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Audiobook Review – The Vikings and Their Enemies

If you’re looking for an excellent overview of European culture and warfare during the Viking era, The Vikings and Their Enemies – Warfare in Northern Europe, 750-1100 by Philip Line is an excellent resource.

A fresh account of some of history’s greatest warriors. The Vikings had an extraordinary and far-reaching historical impact. From the eighth to the 11th centuries, they ranged across Europe – raiding, exploring, and colonizing – and their presence was felt as far away as Russia and Byzantium. They are most famous as warriors, yet perhaps their talent for warfare is too little understood.

Philip Line, in this scholarly and highly interesting study of the Viking age, uses original documentary sources – the chronicles, sagas, and poetry – and the latest archaeological evidence to describe how the Vikings and their enemies in northern Europe organized for war. His graphic examination gives an up-to-date interpretation of the Vikings’ approach to violence and their fighting methods that will be fascinating listening for anyone who is keen to understand how they operated and achieved so much in medieval Europe. He explores the practicalities of waging war in the Viking age, including compelling accounts of the nature of campaigns and raids and detailed accounts of Viking-age battles on land and sea, using all the available evidence to give an insight into the experience of combat. Throughout this fascinating book, Philip Line seeks to dispel common myths about the Vikings and misconceptions about their approach to warfare.

The Vikings and Their Enemies is a well-organized, thorough treatise on the culture, technology, and military art of the Viking era.  A good general knowledge of the history and geography of the 9th and 10th Century is probably necessary for the reader to be able to follow both the narrative history and the discussions of the Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian cultures of that time.  Even with that, I found myself occasionally having to check the map file included with the audiobook and looking at other information sources to fill holes in my knowledge.

Robert Fass’ reading was clear and easy to follow.  He was able to keep my attention throughout the book, even when the material became rather dry and detailed.

For someone who has had a life-long interest in the Vikings and European history in general, this was a key addition to my bookshelf.

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1 Comment

  1. Old NFO

     /  February 11, 2021

    Thanks for the heads up! Adding it to the TBR list!


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