The Modern Scholar: The Norsemen – Understanding Vikings and Their Culture by Michael D.C. Drout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The lecture series on the Vikings by Michael Drout does not disappoint. I have listened to several of his other lectures including The Anglo-Saxons and his lecture series on fantasy literature. As always, Drout does a great job. However, his Anglo-Saxon lectures are still my favorites!
The Viking series spends a lot of time on the Norse and Icelandic literature of the period. Drout is knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. His understanding of the material is helpful to listeners. Unlike other lectures dealing with the sagas (For example, Shutt’s Celts and Germans), Drout offers both a summary of the saga and explains the meaning of the story in Norse society. Other scholars do a fair job explaining the plot of the stories but do not take the extra step of explaining what the stories mean and why and how they were important to the culture.
Another aspect that makes Drout fun to listen to is his passion for the subject. I have only read The Saga of the Volsungs and while I enjoyed it, it was at times a little dry. But Drout makes the stories come alive and I finished the lectures with a desire to go and read some of the other sagas. He makes them sound so entertaining–if they aren’t!
If you like Drout’s other lectures or you have an interest in the Vikings and the people of Northern Europe I suggest this series.