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Norsemen (Myths & Legends)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,007 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A collection of myths that tell of the creation of the world, the deeds of such gods and heroes as Odin, Thor and Siegfried, the machinations of the evil Loki, and more. Entertaining and readable, these tales present the ancient Germanic and Scandinavian myths that have helped shape literature.

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a com
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 24th 1994 by Senate (first published 1908)
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Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
A few years ago, I had bought this book from Barnes and Noble's online store. I didn't realize until I started reading it and looked at the info on its Goodreads page, this book is actually a reprint from 1909. If I had known that, I would not have bought it.

The book is largely summarizes different Gods and some of the popular Norse stories. However, I would not recommend this book to anybody interested in learning Norse Mythology (maybe if you wanted some nice illustrations).

I wouldn't recomm
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A pretty poor mesh of hodge-podge Norse mythology with improperly interlaced commentary. In all honesty, a detrimental treatment insofar as the author judges the stories against Christian mythology. Open to suggestions of a better treatment of Norse mythology. I have been quite interested since reading Halldor Laxness.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If ever you wanted to know the background to just about every known Norse Myth, then this is your book. So complete is this volume that along with "The Children of Odin" both are used extensively by video game developers as reference.
Dont try and read from cover to cover (at 620 pages it would be quite a read) but I do recommend having it on your coffee table and dipping in and out when you have just finished a book or are bored with telly or with what you're reading.
Chris J
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed Guerber's classic text on Norse mythology. It gets my recommendation to anyone interested in gaining a baseline knowledge on the subject.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
If you visit any online bookseller offering H.A. Guerber's Myths and Legends of the Norsemen you're likely to find a number of scathing reviews about the volume that claim the author has "confused his quotations," cited inaccurate details, and is dependent on possibly non-existent sources. I find, unfortunately, that I must agree with some of these individuals. However, I think that they all fail to see the true value hidden in Guerber's volume.

While the information presented may in fact be outd
Sep 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myth-religion
Despite its age, Guerber’s “Myths of the Norsemen” is one of my all time favorite works on northern legend. I have Norwegian heritage, and as a child always took to heart the stories of Thor, Loki, Odin and the Jotun. As an adult I love picking out Norse mythology in my favorite video games and TV shows- until you know it, you’ll never realize how constantly bombarded you are with it. I never grew out of my interests in mythology, and when I happened across this book in B&N I bought it with ...more
Kid Disaster
we did it kids! i finally finished this book.

downloaded from FOR FREE PEOPLE!
i hear it has issues, and it is from 1909, so i'm sure there are different opinions now vs. then. but as a person who only knows names of a few gods, and nothing about their roles in norse myth (other than thor has a hammer - i did know that), this was a nice intro. it was dense, and i couldn't handle much at once (3 months total to read...)
and now i know my alfheim from my muspellsheim.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
This is an unaltered edition of the original 1900s work, and it definitely shows in places. It also lacks the charm of Colum's Victorian era collection, which was also bowdlerized but was so delightfully written you just didn't care.

Also the poetry excerpts were just painful. I finally started skimming whenever I saw one.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
A long overdue read for me. I was half-aware of most of these myths, but it was great to read them all in depth. These tales are almost identical in many ways to their southern neighbors, the Greeks. But I really love the Northern explanations of their extreme environment. The myths of fire and ice, frost and dew, ice-locked earth being released by the coming of the sun. It's super great.
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
s/o to my independent study for having me read books i would have read anyways
Phil Schuler
Not the best book on Norse mythology. Yes it was a reprint from 1909 but my problem is that the author only touches on some things and she tends to use British versions rather than staying with the original stories. I also understand that there is not a complete story from the original. I was disappointed that she did not expand on some chapters: the Norns for example. It was just a mishmash of a variety of stories with no real congruity to it. The last chapter was my least favorite of all and i ...more
Cody Lasko
Pretty standard mythological fare. Nothing particularly stands out about this collection. If you’re into Norse sagas and myth then this is going to be of interest. But if you’re not, well, it won’t be turning your crank.

Neil Gaiman certainly brought far more character to these tales in his own Norse Mythology. Give that a crack instead.
Stephen Simpson
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Imperfect (and certainly dated), but still a decent compilation and reference work on the subject
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Finding a way to make Norse Mythology painful reading takes a rare talent. The information is valid, but the delivery is horrible. There are better ways to spend your time learning about this subject.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the end of the day...I still like Greek mythology better.

However, I decided I couldn't punitively rate the book based on personal preference. That would be like stiffing the wait staff because I wasn't fond of what I ordered. The book was well-written, thorough, and almost mind-numbingly detailed.

If you're looking for an intro class into Norse mythology--here you go.

The author goes through each god/goddess, tells stories of each, and explains the possible source of the myth. She also goes t
Dave Holcomb
This is one of those books that pre-teen boys read back in the days when Arthur Conan Doyle and Nathaniel Hawthorne were on everybody's shelves. The author provides a considerable amount of scholarship in a fairly digestible style, rather like Edith Hamilton's take on the Greek and Roman myths. Guerber draws much of his material from primary sources, the Norse Eddas and Sagas, which gives this overview a strong sense of authenticity; he also offers a bit of context where appropriate, explaining ...more
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been a fantasy and mythology buff, so this is perfect for me. It recounts all the major players and the most famous tales, and then even goes into detail about the little-known tales. All is backed up with translated evidence from different original myth sources (usually poems), which are really cool to read in their originally-intended poetic language. There's even a section about how Norse and Greek myths compare. After reading this, I'm convinced that Norse myths trump the Greeks, ...more
I would have to say that this book is a bit dated and missing out on certain things. Although it mainly looks at the main players of the Gods and Goddess' along with the tales of Giants and Dwarfs as well.

The interesting thing about this book would be more for people researching, and by this I do mean basic research, on the Norse Gods. My one problem with this is the Loki section where he is regarded as being 'evil' and yet he has done good as well, not to mention he is the balance for the gods,
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology, norse
What I love about mythology is that it reminds me how similar we all are. You can find similar themes in all creation stories. It makes me believe that there must be a common story. It seems too coincidental that all the storie are so closely related. Take Norse mythology, for instance, after Ragnarok, there are two humans that survived and come forth to start the world over. It totally sounds like Adam and Eve.

Norse mythology is harsh. It represents the land of the Vikings - which was also har
Nostalgia Reader
Having been gradually picking up on Norse myths for the past few years, I figured that I knew enough of the basics that I should read up on the mythology for real, instead of just in random snippets.

This book was just as good in its story-telling and layout as Edith Hamilton's Mythology was for Greek/Roman myths. The book is set up into sections that cover each god individually, with information on their realms, features, powers, and major myths that involve them. It goes onto cover the other ra
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read! I've always liked to learn about different mythological stories, so being able to read and learn about the Norse myths was quite fascinating!
Some myths were very similar to others that I've heard, although characters were described differently (the 'fates' in Greek mythos are comparable to the Norse 'norns'...etc.)

Some of the stories were extremely entertaining! I particularly loved the ones with Thor and Loki. Loki is such a brat! Another fun tidbit is that when I watch
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
This is a very interesting survey of Norse mythology. It features descriptions of all of the major gods and races, and includes myths related to each. The book also discusses versions of the gods found in Germanic mythology and elsewhere, and includes some myths related to these as well. Overall I felt that I got a very well-rounded picture of these (if you really get down to it) nebulous characters.
I especially appreciated the inclusion of fragments of poems included in the various chapters to
Después de haber leído su libro sobre la mitología greco-romana y haberlo disfrutado inmensamente, fue una muy grata sorpresa descubrir que Guerber había escrito otro libro sobre la mitología nórdica y después de haberlo leído me imposible no recomendarlo. Guerber tiene un estilo excelente que hace que el lector pueda mantenerse concentrado, con la más grande facilidad, a través de generaciones de generaciones de dioses. De la misma forma, ella incluye en sus relatos no solo las historias como l ...more
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, medieval
A fairly exhaustive review of ancient Scandinavian mythology. I have recently read a bunch of Vikings era historical fiction so this book helped fill in some of the gaps regarding the great Gods - Odin, Thor, etc. However, the text was difficult to read at times and was interspersed with poetry depicting the ancient tales. I would have preferred a more modern rendition with clear explanation of how each figure related to another. This book was hard to follow at times. You need to read it in nume ...more
Mark Neumayer
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of stories in this book, more than you would get from just picking up a copy of the Eddas. The only drawback is that it was written a long time ago and there are statements in here that have since been questioned, if not disproved.
There is frequent mention of "various sources" although we are never told the identity of those sources. It would have been nice to have a bibliography at the end of the book or footnotes of some sort to aid further research.
If you're just looking for
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, by far, the most thorough and accessible book on Norse Mythology I have ever come across. Information on mythology concerning the northern countries (Denmark, Norway, Scandinavia and Iceland, mainly) is murky at best, compiled by whatever records surviving to today. As a lover of myth, I often found myself frustrated by the scarcity of deeper information concerning Norse Mythology. Ms. Guerber brings so much to your fingertips in this book. I highly recommend giving this book your time ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An "Edith Hamilton" style summary of the various Norse gods, goddesses and the myths surrounding them. A little dry at times, but full of facts and tales of the Norse. I thought the section that compared the Greek gods with the Norse gods was stretched considerably in some places. Probably not a sit down and read book, but more of a reference book for someone studying Norse culture or reading Norse sagas or eddas.
Dec 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norse-mythology
Shameless reprint of a book from 1909, making it outdated and inaccurate.

It invented a third wife and several children for Loki, out of thin air, with no sources. I'm still red in the face thinking that this is one of the main books about this subject you can walk up to Barnes & Noble and buy. It's cover is so nice. :/
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Hélène Adeline Guerber (1859 – 1929), better known as H.A. Guerber, was a British historian most well known for her written histories of Germanic mythology.

Her most well known work is Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas - George G. Harrap and Co. Ltd., 1908 in London.

Other histories by Guerber include Legends of the Rhine (A.S. Barnes & Co., New York, 1895; new edition 1905), Stori