Read Iceland: Land of the Sagas by DavidRoberts Jon Krakauer Online


Co-produced by the author of the best-seller, Into Thin Air, a full-color, pictorial survey of the land and people of Iceland chronicles the authors' adventures as newcomers to the country....

Title : Iceland: Land of the Sagas
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375752674
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 160 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Iceland: Land of the Sagas Reviews

  • Samantha
    2019-04-06 23:37

    beautiful photos and interesting information about the sagas of iceland.

  • Carol
    2019-03-26 22:38

    3.5 stars. A look at Iceland through the lens of the Icelandic sagas with splendid photographs. I expected a modern travel memoir, à la Lonely Planet; instead it intertwines the sagas with the geography of the island. This book and another recent read, Call the Nurse — set in the Scottish Hebrides — remark that these island cultures retain much medieval influence. I know that Iceland works to keep the culture pure. An acquaintance of mine recently married an Icelander and had a baby. They could only name the child from an approved list of Icelandic names. This book is great for those who squirrel random facts away for a rainy day.• Reykjavik from the Old Norse is translated Bay of Smoke (from steaming hot springs)• In Iceland twenty times as many books are published per capita as in the United States.• Geysir, a periodically spouting hot spring in southwestern Iceland, has become the generic name for all waterspouts.• Icelandic is so close to Old Norse that schoolchildren can read medieval classics with ease.• Puffin hunting, a dangerous and occasionally deadly sport, is done with a net on a long pole. The hunter crouches on a steep slope, swinging the net when puffins fly close. If you lose your balance, you fall to the sea. • Egg gathering on the cliff faces is another wild and crazy sport. It involves a stake in the ground, a rope, swinging down the cliff with an apron to hold the eggs. • Icelandic women are considered among the most beautiful on earth.• Christianity became the state religion in 1000 A.D.; however, 92% of Icelanders never read the Bible.

  • Caitlin
    2019-04-11 22:48

    This little book is a great introduction to a mysterious European country: Iceland. I think Iceland is an elusive country for a lot of people, maybe even one that most people don't think often think about. It is a country that I long to visit and I think that my husband and I will get to go at the end of April. Iceland was founded by Vikings but is now a modern, if tiny, European country. For all its modernism, Roberts makes the claim that their historical legacies (largely made up of medieval saga literature, their unique pure bread horses and sheepdogs, and the entire landscape)loom large in Icelanders' self-identity. The book is full of beautiful (if a little grainy) photos of an awesome landscape. Waterfalls, green hills, lava caves, etc. make up this magical, mythical, but very real land. Icelanders to this day believe in trolls and elves, or at the very least, don't deny the possibility of their existence. Roberts does a nice job discussing the different sagas, most written in the 13th century. There are a lot of them and they are riddled with violence, history, curses, the idea that Fate controls the lives of everyone. But they make up the core of cultural memory: even with their literary techniques and imagination, these sagas show the indomitable spirit of the early Icelanders and how they differentiated themselves from other Norse peoples by forging a country out of inhospitable conditions.

  • Matt
    2019-04-01 03:40

    I picked this up at the library in preparation for an upcoming trip to Iceland, and this made the book particularly enjoyable as a blend of travel guide, history lesson, and mythology. Since we've been planning the trip, I already had a basic understanding of Iceland's geography, and that was helpful - surprisingly, the book does not include a map.The narrative wanders around Iceland in a more-or-less counter-clockwise fashion, starting in the southwest (Reykjavik), which is the same route we're planning. Roberts explains the history and heritage of the island primarily through the Sagas, which provide a strange mix of sober history and obvious myth. The heroes may not have actually wrestled with ghosts and she-trolls, but their existence is certain, at least in some cases. You can still visit the graves of some of these tenth-century legends (and I hope to see one or two in June!).The book also provides a wealth of interesting tidbits, such as this one: Iceland is the only place in the world whose first human inhabitants were literate - it has no prehistory.I might have to look into some of the Sagas now!

  • Brian
    2019-04-14 02:29

    This book was a big disappointment. Roberts and Krakauer. How could you go wrong? Well, the photos were amazing, but the text was all about these old Icelandic saga poems that were quite a bore to read through. The only part that was entertaining was an account of a climb they did that I already read in another book. I'd skip this one on the old bookshelf.

  • Lisago5
    2019-04-05 23:40

    I love the Icelandic Sagas from which Tolkien gathered and borrowed so many of his ideas for The Hobbit and his Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This book places the real life literary landmarks of the Sagas into a travel book with spectacular photography. Now I want to re-read the Sagas -- AND go to Iceland.

  • Dora
    2019-04-01 03:55

    Sounds really cool, actually. I took two Old Icelandic courses about a million years ago; they included some of the funniest and most interesting sagas I've ever read.

  • Cayla
    2019-04-06 02:43

    The book is a pretty interesting story of iceland. The author takes the reader on a tour of Iceland by way of telling stories of Iceland's sagas, which are stories documenting events of the 10th and 11th centuries in Iceland. As the author moved the reader around the county, the author explains what occurred, or allegedly occurred, in each location, and gives background information on the characters in the sagas. The book is filled with great photographs of Iceland to accompany the text. I generally found the book interesting and liked the layout. My only complaint is that it could at times become difficult to follow as the author moves around the county and in and out of various stories. I think it would be great if the author had a little map of Iceland at the bottom of each page with a star showing the location he was describing. Maybe a note as to which saga he was in would also be helpful. Otherwise, it was a good book!

  • Connie
    2019-04-18 03:45

    Sagas. Are they real? Are they just stories? An Interesting way to present Iceland to a reader. Trolls and witches and shape shifters are not of the Disney Variety, but dark and violent and accompanied by beautiful photography from Jon Krakauer, makes the reader live the history of this country. This is not a dull history lesson, but a description of a people still using the same language that has never changed. The crazy convoluted struggle to leave pagan ways behind and embrace Christianity, was interesting and so was the chapter on the women of Iceland.....strong and beautiful. I think this history will come alive on my trip to Iceland.

  • Alison Hoffmann
    2019-04-08 01:46

    Found this mostly helpful in preparation for a trip to Iceland, but, as it was published back in 1990, much has changed. I did enjoy the summaries of the sagas and their relationship to the geographical features of the landscape, as well as the historical information, which made the tourist sites I visited more meaningful. Still, a map might have helped in referencing the areas discussed in the text. Actually found this more useful than the Lonely Planet guide to Iceland I bought, which was nearly worthless, the info was so incorrect and/or outdated. Photos really capture the sense of the landscape, including the perpetually grey summer skies.

  • Corrina
    2019-04-18 04:32

    I checked this out from the library because I noticed (while doing other research) that Krakauer had done the photographs. And they are gorgeous. This book is a wonderful, accessible introduction to Iceland and the sagas in Old Norse that make up the "golden age" of that island's history. And no book of Krakauer's would be complete without a mountain climb... But I found it most fun to read that when the Vikings landed in Iceland, the Irish were ALREADY THERE. In smaller, less advanced boats. That sure helped me to understand why the Irish were the only ones to repel the vikings when the serious invasions started...

  • Nell Chitty
    2019-03-24 05:54

    The book was written for an American audience and has many interesting facts about Iceland with a focus on the country's history and stories. The photos are very noisy and would have been better suited to being printed in a smaller book. Similarly, the text to expansive for a book this tall and wide, and would have benifet end from sub-sections within each chapter to organize the content into a more approachable structure paired with the photographs.

  • Danarae
    2019-03-26 01:40

    Ho hum. At first I was excited, because Jon Krakauer had a hand in this book. Unfortunately, he just took the pictures - which are spectacular - but the writing is lackluster. I'm not big into myths, and that's what this entire book is about. Interesting note, though: Iceland was settled by a Norwegian.

  • Gemma Alexander
    2019-04-10 03:44

    It's not very useful as a travel guide, and lacks enough story to be a really good travel memoir. But I think my interest in Iceland stems from the trip these two took; there was an article by the authors in Outside magazine about how wonderful Iceland is that I read at about the same time the book came out. And the photos are beautiful. I think this book is best as a coffee table book.

  • Angie
    2019-04-14 22:34

    Now that we see such high-def imagery all the time, the photos in this book seemed a little old and grainy. But it was a light trek into the sagas. I also tried to read the actual sagas themselves - I was more successful with this book.

  • Katherine
    2019-03-27 01:38

    Reading about the different Icelandic sagas was fun and the history was good. Was disappointed with the photographs though impossible to tell if the photos weren't good or if the prints in the book were poor quality. It was an older book.

  • Fred Rose
    2019-04-11 23:48

    A lovely book and a nice introduction to the Sagas. Read it in preparation for travel to Iceland, it was a recommendation from Icelandic descendants. Beautiful photographs. I like the sagas connection to real places that just there in the countryside. Those old Vikings were tough birds.

  • Anna
    2019-04-01 21:55

    Such beautiful photos! Such violent sagas! This book felt a big random in its organization to me but I still enjoyed it. Thanks, Aslaug! I shall return it soon. I need to go to Iceland in the summer!

  • Lillian Carl
    2019-04-15 21:50

    A book comparing Iceland's dramatic landscape with the stories told in its sagas, with lots of photographs capturing that stark but compelling beauty. Some of the statistics are a bit out of date, but it's a good introduction to Iceland.

  • Valerie
    2019-04-02 00:46

    Stunning photographs and an excellent historical and sagalistic account of Iceland's landscape and history. I learned that the word for god send, literally translates as stranded whale. Really made me want to read/reread some of the sagas.

  • Danielle Kolesnikov
    2019-04-06 23:30

    Perfect book to read before my Iceland trip!

  • Philippe Mckay
    2019-04-08 02:47

    just as beautiful as norton in spring

  • Andrew
    2019-04-07 22:41

    Nice photos. The text is mostly about the medieval sagas, which I haven't read yet so I skipped through a lot of it to avoid spoilers.

  • Bruce
    2019-04-16 03:56

    Good background to the sagas and character of Iceland. Interesting that Krakauer did the photos and not the writing.

  • Aaron Hollander
    2019-04-16 01:49

    Informative on the history of this isolated island nation, great large photos.

  • Susan
    2019-04-07 23:44

    A meaty introduction to Iceland that draws on Sagas and travelers' tales to illuminate the nation's landscape and history. It ends with a real bang!

  • Rod Barnes
    2019-04-04 05:47

    Beautiful island, fascinating history.

  • Z
    2019-03-29 01:38

    Surprisingly interesting. A decent mix of "history" and travel info. It kind of makes me want to visit Iceland...especially the chapter that waxes semi-poetic about all the beautiful women.

  • Tamara
    2019-04-13 22:46

    Wonderful photos combined with history and The Sagas of the Icelanders. Iceland has a rich and fascinating history.

  • Serena
    2019-04-03 03:32

    For travel to Iceland