From a New York Times best-selling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist, a sweeping epic of how the Vikings and their descendants have shaped history and America
Scandinavia has always been a world apart. For millennia Norwegians, Danes, Finns, and Swedes lived a remote and rugged existence among the fjords and peaks of the land of the midnight sun. But when they finally left their homeland in search of opportunity, these wanderers—including the most famous, the Vikings—would reshape Europe and beyond. Their ingenuity, daring, resiliency, and loyalty to family and community would propel them to the gates of Rome, the steppes of Russia, the courts of Constantinople, and the castles of England and Ireland. But nowhere would they leave a deeper mark than across the Atlantic, where the Vikings’ legacy would become the American Dream.
In The Viking Heart, Arthur Herman melds a compelling historical narrative with cutting-edge archaeological and DNA research to trace the epic story of this remarkable and diverse people. He shows how the Scandinavian experience has universal meaning, and how we can still be inspired by their indomitable spirit.
“Arthur Herman has produced a remarkably well-researched and well-written book—a must-read work both for anyone from the Nordic peoples who have so affected world history, but also for the rest of us. It is the story of how modern democracy was protected, Protestantism was saved from extinction, and kingdoms were established far from the fjords. Herman shows all the light and shade of the Viking legacy, as the world was transfixed in fear at the sound of the berserker battle-cry.”—Andrew Roberts, New York Times best-selling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny
“Heroic battles, sea adventures, empires rising and falling, voyages of discovery, and archaeological detective work—The Viking Heart shines brilliantly with them all. Arthur Herman triumphs with a stirring investigation of the Scandinavian influence on our times, both past and present. You won’t look at the world the same way again.”—Neal Bascomb, New York Times best-selling author of The Winter Fortress
“The experience that Arthur Herman describes of the great Scandinavian diaspora—its passionate search for freedom, its love of community, its fearlessness in the face of harsh and unforgiving environments—is a story of joy and suffering I embrace as my own, and it never has been better told. Peering down from his picture on my wall, my great-grandfather (who emigrated from Sweden in 1880) would surely, and quietly, agree.”—Allen Carl Guelzo, New York Times best-selling author of Gettysburg: The Last Invasion