of these lands. I also appreciated that the authors took a neutral stance on paganism versus Christianity. The book is a nonprejudiced, non-demonizing, balanced look at how the societies changed with the coming of Christianity.

If you have any interest whatsoever in Viking history, you will find this book about their Christian age to be a fascinating and in-depth one.