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Paperback Life in Medieval Times Book

ISBN: 0399502580

ISBN13: 9780399502583

Life in Medieval Times

(Part of the Everyday Life Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

An age of chivalry, color, and faith from which the modern world still draws inspiration--or centuries of violence, squalor, and superstition best forgotten? Marjorie Rowling refreshingly avoids any... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

Informational medieval book with little bias

This fascinating medieval book is truly a jewel for students and history buffs everywhere. Rowling breaks Life in Medieval Times down into comprehensive units that allow the reader to maximize precious research time by finding important facts and quotes quickly. Each chapter provides its own concise collection of information, saving researchers the inconvenience of sorting through pages of irrelevant data to find specific quotes and subjects. The author offers readers an in depth look into Medieval society from economic, clerical, aristocratic, and even plebian viewpoints, giving all aspects of society equal representation. Rowling does not try to gild over the harsh realities of medieval life, and unlike many other historians, she does not attempt to use the brutality of the period to support any ideological opinions. She describes joyous festivals and the simple pleasures of daily life as well as documenting the cruelties of war and the injustices of feudal organization. Even such controversial topics as the conflict between religion and government, the status and rights of women in society, and the questionable alliance between militarism and piety in the Crusades are presented with a remarkable absence of pervasive bias. Rowling's educational mission presents the discerning reader with legitimate facts and leaves the individual to make important decisions and form their own opinions about history. This academic justice presents a powerfully lucid view of history and medieval life. Rowling's Life in Medieval Times reads much like a categorized medieval textbook. The book differs significantly from the typical textbook, however, in that the author delves into the cultural stories and social legends of the time. This cultural emphasis creates a fascinating blend of humanities and history and adds a warm, human touch to a subject often viewed as an assortment of cold, dead facts. Unfortunately, this blended approach also tends to soften the impact of historical fact. All in all, however, this softening is better than just getting one very opinionated side of the story like you do in some textbooks. Overall: great book

A good 2nd or 3rd book in your medieval studies

Rowling takes you on a wide-ranging journey through the Middle Ages, demonstrating an encyclopedic knowledge of her subject. As you'd expect from a 220-plus page book on a thousand-year period, it is not exhaustive, nor is it necessarily chronological, but there is plenty of interesting and often entertaining information here. Chapters cover categories such as "Lords and Vassals", "Pilgrims and Crusaders", "Monks and Friars", and "Doctors and Patients" each in a roughly 20-page span, making it easy to read a chapter in an evening. A generous amount of humor is included, such as the story of Heribald, a "somewhat weak in the head" monk at the monastery of St. Gall who refused to leave when Magyars, "uglier than Danes but somewhat better natured", invaded and drove all the other monks out. After an initial beating the Magyars befriended Heribald, plying him with wine to make up for the beating, and he wrote approvingly of them in one of the many chronicles Rowling has tapped here as sources.I would have preferred more maps (there is one at the beginning), but there are several good illustrations from the time period, as well as a detailed Chronology of events at the back, for reference and a Select Bibliography. One manner in which Rowling goes beyond the typical middle ages introduction is to lightly touch on the sociological trends at work in this period and before. This book is part of a series of "Everyday Life In" books; the final chapter, "Scientists and Technologists", points the way, with the proliferation of paper and moveable type, to the modern age.
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