Bill Dockery's Reviews > The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

The Far Traveler by Nancy Marie Brown
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's review
Feb 06, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 07-reads
Read in November, 2007

Nancy Brown has written what I'd have to call a speculative biography of a Viking woman who may have visited North America before Columbus. In teasing out the details of Gudrid's life from stories in the Icelandic sagas and the archaeological record in Iceland, Greenland, and maritime North America, Brown opens up the social, cultural, and economic world of the Vikings of the North Atlantic in ways that make them more than just marauding pirates. That world is just as fascinating as civilization of southern Europe that has so dominated our understanding of Western history. Biggest surprise: Iceland is today a desert island (arctic desert, to be sure) because the farming practices of 10th-century Vikings denuded the island of its forests and vegetation. Over all, a very good read, even given the sparsity of concrete biological details about Gudrid.

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