The History of Iceland

By Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson | Go to book overview

Bibliographic Essay

There are a number of general surveys on Icelandic history from the settlement to present times. Gunnar Karlsson’s Iceland’s 1100 Years: History of a Marginal Society (London: Hurst, 2000) is the most thorough and academic, if dry at times. A shorter version, which was written for the general reader, is A Brief History of Iceland (Reykjavík: Mál og menning, 2nd ed., 2010). For a solid, factual survey, see Gudmundur Hálfdanarson, The A to Z of Iceland (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2010).

A traditional view of Icelandic history is offered in Jón R. Hjálmarsson, History of Iceland: From the Settlement to the Present Day (Reykjavík: Forlagid, 4th ed., 2009). A fresher and more radical perspective can be found in Sigurdur Gylfi Magnússon, Wasteland with Words. A Social History of Iceland (London: Reaktion Books, 2010).

Recent historical and archeological views and findings on the discovery and settlement of Iceland are summarized in a short overview, The Settlement Exhibition (Reykjavík: Reykjavík City Museum, 2006). In 2000, the Smithsonian Institution celebrated the Norse discovery of Greenland and North America by an exhibition and a publication, William W. Fitzhugh and Elisabeth I. Ward (eds.), Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2000). For a more scholarly text, see James H. Barrett (ed.), Contact,

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