Cover image for The Viking wars : war and peace in King Alfred's Britain, 789-955 / Max Adams.
Title:
The Viking wars : war and peace in King Alfred's Britain, 789-955 / Max Adams.
ISBN:
9781681777979
Edition:
First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Pegasus Books, 2018.
Physical Description:
xviii, 509 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Mapsn on endpapers.
Abstract:
A history of Britain in the violent and unruly era between the first Scandinavian raids in 789 and the final expulsion of the Vikings from York in 954. In 865, a great Viking army landed in East Anglia, precipitating a series of wars that would last until the middle of the following century. It was in this time of crisis that the modern kingdoms of Britain were born. In their responses to the Viking threat, these kingdoms forged their identities as hybrid cultures: vibrant and entrepreneurial peoples adapting to instability and opportunity. Traditionally, Alfred the Great is cast as the central player in the story of Viking Age Britain. But Max Adams, while stressing the genius of Alfred as war leader, law-giver, and forger of the English nation, has a more nuanced narrative approach to this conventional version of history. The Britain encountered by the Scandinavians of the ninth and tenth centuries was one of regional diversity and self-conscious cultural identities, depicted in glorious narrative fashion in The Viking Wars.
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Summary

Summary

In 865, a great Viking army landed in East Anglia, precipitating a series of wars that would last until the middle of the following century. It was in this time of crisis that the modern kingdoms of Britain were born. In their responses to the Viking threat, these kingdoms forged their identities as hybrid cultures: vibrant and entrepreneurial peoples adapting to instability and opportunity.

Traditionally, Alfred the Great is cast as the central player in the story of Viking Age Britain. But Max Adams, while stressing the genius of Alfred as war leader, law-giver, and forger of the English nation, has a more nuanced narrative approach to this conventional version of history. The Britain encountered by the Scandinavians of the ninth and tenth centuries was one of regional diversity and self-conscious cultural identities, depicted in glorious narrative fashion in The Viking Wars.


Author Notes

Max Adams is the author of In the Land of Giants as well as a number of other books published in Britain. A university professor, Max lives in the northeast of England.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Adams (In the Land of Giants) uses primary sources, the work of other scholars, and archaeological findings to present this rich history of ninth- and 10th-century Britain. King Ælfred, his daughter Ædelflæd, and his son Eadweard are at the heart of this volume; Adams begins with the arrival in Britain of minor Viking raiding parties and then the mycel here, the Great Host of Danish and Norse warriors of 865 that kicked off lengthy Scandinavian rule over portions of the British Isles. He traces the wars and other exchanges between the Scandinavian invaders and the various communities of Britain during the first Viking Age. And he ends not with a final battle, but by imagining the travels of a trader through a much-changed Britain in the 960s, now with bustling mercantile centers where 200 years before there were hardly villages. Adams is careful to discuss the reliability of his sources, when historians disagree, and which elements are conjecture. This work is produced with a British audience in mind, so there are a few British phrases that will be unfamiliar to American readers ("not worth the candle," for instance) and numerous geographic references that go beyond what appears on the general map provided. Still, the immense amount of detail is well worth the effort for anyone interested in early medieval history. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Author's notep. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Part I The tiger in the smoke, 789-878p. 1
Timeline 1: 789-878p. 3
Forespæcp. 6
1 Landscape with figuresp. 10
2 Central placesp. 42
3 The incoming tidep. 76
4 The End of Daysp. 114
Part II Newton's cradle, 879-918p. 153
Timeline 2: 879-918p. 155
Forespæcp. 158
5 The balance of powerp. 162
6 Arrivals and departuresp. 202
7 Fragmentary annalsp. 236
8 Politics by other meansp. 272
Part III Going native, 919-955p. 307
Timeline 3: 919-955p. 309
Forespæcp. 313
9 Innate affinities with ambiguityp. 318
10 Lawyers, guns and moneyp. 352
11 A house of cardsp. 388
12 The illusory prizep. 422
Appendix Regnal tablesp. 459
Rulers of Wessex 802-955p. 460
Rulers of York 867-955p. 461
Rulers of Mercia 757-924p. 462
Rulers of Pictavia; Dál Riata; Alba 839-955p. 463
Rulers of the Welsh 808-950p. 464
Abbreviations, sources and referencesp. 465
Notesp. 466
Bibliographyp. 477
Picture creditsp. 490
Acknowledgementsp. 491
Indexp. 492
List of Maps
North Britain in the Viking Agep. vi
South Britain in the Viking Agep. viii
North West Europep. x
Viking Age travel map 1p. 50
Viking Age travel map 2p. 281
The estates of the community of St Cuthbert in the ninth and tenth centuriesp. 322