Review: The Vikings and America – Erik Wahlgren

The Vikings In America - Erik Wahlgren3 of 5 stars

My version: Hardback
Non Fiction, History, the Vikings, America
Thames and Hudson Ltd
My copy: From Harlev Bibliotek

Excavations at L’Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland have revealed the presence of the Vikings around AD 1000. But was this the mysterious Vinland (“land of grapevines”) which, according to the Icelandic sagas, Leif Eriksson discovered almost one thousand years ago? In his account Wahlgren argues for a location farther south and also suggests Viking exploration far to the North. He also answers the question: “Why did the Vikings eventually leave the New World?” with his theory that a worsening climate and attacks by native Eskimos and Indians put paid to the first European presence in North America.

I learned from this book; that the author is a bit of a know-it-all. He’s clearly a very educated, and educated in all things Norse and Viking, man. He obviously knows his Viking onions. He has his opinions and his opinions are the right ones. His opinions are in fact, fact. There are of course, other theories concerning the Viking presence in north America, but he doesn’t care for them and is dismissive of the majority of them. And this ‘I’m right, they/everyone else is wrong’ attitude from him, whilst being able to back the vast majority of it up with facts, does grate. I would have liked him to have at least written as if he was a little bit more open.

The best section of the book, in my opinion, was where he presents his theories on where Leif Eriksson’s ‘Vinland’ settlement could well have been (given that whilst L’Anse aux Meadows does show (continued) Viking presence in America, it isn’t Leif’s ‘Vinland’). This was very interesting and well presented. I’d certainly have liked him to have developed it a lot more. For a much more well-rounded (and up-to-date) presentation of the Vikings in America, you should read the aptly titled ‘Vikings in America’, by Graeme Davis. 

The image/picture at the top I’ve nicked from Deviant Art, someone called Manzanedo.
Commissioned for Dragons Conquer America, a RPG by Burning Games. If you are Manzenedo and venture this way and want it taken down, get in touch.

You can buy The Vikings and America, from Amazon (for next to nothing).

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