Bryan Sykes – Saxons, Vikings, and Celts


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.

Author: Bryan Sykes
Narrator: Dick Hill
Duration: 10 hours 9 minutes
Released: 11 Jul 2003
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English

User Review:

abutment culinary

This starts out okay but both the narrator and the story became very irritating quite soon. First the story: it really doesn’t talk about genetic roots very much at all but cites many extremely questionable — by the author’s own admission — writings from days when not much was known about genetic roots!

I was excited by the beginning when the author discussed Cheddar Man and the extraction of DNA from the tooth of this find in England but that was it as far as any tangible DNA or genetic information goes thus far (I am about half-way through the book). Only a few interesting tidbits like finding out how imprecise archaeology is when identifying, for example, the breadth of where the “Celts” ranged in Europe. But that type of information is sprinkled only very sparsely throughout.

The reader: OMG, where to start? He takes a breath for effect after almost every word! And the “effect” is very affected! I listen reluctantly, gritting my teeth. If he would only tone his dramatic license down to about 1% of what he does MAYBE he would be tolerable. I am tempted to return it but I don’t know if this book is even eligible for that.

Too bad. I am really interested in the topic.