Free Ebook Offer: The Story of America: Discovery - Article 2
Just think. If the Vikings had made just that little extra effort to stay on in America when they first arrived just over 1000 years ago then the modern history of not only North America but the whole continent might have started 500 years earlier in 992AD rather than 1492AD.
And that would have meant there would be an extra 500 years of this enthalling history to read; and an extra 500 years of the American dream to follow.
They couldn't have been too far from staying - after all they had already started permanent settlements on both Iceland and Greenland and surely North America must have seemed a pretty attractive proposition compared to either of those cold, inhospitable, barren lands.
Even their own records, their sagas, are full of vivid descriptions of the amazing landscapes across what is nowadays New England, with the sandy beaches, wooded hills and fast-flowing torrents; not to mention the plentiful supplies of salmon, game and wild grapes and the endless forests of timber. And don't forget these were the very same tough, formidable warriors who had already conquered much of England, Ireland and northern France. They were certainly no weaklings!
No, something must have put them off big time, because although both their sagas and modern archaeology confirm that they definitely DID reach North America, by 1002AD, a mere 10 years after their first sighting of the previously unknown land, they had loaded their longships with their possesions and livestock and headed back to Greenland for the last time.
Surely the distance didn't put them off, and the climate would have been much kinder than they were accustomed too in Greenland, Iceland or their native Scandinavia, and we know they had plenty of food and resources.
No, it must have been the Skraelings (the Viking name for the natives - meaning savages) who ended their dream. The very same AmerIndians who were to give the English settlers such a torrid time over 600 years later and who all but spelt the end of English colonization of North America too. It was the Skraelings who forced them to retreat and even put them off any further attempts to return to the great lands to the west.
The Vikings were just too few in numbers and too unprepared to tackle such a ferocious onslaught. They retreated wisely, reasoning that they would be better off as live Vikngs on freezing Greenland than dead Vikings in warm and pleasant America.
Things might have been different, but then..... .
This excerpt is from Discovery - The Story of America by Anthony Treasure. This book is already published in the UK (listed on Amazon.co.uk) and is due to be published in the US at a later date. For now it is published as an ebook and as a SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER Discovery Part One is available to download COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE. Three further titles - Discovery Part Two, Colonization Part One and Colonization Part Two are also out as ebooks and can be bought and downloaded from the website. To claim your free ebook today simply visit www.farawaybooks.com">http://www.farawaybooks.com
Prolific author William E. Butterworth III, who wrote under the name W.E.B. Griffin, has died aged 89.
The writer Andrea Levy, who explored the experience of Jamaican British people in a series of novels over 20 years has died, aged 62, from cancer.
After starting to write as a hobby in her early 30s, Levy published three novels in the 1990s that brought her positive reviews and steady sales. But her fourth novel, Small Island, launched her into the literary big league, winning the 2004 Orange prize, the Whitbread book of the year and the Commonwealth Writers' prize, selling more than 1m copies around the world and inspiring a 2009 BBC adaptation.
Betty Ballantine, half of a groundbreaking husband-and-wife publishing team that helped invent the modern paperback and vastly expand the market for science fiction and other genres through such blockbusters as "The Hobbit" and "Fahrenheit 451," has died aged 99.
She was just 20 and attending school in England, in 1939, when she met and married 23-year-old Ian Ballantine, an American at the London School of Economics. Using a $500 wedding gift from Betty's father, the Ballantines started out as importers of Penguin paperbacks from England and founded two enduring imprints: Bantam Books and Ballantine Books, both now part of Penguin Random House.
In 1988 the 14th novel by a little-known 63-year-old British author was published in New York. The Shell Seekers, the 500-page story of a woman, Penelope Keeling, looking back on her life and loves during the second world war, took the US by storm.
The New York Times reviewer wrote: "Rosamunde Pilcher, where have you been all my life?" It sat in the bestseller list for 49 weeks in hardback and then tipped Tom Wolfe off the No 1 spot in paperback. The Shell Seekers was translated into more than 40 languages, selling around 10m copies.
Pilcher, who has died aged 94, wrote completely absorbing page-turners, taking what was called "romantic fiction" to an altogether higher, wittier level...
Dan Mallory, who writes under the name A. J. Finn, went to No. 1 with his début thriller, "The Woman in the Window." His life contains even stranger twists.
JD Salinger's son has confirmed for the first time that the late author of The Catcher in the Rye wrote a significant amount of work that has never been seen, and that he and his father's widow are "going as fast as we freaking can" to get it ready for publication.
Salinger died in 2010, leaving behind a small but perfectly formed body of published work that has not been added to since 1965's New Yorker story, "Hapworth 16, 1924." Rumors have circulated for years that the creator of one of the 20th century's most enduring characters, Holden Caulfield, continued to write over the ensuing decades he spent in the New Hampshire village of Cornish, far from public view.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, his son Matt Salinger has finally revealed, definitively, that his father never stopped writing and that "all of what he wrote will at some point be shared."
One of the biggest stars to come out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week wasn't a CEO or a head of state or a venture capitalist. It was Rutger Bregman, a Dutch journalist and historian, who used his speaking time at the conference to lambaste the rich attendees for failing to talk about the one thing we know could fight wealth inequality: raising taxes for the kind of people who go to Davos.
The winner of Australia's richest literary prize did not attend the ceremony. His absence was not by choice.
Behrouz Boochani, whose debut book won both the Aus$25,000 non-fiction prize at the Victorian premier's literary awards and the Aus$100,000 Victorian prize for literature on Thursday night, is not allowed into Australia.
The Kurdish Iranian writer is an asylum seeker who has been kept in purgatory on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for almost six years, first behind the wire of the Australian offshore detention centre, and then in alternative accommodation on the island.
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The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es has won the overall Costa Book Award, with the judges declaring it, "the hidden gem of the year."
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Steve Cavendish, a former editor of the Nashville Scene and Washington City Paper, writes about the dire state of local newspapers, and his hopes that his new venture, to relaunch the Nashville Banner online as a nonprofit, will provide a model that will revitalize local media:
Wednesday was a bloodbath for journalists. BuzzFeed said it would lay off 15 percent of its employees, and Verizon Media announced it would cut 7 percent from its newsrooms at HuffPost, AOL and Yahoo. Worst of all, a wave of layoffs tore through Gannett newsrooms across the country that day, hitting staffs that had already been thinned by years of nearly annual cuts. In December, Gannett's USA Today Network president, Maribel Wadsworth, told her employees that the nation's largest-circulation newspaper chain "will be a smaller company" in the future and, well, the future is now. Wadsworth is facing a lot of pressures: Print revenue is down, digital and mobile revenue aren't nearly enough, and now a hedge fund promising even deeper cuts wants to acquire the company. If the future of corporate news operations looks bleak, that's because it is.
In Tennessee, we've been watching the slow-motion destruction of our news institutions under Gannett for a few decades now, and the idea that things are about to get even worse is appalling. As badly as the country needs strong coverage of national news these days, the local news landscape is important, too. And what happened here mirrors what's already happened in city after city.