Viking Age Iceland by Jesse L. Byock
(Penguin History)

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Medieval Iceland was unique amongst Western Europe, with no foreign policy, no defence forces, no king, no lords, no peasants and few battles. It should have been a utopia yet its literature is dominated by brutality and killing. The reasons for this, argues Jesse Byock, lie in the underlying structures and cultural codes of the islands' social order. 'Viking Age Iceland' is an engaging, multi-disciplinary work bringing together findings in anthropology and ethnography interwoven with historical fact and masterful insights into the popular Icelandic sagas, this is a brilliant reconstruction of the inner workings of a unique and intriguing society.

About Jesse L. Byock

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Jesse L. Byock is Professor of Old Norse and Medieval Scandinavian Studies, Scandinavian Section, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Published February 22, 2001 by Penguin. 480 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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In this survey of their surprisingly complex society, spanning the three centuries from the island's settlement to 1260 when the king of Norway took control of it, Byock shows the Icelanders as a strong-willed and legally minded people who managed to carve a living as farmers out of an inhospitab...

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