In this robust new account of the Vikings, Tom Shippey explores their mindset, and in particular their fascination with scenes of heroic death. Laughing Shall I Die considers Viking psychology by weighing the evidence of the sagas against the accounts of the Vikings' victims. The book recounts many of the great bravura scenes of Old Norse literature, including the Fall of the House of the Skjoldungs, the clash between the two great longships Ironbeard and Long Serpent, and the death of Thormod the skald. The most exciting book on Vikings for a generation, Laughing Shall I Die presents them for what they were: not peaceful explorers and traders, but bloodthirsty warriors and marauders.
`As tough and uncompromising as the Viking heroes whose lives and deaths it recounts, Tom Shippey's book also shares their dark sense of humour . . . Shippey upsets entrenched positions, dissects legend from history, and reveals how the Vikings were able to dominate in the North for more than three centuries.' - Carolyne Larrington, Professor of Medieval European Literature, University of Oxford.
Tom Shippey is Professor Emeritus of Saint Louis University, Missouri, and concurrently Senior Research Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. His books include J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (2010), The Road to Middle Earth (4th revd edn, 2004), and Hard Reading: Learning from Science Fiction (2017).