The Last Viking: The True Story of King Harald Hardrada

by Don Hollway

Hardcover, 2021



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Osprey Publishing (2021), 368 pages


"The Last Viking tells the dramatic story of King Harald Hardrada of Norway, one of the greatest warriors to have ever lived. Drawing on original source material, Don Hollway recreates the violence and drama of the late Viking era in a gripping chronicle that transports the reader from the frozen wastelands of Scandinavia to the glittering opulence of the Byzantine empire and then finally to a muddy field of rural England. King Harald III (called Hardrada, or "Hard Ruler") of Norway was a real-life fantasy hero who burst into history as a teenaged youth in a Viking battle, from which he escaped with little more than his life and a thirst for vengeance. Journey with him across the medieval world, from the frozen barrens of the North to the glittering towers of Byzantium and the passions of the Holy Land. He'll fight for and against Christian, Muslim and pagan rulers. He'll bed handmaids, a princess and an empress alike, writing poetry and amassing a fortune along the way, before returning home to claim his love, his crown and his destiny, ultimately dying like a Viking: in battle, laughing, with sword in hand." --… (more)

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Timely Take-Aways for Life-Long Learners

Explore three new works of nonfiction focusing on the Viking experience.

The Viking Heart: How Scandinavians Conquered the World
Arthur Herman, August 2021, Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Themes: history, Vikings, Europe, Scandinavia, expeditions
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their role as foreign invaders to their contributions as settlers and global citizens, Herman effectively engages readers in the history of the Vikings as they explored the world seeking both conquest and a better life for their families.

The Last Viking: The True Story of King Harald Hardrada
Don Hollway
September 2021, Osprey/Macmillan
Themes: history, Vikings, medieval, military, biography
This fast-paced work of nonfiction narrative weaves together a wide range of historical accounts and legends to tell the true story of King Harald Hardrada of Norway. This larger than life Viking warrior traversed the world seeking vengeance, passion, and power.

Armies of the Vikings, AD 793-1066: History, Organization & Equipment
Gabriele Esposito, October 2021, Pen & Sword Military
Themes: history, Vikings, Europe, military
Exploring the military history (AD 793-1066) of the Vikings, this accessible work of nonfiction examines their global impact including key campaigns, battles, and warriors. Of particular note is the use of high quality color photographs of re-enactors and emphasis on strategy, tactics, weapons, armor, and clothing.

Let’s explore seven timely take-aways for life-long learners:

1. The significant contributions of Vikings and their Scandinavian descendants are often overlooked in favor of a narrative focusing on violence and domination.
2. While sometimes associated with white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups, DNA investigations have found that the Norsemen of the Viking era never formed a single race or national identity. Instead they can be defined by their shared cultural and spiritual way of life that transcends physical traits and specific locations.
3. While many other cultures placed emphasis on gender, birthright and status, the Vikings stressed leadership, loyalty, and courage in battle. As a result, diversity was the norm giving women and individuals not native to Norway the opportunity to excel.
4. Human-trafficking was common among Viking raiding parties contributing to their wealth. Slaves were a significant commodity in the domestic economy.
5. The term Viking didn’t become popularized until the nineteenth century.
6. King Harald Hardrada of Norway was a Viking warrior who took center stage near the end of the Viking era.
7. It’s often difficult to separate the fact from the fantasy when studying the Viking era. Historians must synthesize memoir, historical accounts, oral history, and Norse sagas to create an accurate narrative.

Whether helping educators keep up-to-date in their subject-areas, promoting student reading in the content-areas, or simply encouraging nonfiction leisure reading, teacher librarians need to be aware of the best new titles across the curriculum and how to activate life-long learning. - Annette Lam
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Physical description

368 p.; 9.56 inches


1472846524 / 9781472846525

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