Saxons, Vikings, and Celts

  • by Bryan Sykes
  • Narrated by Dick Hill
  • 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

WASPs finally get their due in this stimulating history by one of the world's leading geneticists. Saxons, Vikings, and Celts is the most illuminating book yet to be written about the genetic history of Britain and Ireland.
Through a systematic, 10-year DNA survey of more than 10,000 volunteers, Bryan Sykes has traced the true genetic makeup of British Islanders and their descendants. This historical travelogue and genetic tour of the fabled isles, which includes accounts of the Roman invasions and Norman conquests, takes listeners from the Pontnewydd cave in North Wales, where a 300,000-year-old tooth was discovered, to the resting place of "The Red Lady" of Paviland, whose anatomically modern body was dyed with ochre by her grieving relatives nearly 29,000 years ago.
A perfect work for anyone interested in the genealogy of England, Scotland, or Ireland, Saxons, Vikings, and Celts features a chapter specifically addressing the genetic makeup of those people in the United States who have descended from the British Isles.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thesaurus taxing mind numbing travelog

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I'm not a fan of this narratiator to start with but in this particular recording his lilting emphasis on words/phrases becomes so faint at (many) times that words are entirely lost, especially if listening in a car, and this means many 'rewinds' to catch what was said.


What could Bryan Sykes have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

He could have talked about the genetics of Saxons, Vikings and Celts. Or better yet leave book as is and chang the title to something more like: Musings on the mystic beauty of the Isles, possible historic events and some suggestive supportive genetic data.


How could the performance have been better?

Technically the recording was fine - no dropped mics, etc.


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Saxons, Vikings, and Celts?

Either most of it - we only get about eight sentences in the whole book that mention genetics specifically by region anyway - or better yet just change the title to reflect the true content of the book.


Any additional comments?

Out of about 300 books I have bought over the years from audible this is only the third that I would like my money back on (Disappearing Spoon & Michael Palins Around the World are the others). 'Spose one out of a hundred isnt so bad though.

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- Twang "Yet Reader"

Makes history and myth come alive

Data is not understood in a vacuum, so the author first enchants the listener with the history and myths of the people of Great Britain and relates that to what his DNA analysis tells him. The story comes alive when he explains the history and myth of the British, and he writes better than almost anyone on those topics.

The author steps you through past attempts at understanding the genetics of the British and how DNA can be used to help deconvolve the problem.

He never lets the science or the data get in the way of telling a good narrative and at times the book was like listening to a beautiful song.
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- Gary "l'enfer c'est les autres"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-07-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio