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  • Children of Ash and Elm

  • A History of the Vikings
  • Written by: Neil Price
  • Narrated by: Samuel Roukin
  • Length: 17 hrs and 25 mins
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive history of the Vikings - from arts and culture to politics and cosmology - by a distinguished archaeologist with decades of expertise

The Viking Age - from 750 to 1050 saw an unprecedented expansion of the Scandinavian peoples into the wider world. As traders and raiders, explorers and colonists, they ranged from eastern North America to the Asian steppe. But for centuries, the Vikings have been seen through the eyes of others, distorted to suit the tastes of medieval clerics and Elizabethan playwrights, Victorian imperialists, Nazis, and more. None of these appropriations capture the real Vikings, or the richness and sophistication of their culture. 

Based on the latest archaeological and textual evidence, Children of Ash and Elm tells the story of the Vikings on their own terms: their politics, their cosmology and religion, their material world. Known today for a stereotype of maritime violence, the Vikings exported new ideas, technologies, beliefs, and practices to the lands they discovered and the peoples they encountered, and in the process were themselves changed. From Eirík Bloodaxe, who fought his way to a kingdom, to Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir, the most traveled woman in the world, Children of Ash and Elm is the definitive history of the Vikings and their time.

©2020 Neil Price (P)2020 Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DT Campbell
  • 11-09-20

This is the Viking history I've been wanting...

...for 20 years, told from a personal, lived-in perspective as much as a bird's eye view of structural patterns. Price does a good job of weaving together the fated contours in which people lived during the Viking period with the choices they made, against or along the grain. This is also the most honest portrayal I've read, unflinching in showing the social hierarchy, from sexism to slavery, while still celebrating the art and genius of the same people.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Than
  • 06-10-20

Outstanding

An incredible history book in general. If you're looking for a comprehensive history of the Viking this is the book you're looking for. I had written out a lengthier review which didn't get recorded for some reason after I saved it. The Great History lecture series on the Vikings is good for sure but this book goes more in depth than that series.
And because christopher doty's review in Audible doesn't clarify what exactly he means by "rewriting history in order to make it fit into their politixal ideals". I can say anyone that finds this book "too political" would be the type of person that finds Mr. Rogers too political. (Ignoring the fact the book literally talks about 'Viking Politics' for a moment). I'll go ahead and assume he was talking about Viking sexuality which the author talks about at length. He does mention that the Sagas and Norse mythology says that Odin has sex with both men and women. The author also mentions what would be called in modern times "transgender" burials discovered of men wearing women's clothing and women dressed in battle regalia. He says the Vikings might have had different concepts of gender, as our own culture does for non-binary, trans, etc, but that we shouldn't just assume they only had male and female. That was the point he was making in that section of the book. A SHOCKING statement to make for an archaeologist "don't forget to separate our own cultural views from those of the past". He also mentions that in Viking culture there were people that could shapeshift into wolves, bears, and ravens. So for his broader point we can't know exactly what all they thought about the genders of such beings and the people in general unless they wrote it down. The author substantiates all of his claims with written documents and known discoveries throughout and states points he's making that are unknown but speculated. This book is amazing and you'll love it if you're interested in general history or the Vikings.

8 people found this helpful

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  • christopher doty
  • 30-09-20

Rewriting history and making wild assumptions.

Would he great had the writer not focused on twisting and rewriting history in order to make it fit into their politixal ideals.

7 people found this helpful

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  • M. Valentine
  • 11-10-20

Woke version of the Vikings.

Intriguing information on development of Viking culture. Current information from archeology. Political opinion included free.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Fishgen
  • 27-09-20

Truly living history

Probably the best historical narrative I have ever encountered. The topics flow together almost seamlessly.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sylla
  • 31-10-20

Scholarly and poetic

The only book I ever read that made sense of the vikings. Scholarly but never dry, fascinating yet rigorous. And the stories! A must if you live Norse culture and history! The narrator is first class!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Leland
  • 18-12-20

buckle In.

I will it mitt I was ready to give this an objective chance. as a pre-marvel Heathen I can give an author more than enough rope to hang themselves with. in this case the author does just that. if you can accept that Ymir was a victim of gods with murderous intent he has you covered. not to outdo himself he then goes on to without cheek use the term "slut shame" to describe the threats put two Freya. it was at this point I lost all academic interest in this title and as the title says proceeding popcorn in hand to see how far into social Democrat territory this will drive. my two complaints are both under two hours of listening so I doubt he will disappoint for entertainment value.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Son of Thor's whimper
  • 27-11-20

A new take on vikings

Well written, competently blazing through old Scandinavian marxist notions of how Viking society should be. A breath of air and an extremly good read. The narration was also of the highest quality.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Valorie S
  • 18-10-20

Viking MUST read!

A MUST READ for all interested in the Vikings and history. These people had influence far and wide, not previously understood.

1 person found this helpful

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  • NielsToft
  • 13-04-21

Excellent book

Price has comittet yet another haunting book of high quality.

While the narrator is great in most cases and have smoothly switches between narration and dramatic reading, he struggles with (especially) Danish placenames, both current and historical, to the point of being unintelligible to this native speaker.

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  • Stuart Bailey
  • 02-10-20

As a Child of Ash and Elm

I am descended from the Vikings this book awoke my interest in my ancestors l found it very informative and l am proud of my heritage

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 22-10-20

Disappointed

Probably a case of mistaken expectations. I expected a more academic rendering.
The narrator has an odd way of pausing in the middle of phrases that break up the rhythm making it more difficult to listen to and his pronunciations were painful and irritating.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-09-20

Everything you wanted to know about the Vikings

It is always a delight to have someone who really knows his stuff, share that stuff. This, Neil Price, does in a clear and accessible way. He provides a whole new view, at least for me - the view from behind the Vikings' shields. There they are - rounded characters - not caricatures. This audio-book is well read / performed.
I recommend it, wholeheartedly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • T Bailey
  • 24-02-21

The long haul

A comprehensive, even exhaustive, history. Like many books written by academics, it seemed to contain every fact the author had dug up. Like many books by academics, it could, as a result, have been about a third shorter with very little loss to the audience.

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  • mcsmall
  • 10-02-21

Disappointing

After reading rave reviews in the press, I was expecting more from this. There was far too much description and insufficient analysis.

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  • Roper
  • 27-11-20

Analytical and touching

At points, hard going. At others, an absolute page turner. Wonderful, terrifying, and insightful. Highly recommended.

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  • Karen
  • 06-11-20

Interesting

Very interesting history of the Vikings.
The narration was good overall but spoilt somewhat by some old choices of pronunciation.

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  • Liam Prendergast
  • 18-02-21

great and informative listen

A nuanced and interesting exploration of the Viking legacy. Everything from the foundation for the viking way of life and their religious beliefs to the conscription of Viking warriors into the Byzantine Empire and original European settlement of the New World.
Neil Price analyses the primary sources and archaeological evidence and gives an honest account of these things as opposed to the often exaggerated retellings.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LANDREN
  • 14-01-21

Great story, mixed performance

Fascinating history well told, but the otherwise well chosen reader was let down by disconcertingly odd or poor pronunciation of several ordinary English words (as well as many non-English) that jarred in the listening. Otherwise a very enjoyable well researched and well written book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-01-21

Long book but good

Fab narrator, enjoyable deep content for an academic history book. Loved it, it took a week to get through.

1 person found this helpful