Why I Wrote This Book

Little in my academic training prepared me for life as a Viking in a museum. I received the degree of Doctor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980. Subsequently, I performed research in the field of audio and acoustics, receiving nearly two dozen patents as well as various awards for my work.

During that time, I became interested in the medieval Icelandic literature, notably the Sagas of Icelanders. That interest grew into a passion in 1998 when I first visited Iceland to study the sagas. Since then, I have returned to Iceland nearly every year for an extended visit to research and to study the sagas, and the lands where the sagas took place.

Upon returning from my first visit, I wanted to learn more about the sagas through hands-on experimental archaeology. I found a living history organization in New England called Hurstwic, which was doing just that kind of work, so I joined them.

Just prior to my joining, the group had had a serious weapons injury during practice, so I took on the responsibility of finding a safe way to train. I contacted the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, USA, a museum of arms and armor. The museum curator was in the process of forming an organization to study and practice medieval martial arts, a group which came to be called the Higgins Armory Sword Guild. I joined the Guild and began training in medieval martial arts.

With my interest in Viking history and in the Icelandic sagas, I turned to the study of the arms and combat techniques of the Vikings, a field that has received little scholarly attention. In 2002, I was invited to begin a regularly scheduled presentation and demonstration at Higgins Armory Museum for museum visitors on Viking weapons and combat. Our research in the field has been ongoing, and as a result, the demonstration has been greatly expanded over the years. I have presented and demonstrated at various museums, universities, cultural institutions, and scholarly conferences.

Museum guests who attend the demonstration often want to dig deeper and learn more about Viking weapons and other Viking topics. I knew of no book that I could recommend to our guests. I wrote a series of on-line articles that they could access via the web.

My friends in Iceland repeatedly and strongly encouraged me to expand those articles into a book on the topic of Viking weapons and their use. I took their advice and wrote the book Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques, published by Westholme Publishing. The book will be shipping again soon and is available for pre-order from your favorite bookseller.

Timetable for the Book

September, 2014 A softcover reprint has been released by the publisher.
January, 2012 The book is, sadly, out of print. The publisher has suggested that it will be reprinted in 2012.
May, 2009 The book is now shipping and widely available for sale.
April, 2009 release date moved back to May, 2009
February, 2009 release date moved back to April, 2009
January, 2009 release date moved back to late February, 2009
January, 2009 final page proofs received and reviewed
December, 2008 page proofs received and reviewed
November, 2008 release date moved back to mid-January, 2009
November, 2008 page proofs received and reviewed
July, 2008 copy-edited manuscript reviewed and corrected
June, 2008 November release date set for the book
May, 2008 final revision of manuscript and illustrations sent to Westholme Publishing
February, 2008 contract signed with Westholme Publishing
January, 2008 an aggressive program to contact publishers was begun
December, 2007 a solid first draft was completed
July, 2007 inquiries sent to several publishers, with poor results
June, 2007 a rough draft of the book was prepared


2008-2017 William R. Short
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