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How Iceland Changed The World (GPV Recommend)

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The untold story of how one tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic has shaped the world for centuries.

The history of Iceland began 1,200 years ago, when a frustrated Viking captain and his useless navigator ran aground in the middle of the North Atlantic. Suddenly, the island was no longer just a layover for the Arctic tern. Instead, it became a nation whose diplomats and musicians, sailors and soldiers, volcanoes and flowers, quietly altered the globe forever. How Iceland Changed the World takes readers on a tour of history, showing them how Iceland played a pivotal role in events as diverse as the French Revolution, the Moon Landing, and the foundation of Israel. Again and again, one humble nation has found itself at the frontline of historic events, shaping the world as we know it, How Iceland Changed the World paints a lively picture of just how it all happened.

From article in the Reykjavík Grapevine:
“I wrote up three chapters and sent some cold emails to literary agents in the US,” Egill explains when asked how on earth he ended up with the biggest publisher in the world. Of course, when reading the book, it comes as no surprise that it was picked up by the publisher—there was actually an auction for the right to publish it—it’s witty, accessible and very enjoyable. In it, Egill covers everything from an Icelandic (originally Norwegian) Viking, Leifur ‘the lucky’ Eiríksson, discovering North America and losing it again; and the story about how a young Icelandic woman, Arndís Þorbjarnardóttir, shaped J.R.R Tolkien and telling him about Icelandic folktales that Icelanders see very clearly when reading (or watching) ‘The Lord Of The Rings’; to the invaluable lessons other nations can take from Iceland’s gender equality reforms.

“But I still wanted to tell the story of Iceland and just kind of slam the first 1100 years of history on the table,” he adds. And that’s just what he did. In his 255-page book, Egill explains how an Icelandic volcano triggered climate change in the late 18th century that possibly contributed to the French revolution and, therefore, the modern republic. And then of course there is the story of how Iceland played a big role in US space exploration. Egill also reminds Icelanders of the interesting bond between this small island and Israel, which have turned sour over the past decades.