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Iceland: Land of the Sagas Paperback – October 6, 1998
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The Amazon Book Review
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From the Inside Flap
sed our fists and cheered. . . . With the sagas in our heads, with Iceland at its wildest beneath our boots, it would not have been impossible to see Bárdr clumping along the summit ridge, prodding the glacier with his staff, ready to show us the way down."
Iceland is a pictorial classic on one of the last "undiscovered" countries in Europe--reissued for the first time in paperback.
Iceland is often thought to be covered by ice, but in fact it is gloriously green. Lush meadows, wildflower fields, and miles of rich tundra cover a landscape of remarkable variety: deep lakes, bubbling hot springs, tumbling waterfalls, snow-capped mountains. It's also a landscape amazingly alive with massive lava flows and enormous glaciers. The human story of Iceland goes back more than eleven thousand years, and its heritage is told here in a treasury of riveting sagas of real-life heroes and all manner of supernatural beings.
About the Author
Jon Krakauer is an editor-at-large for Outside magazine and is the author of Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, and Eiger Dreams. His work also appears in Smithsonian and National Geographic. He and his wife live in Colorado.
David Roberts is a contributing editor to Outside magazine and is the author of several books, including Once They Moved Like the Wind and In Search of the Old Ones.
Top customer reviews
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This book's coupling of storytelling and photography gives a sense of Icelandic history and values. Iceland is a very unique and special place. It's uniqueness is not entirely evident until we change the cultural lens through which we view a place we visit. This book successfully does just that.
On to the bad. While less than 1% of the land is inhabited, and while Iceland as a whole has a population of the same as a smallish city in the US, nearly every picture seems to be a picture of that 1% of inhabited and cultivated land. Moreover the text does not represent current thinking regarding the Sagas and is a bit dated (sagas are treated as purely historical).
On the whole, this is a book worth owning if you like sagas and have never been to Iceland. Otherwise, I am not sure I'd recommend it.
While Krakauer captures the scenery, including salt cod drying in the open air, Roberts fills in the text with the myths and legends.
Having recently returned from Iceland, I can attest that Krakauer's sumptuous photography truly depicts Iceland. Rugged peaks, sod houses, and the realm where glaciers and clouds meet are worthy additions to the book's visual feast.
However, it should be noted that the best way to see these is to make the journey, too!