Blood of the Vikings (2001)
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Blood of the Vikings 2001

Blood of the Vikings: In several BBC television episodes of Meet the Ancestors Julian Richards has shown himself to be an enthusiastic explorer of the past and an able advocate of the imaginative reconstruction of the lives of those who peopled it. In Blood of the Vikings, the book accompanying another BBC series, he investigates the reality behind the images everyone has of the Vikings as fearsome and barbaric warriors who raided civilised settlements mercilessly in the 9th and 10th centuries. The book reflects his travels for the TV series. Richards pops up, as curious and inquisitive as always, in a Norwegian replica of a Viking house, in the Orkneys, in Dublin and in other places where the legacy of the Vikings lives on. However, Blood of the Vikings is more than just the book of the series. As an archaeologist, Richards has worked largely on prehistoric Britain and he admits that he began this project knowing only a little about the Vikings. He has been a quick learner. At its heart, his book tells more than the story of his journeys to Viking sites. It provides an enjoyable and personal account of Viking history and culture and, particularly, of the confrontation between Danish Vikings and King Alfreds Wessex, a confrontation which did much to shape an English sense of identity. It shows, just as clearly as the DNA experiments which it quotes, that a little of the blood of the Vikings runs in all British veins.

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