Sunday, May 27, 2012

BC2012: A Viking Voyage by W. Hodding Carter

One night last year, I stopped in at the Oak Brook Borders just fifteen minutes before closing time. For some reason, I headed directly to the travel section and this book practically jumped off the shelf. I've read two books by W. Hodding Carter -- Westward Whoa, a modern recreation of the journey of Lewis & Clark, and Stolen Water, wherein the author figuratively and literally explores the Florida Everglades -- and enjoyed both. With Norwegian and Swedish family heritage, I have a natural interest in the Vikings and their adventures. So this book brings together an author I like and a subject that fascinates me. And best of all, although A Viking Voyage came out in 2000, I had no idea this book even existed before I saw it that night.

I started reading with high expectations, and A Viking Voyage did not disappoint. Carter starts with a crazy idea and makes it come true. He organizes an expedition to follow Leif Eriksson's suspected route from Greenland to Newfoundland. This book describes the whole process, from choosing a builder to construct an authentic Viking knarr to the crew's two attempts at making the journey. Carter writes with humility, awe, and of course the sense of humor that makes his books so enjoyable.


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