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Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir

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This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icela This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icelander’s success. Spurred by this favorable wind, Sverrir answered the call of his Viking forefathers, setting off on a voyage that took him around the world. Join him on his roaring adventures!


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This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icela This vivacious personal story captures the heart and soul of modern Iceland. Born in Reykjavik on the eve of the Second World War, Sverrir Sigurdsson watched Allied troops invade his country and turn it into a bulwark against Hitler’s advance toward North America. The country’s post-war transformation from an obscure, dirt-poor nation to a prosperous one became every Icelander’s success. Spurred by this favorable wind, Sverrir answered the call of his Viking forefathers, setting off on a voyage that took him around the world. Join him on his roaring adventures!

30 review for Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    What an interesting and adventurous life Sverrir Sigurdsson has had. This memoir firstly gives details of his family history in Iceland which is both fascinating and heart breaking. Living on a small, volcanic island close to the Arctic Circle, life was harsh and fraught with danger for those who fished the icy waters surrounding it. Like the early Vikings, many Icelanders had to look outward to other countries for work, education and a different lifestyle. Born just before WW2, the author grew What an interesting and adventurous life Sverrir Sigurdsson has had. This memoir firstly gives details of his family history in Iceland which is both fascinating and heart breaking. Living on a small, volcanic island close to the Arctic Circle, life was harsh and fraught with danger for those who fished the icy waters surrounding it. Like the early Vikings, many Icelanders had to look outward to other countries for work, education and a different lifestyle. Born just before WW2, the author grew up in the shadow of war when Iceland was occupied by the Allies. His childhood was hard and after high school he had to move away to study at University. He chose Finland and it says a great deal about his determination to succeed that he learned another language. After graduating as an Architect, his work then took him to many countries including the Middle East, several African countries and eventually to America where he landed a job with the World Bank. All his working life was spent endeavouring to improve the lot of the lives of those in poorer countries and he should be rightly proud of all he has accomplished. . He has finally retired to Chesapeake Bay with his wife Veronica Li where he designed and built his own house. I enjoyed this book very much. I liked reading the historical aspects and also enjoyed looking at the photographs which were included. What a life, what a story he has to tell!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Frank Parker

    If you are seeking proof of the old adage that travel broadens the mind, look no further than this informative memoir. Sverrir Sigurdsson is an Icelander. For him and his fellow countrymen travel is in their DNA, from their Viking ancestors who colonised most of Northern Europe and parts of North America long before Columbus. Sigurdsson begins his story with the history of each of his parents. Like most of their generation of Icelanders in the early ears of the twentieth century, they were self s If you are seeking proof of the old adage that travel broadens the mind, look no further than this informative memoir. Sverrir Sigurdsson is an Icelander. For him and his fellow countrymen travel is in their DNA, from their Viking ancestors who colonised most of Northern Europe and parts of North America long before Columbus. Sigurdsson begins his story with the history of each of his parents. Like most of their generation of Icelanders in the early ears of the twentieth century, they were self sufficient, dependent upon farming and/or fishing for their livelihoods. Both are of course subject to the vagaries of climate, especially so for a small country close to the Arctic Circle where winter can last for half of each year. Having thus provided a brief but comprehensive overview of the history and geography of Iceland, he describes the two educational institutions he attended in the 1940s. Like many of his fellow countrymen he completed his education in a neighbouring country. In this case Finland. Once again we are given an insight into the history of that nation and its relationship with Russia. Sigurdsson studied architecture. He began his career as an architectural draughtsman, designing details of windows, staircases and doors for apartment blocks whilst studying in the Finish capital, Helsinki. After graduation he received an offer of a job in Kuwait. I won't spoil the story for readers by continuing with the details of his career and travels. Suffice to say that he secured a number of roles within the World Bank, overseeing the construction and provisioning of schools and colleges in several developing countries. Each gave him the opportunity to explore his surroundings and absorb local history and culture. And it brought him to his ultimate destination, the USA - specifically Washington DC, location of the Bank's headquarters. Following retirement he designed and built his own house on the shores of Chesapeake Bay. The writing style makes this book easy to read. No doubt this is down to his co-author, his second wife, the journalist and novelist Veronica Li (there is a chapter devoted to a frank account of the breakdown of his first marriage). At the end of the book is a handy guide to pronunciation of the Icelandic language. There is a great deal of difference between travel, as exemplified here, in which the traveller gains new insights and knowledge about the places he or she visits, and tourism. All too often the latter involves returning repeatedly to a familiar place in order to luxuriate in pleasant surroundings. In Sigurdsson's case, the former is a by-product of a life dedicated to improving the opportunities of others. On television Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley, and others share their travels with us. In this book Sigurdsson and Li have done the same. Until we are once again able to travel as freely as we did before the advent of Covid 19, we have the joy of books like Viking Voyager to entertain and inform us.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Lloyd

    From a childhood in wartime Iceland to retirement in Chesapeake Bay, Sverrir Sigurdsson followed the life of a modern-day Viking. Working and travelling widely in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa through turbulent times he has given us a life story full of fascinating encounters and observations. The development of Iceland from its simple, traditional lifestyle to the modern successful country of today is shown in the lives of Sverrir’s family and friends and you can’t help but admire From a childhood in wartime Iceland to retirement in Chesapeake Bay, Sverrir Sigurdsson followed the life of a modern-day Viking. Working and travelling widely in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa through turbulent times he has given us a life story full of fascinating encounters and observations. The development of Iceland from its simple, traditional lifestyle to the modern successful country of today is shown in the lives of Sverrir’s family and friends and you can’t help but admire his personal adaptability and skills. The range of languages he has acquired have enabled him, as a trained architect and later project manager of educational developments all over the world, to gain satisfaction in his achievements. There have been problems along the way in his personal life, but he has two successful children and happiness with his second wife Veronica Li who co-wrote this biography. I learnt a great deal about world history in the second half of the twentieth century from this informative book and the extraordinary escapades Sverrir experienced driving his family through remote parts of Asia and southern Africa are amazing to read. The inclusion of maps and photographs enhance the content. I would certainly enjoy sitting next to this energetic Viking at a dinner party, as I suspect he has many more tales to tell.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Poore

    What an interesting and fulfilling life Sverrir Sigurdsson has led. More ‘memoirs’ plural than singular, his autobiography makes fascinating reading given the broad spectrum of ‘Viking voyages’ he undertook. In a career that took him across the world and working with local people in every country where he was posted, he absorbed the life and culture of these diverse nations like a sponge. Although an architect by training, Sverrir’s talents and willingness to adapt led him to a much broader rang What an interesting and fulfilling life Sverrir Sigurdsson has led. More ‘memoirs’ plural than singular, his autobiography makes fascinating reading given the broad spectrum of ‘Viking voyages’ he undertook. In a career that took him across the world and working with local people in every country where he was posted, he absorbed the life and culture of these diverse nations like a sponge. Although an architect by training, Sverrir’s talents and willingness to adapt led him to a much broader range of skills culminating in several roles at the World Bank where he blossomed under the challenges. I thoroughly enjoyed travelling the world with Sverrir and would have loved to accompany him on some of his road trips through the Middle East and Africa. His has been a great life, well lived, and he is a magnificent example of the indomitable spirit of his forefathers. Highly recommended!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Mackay

    Sverrir Sigurdsson’s memoir, beautifully co-written with his wife Veronica Li, is a captivating and fast-paced account of the life of a professional architect in Scandinavia, the Middle East and a score of African and Eastern countries while their cultures were still unique, long before globalisation. One of this book’s many attractions lies in the periods it deals with, from the Second World War to the 70s well before rushing modernity homogenized the world. As a Scottish neighbour of the Icelan Sverrir Sigurdsson’s memoir, beautifully co-written with his wife Veronica Li, is a captivating and fast-paced account of the life of a professional architect in Scandinavia, the Middle East and a score of African and Eastern countries while their cultures were still unique, long before globalisation. One of this book’s many attractions lies in the periods it deals with, from the Second World War to the 70s well before rushing modernity homogenized the world. As a Scottish neighbour of the Icelanders, I knew a little of that small island but was delighted by the detail and history that the author adds. I was unaware of Operation Fork, the British invasion of Iceland in 1940 to forestall the German domination of the North Atlantic. As Sverrir admits, that period contributed greatly to the modernisation of Iceland and helped set it on a path of economic growth and independence from Denmark. When the author discusses his adventures in Africa, he thoughtfully reminds us of the names of the countries before independence and thus adds transparency to readers who, like me, remember the days of the British Empire. Sverrir Sigurdsson enjoys drawing the parallel between the wanderings and successes of his Viking forebears and his own adventures as a professional working for long periods in developing countries around the world. His experiences in and observations about the World Bank made me smile. As an international development programme evaluation specialist, I ran into World Bank experts on many continents. Like a true Viking, the author enjoyed the loot that working for the World bank affords. For readers who have travelled widely, this book will bring back fond memories and provide new insights. For readers who travel vicariously, Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir will afford much excitement and admiration for a life lived to the full.

  6. 5 out of 5

    S. Bavey

    I was sent a digital copy of Viking Voyager by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Sverrir! Viking Voyager is a memoir chronicling the life and travels of its author, Sverrir Sigurdsson. The first half of the book details the author’s childhood in Iceland and the historical and political events taking place in the country during that period. As a child the author lived in the capital city of Reykjavik. His mother and her compatriots kept certain traditions alive, such as Solarkaf I was sent a digital copy of Viking Voyager by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Sverrir! Viking Voyager is a memoir chronicling the life and travels of its author, Sverrir Sigurdsson. The first half of the book details the author’s childhood in Iceland and the historical and political events taking place in the country during that period. As a child the author lived in the capital city of Reykjavik. His mother and her compatriots kept certain traditions alive, such as Solarkaffi which was an annual celebration in the North of Iceland of the return of daylight – certain parts of northern Iceland get no daylight hours during winter. This is not the case in Reykjavik, but the annual celebration was kept alive nonetheless. We also learn of pranks undertaken at school and friendships made, and it becomes clear that Sigurdsson is still very fond of his roots. The story then moves to Finland, in 1958, where the author went to university at the age of nineteen, to study to become an architect. We learn about his struggles with the language and his experiences as a student apprentice in a couple of different architecture firms. The author intended to gain his architecture degree and travel a little and then return home to Iceland to help improve his beloved country’s infrastructure, but instead he kept going, gaining a wife and child before finishing his studies and following a career path that lead him to the Middle East, then onto Africa, with UNESCO and the World Bank, then to Asia, and finished with him settling down in the United States. He is now retired, and still lives in the USA, returning to his native Iceland every other year, during which trips he pays respects to the towns his mother and father originated from. I visited Iceland a couple of decades ago and fell in love with the country. It is easy for me to see why Sverrir Sigurdsson would want to return every couple of years to such a unique, magical place. I loved the plentiful photos and maps the author included throughout this memoir, they really helped to bring the locations and people described to life. He has done plenty of research about his homeland and his other destinations and delivers historical and political information and anecdotes about traditions with lots of interesting detail and with depth and charm. There is also a very useful guide to the pronunciation of the Icelandic words used throughout the first half of the book included at the back of the book. I would recommend this book to fans of memoirs and travel who like to get their teeth into the politics and history of a destination, rather than just visit its tourism sights, or to anyone intrigued by Iceland and looking to learn a little more about the country’s history and traditions. The author is a highly intelligent man and his memoir is educational, entertaining and captivating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Billy Buttons

    Title: Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir Author: Sverrir Sigurdsson with Veronica Li Star Rating: 4 Stars Number of Readers: 16 Stats Editing: 8/10 Writing Style: 7/10 Content: 8/10 Cover: 5/10 Of the 16 readers: 12 would read another book by this author. 8 thought the cover was good or excellent. 16 felt it was easy to follow. 13 would recommend this story to another reader to try. Of all the readers, 10 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘subject knowledge’. Of all the readers, 3 felt the author’s stro Title: Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir Author: Sverrir Sigurdsson with Veronica Li Star Rating: 4 Stars Number of Readers: 16 Stats Editing: 8/10 Writing Style: 7/10 Content: 8/10 Cover: 5/10 Of the 16 readers: 12 would read another book by this author. 8 thought the cover was good or excellent. 16 felt it was easy to follow. 13 would recommend this story to another reader to try. Of all the readers, 10 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘subject knowledge’. Of all the readers, 3 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘writing style’. Of all the readers, 2 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘clarity of the message’. 13 felt the pacing was good or excellent. 12 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted. Readers’ Comments “Iceland is not a country I know much about, but after reading this book it's a country I now very much want to visit. I thought the author had a lively, fun style of writing, and he was able to express his love of the island and of traveling throughout the book.” Male reader, age 52 “I last went to Iceland about 20 years ago on my way between the US and Sweden. I stopped off for three days with my wife and we visited Gullfoss and a number of very hot springs. This author delights in describing the recent history of the island and how it's progressed so much since World War Two. He's also a traveler, and that was almost as interesting. I'd recommend this book to anyone thinking of visiting the island or simply interested in how it's developed so much in such a short time.” Male reader, age 64 “There's a lot of detail in this text, so it's little hard going in parts. But it's also an enthralling read and I think it will be of great interest to travelers to the country.’ Female reader, aged 62 “As it's a memoir and very much written from the author’s perspective, there is a slant to it. But that is why it’s interesting. I know the cover is a little bland and uninspiring, but the book is not.” Female reader, age 38 To Sum It Up: ‘Not only a well written memoir, but an interesting take on Icelandic history from post-World War Two until present day. A RED RIBBON WINNER and highly recommended.’ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    What a fascinating life this author has led! I was intrigued by his memoir because I've been interested in Iceland since I was in grade school, and I've been fortunate enough to visit the country twice. In this book, the reader gets a detailed history and an excellent picture of what it was like to live there in the mid-twentieth century. Like his Viking ancestors, the author set out for adventure at an early age. He went to college in Finland, earning a degree in architecture. Various employment What a fascinating life this author has led! I was intrigued by his memoir because I've been interested in Iceland since I was in grade school, and I've been fortunate enough to visit the country twice. In this book, the reader gets a detailed history and an excellent picture of what it was like to live there in the mid-twentieth century. Like his Viking ancestors, the author set out for adventure at an early age. He went to college in Finland, earning a degree in architecture. Various employment opportunities took him to Kuwait, Malawi, Swaziland, and finally, Washington, D.C., where he held a position at the World Bank that required extensive travel around the globe. I admired how he was able to learn new languages and acquire new skills which propelled him to his next position. While living in each new country, he and his family always took advantage of the opportunity to explore the area, taking in the sights and experiences most tourists don't get. He has even included a few pictures and maps to help readers visualize the journey. The style is easy to follow and the narrative held my interest. Very informative!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Horvath

    Iceland is a beautiful country, and Sverrir’s colorful words exploded like fireworks describing it. Can you imagine living where you can’t see the sun for ten weeks each year? Bildudalur is where Sverrir’s mother lived, and they celebrated every January as soon as they saw the sun again. There is tons of fascinating history too. Iceland’s first parliament was at Thingvellir, where one of the geographical marvels of the world exists because the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet ther Iceland is a beautiful country, and Sverrir’s colorful words exploded like fireworks describing it. Can you imagine living where you can’t see the sun for ten weeks each year? Bildudalur is where Sverrir’s mother lived, and they celebrated every January as soon as they saw the sun again. There is tons of fascinating history too. Iceland’s first parliament was at Thingvellir, where one of the geographical marvels of the world exists because the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet there. I have a picture of myself standing over this exact enormous crack. Not that you are allowed, but my husband wasn’t there to stop me from capturing a picture of me and this death-defying feat. Sverrir walked on glaciers and shares all of his extraordinary experiences in Iceland and all over the world as he traveled. Africa is among these fascinating countries. I long to see many of the places in this memoir. You don’t want to miss this page-turner.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne Nassau

    Engrossing, entertaining, and educational Sverrir tells the story of his personal journey from an Icelandic farm boy to a poverty warrior in far-flung lands. Along the way, we learn a lot about Icelandic history and traditions, as well as the difficulties of building stuff in counties with few roads and expertise. His account is honest, colorful and wry, and the book is fun to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christina Jong

    A most entertaining and fun read about a man who was born in Iceland right before World War II, his life growing up there, and his adventures after becoming an architect, traveling the world and engaging in all sorts of projects for the UN and the World Bank. An extraordinary life for a seemingly ordinary man. An important read for anyone interested in Icelandic history and culture, or just want a delightful personal story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    June McIntosh

    This book was purchased from the author at the annual Icelandic fest in Washington, DC. Now, I don’t know what luck you’ve had buying books from local authors at street fairs etc, but in my experience, there has always been only one good piece of relevant advice: “Don’t do it!” Except, one does, to be supportive. THIS BOOK, however shows it’s worth the risk, because this book is FANTASTIC! Engaging and well-written, it provides a fascinating snapshot of the world in the mid to late 20th century, This book was purchased from the author at the annual Icelandic fest in Washington, DC. Now, I don’t know what luck you’ve had buying books from local authors at street fairs etc, but in my experience, there has always been only one good piece of relevant advice: “Don’t do it!” Except, one does, to be supportive. THIS BOOK, however shows it’s worth the risk, because this book is FANTASTIC! Engaging and well-written, it provides a fascinating snapshot of the world in the mid to late 20th century, as well as being the personal story of the very likable author. And if you’re a fan of Iceland like me, then of course this book is definitely for you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Growing up in the shadow of WW2 in a small and relatively undeveloped country, Sverrir and his counterparts became adults early. From the age of nine he spent his summers working on a farm, and I'm sure this aided his development to an independent and hard working adult. Moving from Iceland to study architecture at university in Finland, when he didn't speak the language, gives you an idea of the kind of person he is. I enjoyed the tales of his youth, but the book expands with his life as a qual Growing up in the shadow of WW2 in a small and relatively undeveloped country, Sverrir and his counterparts became adults early. From the age of nine he spent his summers working on a farm, and I'm sure this aided his development to an independent and hard working adult. Moving from Iceland to study architecture at university in Finland, when he didn't speak the language, gives you an idea of the kind of person he is. I enjoyed the tales of his youth, but the book expands with his life as a qualified architect, working with UNESCO and the World Bank, and his travels to many different countries and continents. I particularly enjoyed his experiences in South Africa during apartheid, and in the Middle East as it was starting to develop. Sverrir himself had a hand in many of the developments, and he gives a picture of a time now past that is fascinating to read. Now enjoying his retirement, he can be justly proud of a life well lived, and the achievements this Viking has given to the modern world.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    The Review A truly magnificent and engaging read, this book really does capture the adventurous spirit and rich history of Iceland and author Sverrir’s Viking forefathers. The balance of history, culture, and life experiences through travel was great to see unfold here, from Sverrir’s family history to setting out into the world and studying in Finland, to making a life and home after years of travel with his wife and co-author Veronica Li, this book really does a great job of educating and allow The Review A truly magnificent and engaging read, this book really does capture the adventurous spirit and rich history of Iceland and author Sverrir’s Viking forefathers. The balance of history, culture, and life experiences through travel was great to see unfold here, from Sverrir’s family history to setting out into the world and studying in Finland, to making a life and home after years of travel with his wife and co-author Veronica Li, this book really does a great job of educating and allowing the reader to identify with the authors and their journeys. What really stuck out to me however was the way the authors managed to tie their more “modern” adventures around the world to the ancient Viking culture. As a people known for their travels and explorations, it was interesting to see the cultural note that so many Icelandic people have to make a name for themselves and learn from distant lands in order to bring more knowledge to their home country, in an effort to become the best. It felt like the perfect chord that brought the past and present together as one and really shows how ancient cultures still have an impact on our world today. The Verdict A masterful, thoughtful, and culturally-driven memoir, authors Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li’s “Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir” is a must-read book. The attention to detail really brought the personal and broader history of Iceland and the author to life, while the teamwork and chemistry of both authors and their writing styles allowed the information and culture of this book to be absorbed by the reader. Even the utilization of images and guides to highlight Iceland and its language was both informative and engrossing all at once.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    Viking Voyager: An Iceland Memoir by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li (5 Stars) Thank you to the publisher and Goodreads for giving me this book, which was a giveaway contest. What a spectacular life Sverrir has lived so far!. First, I chose this book because the name contained the word Viking. We have been on two enjoyable Viking cruises, and had scheduled a third. Then the pandemic led to a cancellation, a reschedule and then a second cancellation. I think I just want to dream about a return t Viking Voyager: An Iceland Memoir by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li (5 Stars) Thank you to the publisher and Goodreads for giving me this book, which was a giveaway contest. What a spectacular life Sverrir has lived so far!. First, I chose this book because the name contained the word Viking. We have been on two enjoyable Viking cruises, and had scheduled a third. Then the pandemic led to a cancellation, a reschedule and then a second cancellation. I think I just want to dream about a return to normalcy and being on vacation, and the title caught my eye. Second, Iceland has always captivated me. The Northern Lights are something I would love to see, if the climate weren’t too inhospitable. This book is Sverrir’s autobiography, and what a spectacular life so far! He tells us tales of his growing up in Iceland, going to school in Finland, and then embarking on his international career as an architect. His assignments and travels took him through Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and ended with his settling down in the United States. Along the way, he treats us to stories of his family, his work and all the different cultures he encountered along the way. The writing is excellent (his wife is his co-author), conversational and a great book to escape with. If you have any interest in Iceland, this will pique your interest further and divert your attention to learning more about this fascinating country. https://candysplanet.wordpress.com/

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    So I thought when I entered the giveaway for this book, it would be about Iceland and further fan my fire to travel to that country. But it was more than that really. It was a metaphor for the Viking traveling around the world and taking pieces to make one complete piece. I could definitely get behind this way of thinking. Although, my ancestors were more of conquerers. LOL. The book was great. Slow at the beginning and it was hard to follow the timeline. It was interesting to read early Iceland So I thought when I entered the giveaway for this book, it would be about Iceland and further fan my fire to travel to that country. But it was more than that really. It was a metaphor for the Viking traveling around the world and taking pieces to make one complete piece. I could definitely get behind this way of thinking. Although, my ancestors were more of conquerers. LOL. The book was great. Slow at the beginning and it was hard to follow the timeline. It was interesting to read early Icelandic life before it was a major travel destination. I think it's cool that part of their summer schooling was to work on a farm. Although I was very interested in the Iceland stuff, it became one of my least favorite parts of the book; the university in Finland being my least favorite. It dragged and I was more excited about his travels and work after he left Finland. The Middle East part was amazing and traveling/visiting all over before it was really dangerous to go. Visiting countries and working to find solutions after they just fell from Soviet regime or leaving right before a war started. It was interesting. The author did have a way to talk about himself as if he was the most influential and best part of history, which did get annoying and isn't always fair, but it's also very Scandinavian in culture. This was a very interesting read, especially if you love travel and architecture.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex Jo

    I’m not the biggest fan of history, but when I saw it was a memoir, I was curious to see what I could find out; therefore, I said yes to review it. Before I share my thoughts with you all, I want to say that every experience is valid. Something that was interesting to me was how WW2 affected places like Iceland, where the government tried to stay as neutral as possible. This book also shows the respect Icelanders have for nature by quotes like this one. “The sea is the highway that can lead us to I’m not the biggest fan of history, but when I saw it was a memoir, I was curious to see what I could find out; therefore, I said yes to review it. Before I share my thoughts with you all, I want to say that every experience is valid. Something that was interesting to me was how WW2 affected places like Iceland, where the government tried to stay as neutral as possible. This book also shows the respect Icelanders have for nature by quotes like this one. “The sea is the highway that can lead us to treasures beyond our imagination.” A thing that stood up to me was that kid, who I believe is the author, came home crying because of what the teacher said about Viking ancestors and how the parents could give the author a different concept. I admired how the parents respected everyone and their opinions but still stayed true to their roots. With the author making the same journey his parents did before him, I felt it came full circle. I felt I was seeing and living the beauty of Iceland through the author’s eyes. By the way, am I the one who thought the author was female? I was a few chapters in when I realised he was male sorry. As a whole, I loved the adventures and the journey the author took us on. Therefore, I gave this book four out of five stars. All the opinions found here are mine, and thanks to the author for giving me a copy to review. Alex

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    I had the pleasure of receiving this book in exchange for a review. However, the opinions expressed are my own. There is already plenty of information on what the book is about so I will just touch on my personal observations. I appreciated that the book was written with such involving details. It flowed from one part of the author's life to the next. It stayed fairly consistent with chronological order. I have not seen too many books about Iceland so I was intrigued to learn some of the history o I had the pleasure of receiving this book in exchange for a review. However, the opinions expressed are my own. There is already plenty of information on what the book is about so I will just touch on my personal observations. I appreciated that the book was written with such involving details. It flowed from one part of the author's life to the next. It stayed fairly consistent with chronological order. I have not seen too many books about Iceland so I was intrigued to learn some of the history of their unique country. It was nice to see a personal perspective. Even though it is an average size book it felt meatier due to the brief uses of field terminology, multi-lingual words, and geographical details. I learned briefly about how some of the different governments and their leaders of those countries function (at least the way they used to). You may not always agree with their beliefs and the way they did some things, but it makes for interesting tidbits. I especially enjoyed all of the historical aspects of this book. It takes you on a journey with descriptions of many various locations unique to their respective country. It was fun seeing the view of a world traveler and hearing their experience of it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alison Cubitt

    The tale of this Viking Voyager is as much a personal story as it is of his tiny country of origin. Forged by fire and ice, the little land that could made the most of its natural resources, but when those ran out, had to reinvent itself as a modern 21st-century state. Sverrir Siggurdson’s character was shaped by growing up in such a challenging environment. And when you learn a little more about him, it’s clear that he isn’t someone who chose the easy options—from finding his path in life to te The tale of this Viking Voyager is as much a personal story as it is of his tiny country of origin. Forged by fire and ice, the little land that could made the most of its natural resources, but when those ran out, had to reinvent itself as a modern 21st-century state. Sverrir Siggurdson’s character was shaped by growing up in such a challenging environment. And when you learn a little more about him, it’s clear that he isn’t someone who chose the easy options—from finding his path in life to telling his story. On graduating from secondary school, instead of studying in Denmark, he chose Helsinki and studied his architecture degree in Finnish—a fiendishly tricky language for non-native speakers. And once qualified, the author went off on what I would term hardship postings across the developing world. But being the adventurous soul that he is, he made the most out of his downtime, heading off on hair-raising escapades—with a toddler in tow. It’s little wonder then that this book is an ambitious undertaking, combining a life story, career memoir, and insights into the history of the early twentieth century I knew nothing about. The storytelling is seamless, which is a testament to the skill of the two authors. Highly recommended. I received a free copy of this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mitos Suson

    I thoroughly enjoyed Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir. by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li. This book is loaded with historical data as Sverrir skillfully weaves the stories about his ancestors, Viking roots, his youth, and his family dynamics. He even manages to share excerpts of Icelandic history and its position in the world stage half a century ago during the post war era. His narrative was a joy to read as well as his adventures across the globe. These include his life as an architect I thoroughly enjoyed Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir. by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li. This book is loaded with historical data as Sverrir skillfully weaves the stories about his ancestors, Viking roots, his youth, and his family dynamics. He even manages to share excerpts of Icelandic history and its position in the world stage half a century ago during the post war era. His narrative was a joy to read as well as his adventures across the globe. These include his life as an architect to the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I had fun observing the world through different eyes, especially since we’ve not been able to travel the last 2 years during the pandemic; I loved his attention to the finer details when he visits a place for the first time. He takes you with him on the journey as if you were there and he was your personal tour guide. I can understand why this book won so many awards: The Independent Author Network 2021 Book of the Year Awards, Finalist in Biography/Autobiography category, Red Ribbon Award, The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. It is very well deserved.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Agnes Wang

    What an amazing journey the Viking voyager takes the reader into the life of Sverrir Sigurdsson, who was born in the period of Iceland's transformation into an independent nation, and who developed from his reserved, thoughtful and intellectually curious nature into a professional architect and educator. True to his Viking ancestry he ventured far and wide through the continents, bringing technology, education and training to elevate the quality the lives of people in developing countries. Throu What an amazing journey the Viking voyager takes the reader into the life of Sverrir Sigurdsson, who was born in the period of Iceland's transformation into an independent nation, and who developed from his reserved, thoughtful and intellectually curious nature into a professional architect and educator. True to his Viking ancestry he ventured far and wide through the continents, bringing technology, education and training to elevate the quality the lives of people in developing countries. Through personal encounters he shared stories on his adventures in many challenging situations, portraying the dramatic social, cultural and political changes that took place in the various societies he worked in. All this was told with vivacity and detail where the reader feels a participant in his discoveries and insights. In a time where our world has become a global community, Mr. Sigurdsson's life's work truly demonstrates a model of a genuine world citizen.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I loved this book for the story told by a genuine Viking explorer. It begins with his childhood in Iceland where I really felt as if I knew his parents and grandparents as the description of their lives and homes were so vivid. I particularly liked the description of Reykjavik as that is an area I lived in for a short time. From there Sverrir takes us to Finland for his higher education and then we embark on a journey through a multitude of different countries on different continents while he wo I loved this book for the story told by a genuine Viking explorer. It begins with his childhood in Iceland where I really felt as if I knew his parents and grandparents as the description of their lives and homes were so vivid. I particularly liked the description of Reykjavik as that is an area I lived in for a short time. From there Sverrir takes us to Finland for his higher education and then we embark on a journey through a multitude of different countries on different continents while he works with UNESCO to improve educational establishments there. This is a heartwarming, sometimes very sad, and enlightening memoir. I travelled mentally and "saw" the places he visited. A true Viking - interested in seeing the new and no plundering

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eden

    2022 bk 103. This book did not lead where I thought it would - but that is the delight of reading biographies of folks you have never heard of before. The details of the author's ancestors and his growing up in Iceland pre-and during WWII were very interesting and what I wanted. The story of his marriage challenging, but the year's working for the World Bank were fascinating to me. In my prior life as a teacher I had attended several sessions on the World Bank and used its databases with student 2022 bk 103. This book did not lead where I thought it would - but that is the delight of reading biographies of folks you have never heard of before. The details of the author's ancestors and his growing up in Iceland pre-and during WWII were very interesting and what I wanted. The story of his marriage challenging, but the year's working for the World Bank were fascinating to me. In my prior life as a teacher I had attended several sessions on the World Bank and used its databases with students, but Sigurdsson gave life to what had been numbers and databases and lists of countries. His focus on building and supplying schools was right up my alley. Well written biography, pictures were appropriate, and thank you for the Icelandic pronunciation guide!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nwanganga Shields

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I normally do not read autobiographies because I think those who write them often whitewash their lives or try to give a good spin on events that they have participated in. I began reading this beautifully edited book with this mindset. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. Sverrir's book is not only an autobiography but a history of Iceland from his perspective. It took me from Iceland to the middle East to Africa and it did not disappoint. The author's description of life among the Bri I normally do not read autobiographies because I think those who write them often whitewash their lives or try to give a good spin on events that they have participated in. I began reading this beautifully edited book with this mindset. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. Sverrir's book is not only an autobiography but a history of Iceland from his perspective. It took me from Iceland to the middle East to Africa and it did not disappoint. The author's description of life among the British Colonials in Malawi resonated with me . I thoroughly recommend this book to those interested in Icelandic History.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Denis Broun

    A remarkable life journey from Iceland at the time of World War II to Washington, with twists and turns all around Europe, the Middle East, Africa and other places. Sverrir Sigurdsson writes well, is never boring or too long, and describes a most astonishing career, from studying architecture in Finland without speaking the language to reforming financing of school text books for the World Bank. In addition, he communicates rather well his pleasure in working with his hands - repairing, creating A remarkable life journey from Iceland at the time of World War II to Washington, with twists and turns all around Europe, the Middle East, Africa and other places. Sverrir Sigurdsson writes well, is never boring or too long, and describes a most astonishing career, from studying architecture in Finland without speaking the language to reforming financing of school text books for the World Bank. In addition, he communicates rather well his pleasure in working with his hands - repairing, creating and even building his house from blueprints to finishings. A truly amazing life experience, well written. Do not hesitate to read the memoirs of the Viking Voyager. You will love it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    A Thorsson

    A delightful and inspirational memoir. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir! The voice of the author clearly cuts through, as though he's chatting with you about his life story. And what a life! From a young lad in Iceland, to a successful and well travelled architect, he has experienced and lived through many adventures. As a Brit who settled in Iceland some twenty years ago, I can empathise with the bravery of settling in a different country, learning a new language and culture, while at t A delightful and inspirational memoir. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this memoir! The voice of the author clearly cuts through, as though he's chatting with you about his life story. And what a life! From a young lad in Iceland, to a successful and well travelled architect, he has experienced and lived through many adventures. As a Brit who settled in Iceland some twenty years ago, I can empathise with the bravery of settling in a different country, learning a new language and culture, while at the same time forging a new life on unknown shores. A book that is well worth reading!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annemarie Rawson

    After enjoying Reykjavik and the Golden Circle in Iceland and travelling through parts of Norway and Scandinavia, I wanted to learn more and was drawn to Svirrer’s story. Sverrir takes you on a fascinating journey through Icelandic and Norwegian history, his life (born at the beginning of the Second World War) and his very interesting work and far-flung travel. I am in awe of what Svirrer has achieved, where he has been and what he has accomplished. He was and is a chameleon, adapting to each co After enjoying Reykjavik and the Golden Circle in Iceland and travelling through parts of Norway and Scandinavia, I wanted to learn more and was drawn to Svirrer’s story. Sverrir takes you on a fascinating journey through Icelandic and Norwegian history, his life (born at the beginning of the Second World War) and his very interesting work and far-flung travel. I am in awe of what Svirrer has achieved, where he has been and what he has accomplished. He was and is a chameleon, adapting to each country and its people in order to make his time there work. His Viking explorer DNA came to fore over and over again. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dalva Estevao Dwyer

    I became interested in reading Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir, by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li because I wanted to know more about Iceland. What I got out of Sverrir Sigurdsson’s book, however, was much more than I expected. The book starts with stories about Sverrir Sigurdsson’s ancestors, which are intertwined with the history of Iceland. Then, as Sverrir Sigurdsson moves out of Iceland, he narrates the events of his personal life in the historical time of each country where he has I became interested in reading Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir, by Sverrir Sigurdsson and Veronica Li because I wanted to know more about Iceland. What I got out of Sverrir Sigurdsson’s book, however, was much more than I expected. The book starts with stories about Sverrir Sigurdsson’s ancestors, which are intertwined with the history of Iceland. Then, as Sverrir Sigurdsson moves out of Iceland, he narrates the events of his personal life in the historical time of each country where he has lived. History and geography come alive as we read about his life, which alone is an interesting and unique journey. I highly recommend Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sammy Iam

    Viking Voyager uncovers a history that most of us don't know about--the beautiful history of Iceland through the perspective of a man who travels the world through his work at the World Bank, Unesco, and other organizations. A fast-paced, riveting, and compelling narrative. An immersion into Nordic culture and work ethic fused with the insight of a broader global perspective. Loved it and recommending it to all my friends and family. Never thought I could learn so much about the world from the s Viking Voyager uncovers a history that most of us don't know about--the beautiful history of Iceland through the perspective of a man who travels the world through his work at the World Bank, Unesco, and other organizations. A fast-paced, riveting, and compelling narrative. An immersion into Nordic culture and work ethic fused with the insight of a broader global perspective. Loved it and recommending it to all my friends and family. Never thought I could learn so much about the world from the story of a modern Viking great.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    quite a journey I have long been fascinated by Iceland, ever since I was a child and learned of Leif Erikson. I finally convinced my husband to go there on vacation, then the pandemic hit. So until I get there, Sigurdsson’s book was a good substitute. Not only did I get a trip with history to Iceland, I saw several Middle East countries in the 60’s, developing African nations, Baltic countries and learned a lot about the World Bank and how it works. A truly fascinating account of a life well live quite a journey I have long been fascinated by Iceland, ever since I was a child and learned of Leif Erikson. I finally convinced my husband to go there on vacation, then the pandemic hit. So until I get there, Sigurdsson’s book was a good substitute. Not only did I get a trip with history to Iceland, I saw several Middle East countries in the 60’s, developing African nations, Baltic countries and learned a lot about the World Bank and how it works. A truly fascinating account of a life well lived told in a modest and entertaining style. A good read.

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