The Viking Heart How Scandinavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman
This book begins dramatically with the terror of the Viking raid on the monastery at Lindisfarne. The Vikings are regarded as a fierce and indeed, rather nasty lot with their savage attacks. However, this book paints a different picture of them, presenting a nicer side. They were not only fierce warriors, but great explorers, traders and farmers.They may have been barbarians once, but they eventually learned Christian values. Most of all, they had courage - the courage to endure great hardships, wars and to settle far from their homelands.
Herman theorises that 'the Viking heart' endured for centuries, and still exists today in European culture and in the countries settled by Europeans. Even today he argues that this Viking heart helped the Scandinavians manage to live fairly normally and even thrive during the pandemic (unlike my homeland beset by devastating lockdowns and border closures). He even attributes Lutheranism to this Viking heart. He presents the argument well, and this is an inspiring book. I especially liked the part about Tolkien, being a big Tolkien fan. However, I wonder if the effect of the Vikings on history is exaggerated here.
I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.