The Long Ships
The Long Ships
New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590173466, 503pp.
Publication Date: July 6, 2010
Michael Meyer is currently Director of Communications for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Between 1988 and 1992, he was "Newsweek"'s Bureau Chief for Germany, Central Europe and the Balkans, writing more than twenty cover stories on the break-up of communist Europe and German unification. He is the winner of two Overseas Press Club Awards and appears regularly as a commentator for MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, C-Span, NPR and other broadcast network. He previously worked at the "Washington Post" and "Congressional Quarterly". He is the author of the "Alexander Complex" (Times Books, 1989), an examination of the psychology of American empire builders. He lives in New York City.
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Summerland (a novel for children), The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and Gentlemen of the Road, as well as the short story collections A Model World and Werewolves in Their Youth and the essay collections Maps and Legends and Manhood for Amateurs. He is the chairman of the board of the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
"It's terrific fun, the kind of book that moves the fustiest of critics to pronounce it a rollicking yarn or something to that effect. Translation for us mere mortals: There are no boring parts to skip...Bengtsson writes the most delightful version of historical fiction...Here is the buried treasure, readers, newly unearthed. Now, go forth and read." --The Christian Science Monitor
"The literary equivalent of an action- and intrigue-filled adventure movie that won't insult your intelligence...Orm is a charismatic character, and Bengtsson is an infectiously enthusiastic and surprisingly funny writer — even readers with zero interest in the Europe of a millennium ago will want to keep turning the pages. All novels should be so lucky as to age this well." --NPR
"A household name in Scandinavian literature since its publication during World War II, the title The Long Ships is recognizable to English-speakers, if at all, from a tenuously related 1964 epic with Sidney Poitier. New York Review Books reckons to remedy that with this 500-page hunk chronicling 20 years in the life of Red Orm, a son of Skania, born during the reign of Harald Bluetooth, who first goes a-viking as a teen....And if the company of so many burly, bearded heroes can weary, Bengtsson's clear-eyed witnessing of a new world dawning does not." —L Magazine
“This extraordinary saga of epic adventure on land and sea…is a masterpiece of historical fiction…The Long Ships should be a rare delight. And not least of the rewards of reading Mr. Bengtsson's gorgeous romance is the sly humor that is sprinkled through it.” -Orville Prescott, The New York Times
Bengtsson “keeps his readers eager for the next chapter. He has a sharp eye for the picturesque and the comic in daily living, and though his style is sophisticated he often writes with a kind of festive abandon.” -Hudson Strode The New York Herald Tribune
“This is a lusty man's book that women, too, will enjoy.” -Margaret Widdemer, The Philadelphia Inquirer
“The Long Ships has many virtues of the true story-teller's art…Under the merriment and the fighting there is a great deal of scholarship as sound as it is imperceptible. Reading this marvelously good-humored ale-broth of a book, you say: this is how it must have been to be a Viking chief a thousand years ago. And not such a bad life at that.” -Burke Wilkinson, The New York Times
A “wonderful adventure novel…” -Phillip French, The Observer
“Offers lusty Vikings lusting and looting, bedding and battling across Europe from the Ebro to the Dneiper.” -Time Magazine
“A splendidly robust saga of the Vikings…crackles with humour.” -Daily Telegraph
“The author and his excellent translator bring that old, warrior world alive with such vigorous enjoyment and simplicity that the deeds of those men roving about the world in their dragon ships seem as marvelous as those of our atomic age.” -Daily Telegraph
“A boldly illuminated picture of the Northmen…confidently recommended.” -The Times (London)
“A remarkable panorama of a vanished way of life.” -Times Literary Supplement
“A banquet of adventure by sea and land, with man-size helpings of battle and murder, robbery and rape.” -New Statesman
“Lusty and uninhibited…a tour de force.” -Evening News
“Still the king of books about Vikings…the Vikings liked to row and sail and fight. That's what they do in this action-packed epic.” -Bookmarks Magazine
"Even though The Long Ships was first published in 1941, it remains the literary equivalent of an action-and intrigue-filled adventure movie that won't insult your intelligence...Bengtsson is an infectiously enthusiastic and surprisingly funny writer--even readers with zero interest in the Europe of a millennium ago will want to keep turning the pages."
--Michael Schaub, NPR.org