Young Readers Guide to Life in the Middle Ages
Sort order. While I have some understanding of the period, there are huge gaps in my knowledge. Some of those gaps have now been filled, thanks to this book by Dr Gillian Polack, a historian, and Dr Katrin Kania, an archaeologist, which addresses life in medieval England between and The information provided in each section invites the interested reader to learn more by exploring the recommended reading suggested. Interested in religion during the Middle Ages?
How is the book organised? The seventeen numbered chapters address a range of topics including: the people, their life phases, government, religion, the military, craft, leisure activities, the medieval economy and travel. For me, the most interesting section was on the economy. I enjoyed each section, learning many new things.
My favourite fact? Learning that the curfew, a bell rung in towns to remind people to cover their fires at night, took its name from the couvre-feu, a pottery cover with air vents that went on the fire. Above all, I have a new appreciation of the complexity of medieval life, and a better understanding of certain aspects of it. If you have an interest in Medieval England, if you read or write fiction set in this period, this is a book well worth reading. Jennifer Cameron-Smith Oct 13, Kyla Ward rated it really liked it.
Recommended Reading for Children & Young Adults
As one of the admitted minority who deal with the Middle Ages on a daily basis I perform medieval shows in high schools , I tell you, this book is furniture. Something gorgeously crafted from different woods, with lots of drawers and pegs. The scholar, author or educational presenter can use it to place what they already know in context and guide future research.
The simply curious can dip in and come up with such fascinating details as the number of calves that died to make the average vellum As one of the admitted minority who deal with the Middle Ages on a daily basis I perform medieval shows in high schools , I tell you, this book is furniture.
The simply curious can dip in and come up with such fascinating details as the number of calves that died to make the average vellum bible. Or citations that will take them at least an ell deeper into the topic. Or a lucid explanation as to why the information sought cannot be found. Dust it off regularly, and it will be a joy for years to come. What a fascinating and informative book! I would thoroughly recommend this as a research tool, or for anyone interested in Medieval British history.
Subjects covered include almost everything, from taxation to modes of travel, education, and medicine, to fashion. Some of the facts might be surprising: for instance, sidesaddles were not common in England until the 14th century, and so most women rode astride: leather clothing was unheard of as people only used it to make accessories like belts or What a fascinating and informative book!
Some of the facts might be surprising: for instance, sidesaddles were not common in England until the 14th century, and so most women rode astride: leather clothing was unheard of as people only used it to make accessories like belts or shoes, and some people in Medieval England boasted running water.
Wolves were extinct by the 14th century, and there were no bears. What was unusual about this book, is that it also focuses on the lives of Jewish communities, who are normally ignored in works of social history.
Also, the illustrations were very useful and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. My only complaints were that a couple of details were missed out which, I think, should not have been. The chapter on measuring time made no mention of the fact that the world's first mechanical clock is supposed to have been invented by an Englishman named Richard of Wallingford in the early 14th century: and the section of science made no mention of some of the more famous Medieval English scientific pioneers, such as Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, who some people say discovered refraction.
Don't let that put you off though: this is still an invaluable book on Medieval English society, which I think can serve to replace, or at least complement, some of the older works on this subject. Not bad for two female authors who originally hail from Poland and Latvia. Dec 04, Jeff rated it it was amazing.
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A light read and highly interesting account of medieval life. Well organised and detailed. Useful reference. Sep 02, Loretta rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who is interested in English History circa Shelves: research-historical. So far, I have read up to page of this fascinating book. Bought originally to help me have a clearer understanding of life in the late twelfth century as research for a book I am currently writing, it is proving to be an invaluable source of general information.
I did wonder whether I would struggle with it as I am not good at studying and living with myalgic encephalomylitis leaves me with little energy for struggling through some historical tomes, but this is informative in a style which is So far, I have read up to page of this fascinating book. I did wonder whether I would struggle with it as I am not good at studying and living with myalgic encephalomylitis leaves me with little energy for struggling through some historical tomes, but this is informative in a style which is easy to read and understand and doesn't strain my brain or my concentration levels.
Also, they do not have access to the variety of foods and tools and preparation techniques we moderns take for granted. Finally, and most importantly, why would they need a book to tell them how to do what they do every day? And if they did decide to write it down, what exactly would they be able to tell us? This is, after all, a time before thermometers, oven timers, hydrometers for the brewers , or a practical universal system of weights and measures. The medieval recipes that do exist tend to describe more exotic or upscale dishes, and they tend be maddening to the modern cook — it takes a specialist historian, in many cases, to hazard a fair guess as to how much of what goes where for how long at what temperature.
We get as much, or more, information about everyday cookery from medieval middens as we do from written medieval records. Much the same situation exists for other elements of daily life — what people wore, where they lived, how they dealt with common problems, even how many of them viewed their social position or religion — the more mundane a question, the less likely it is that any more than perhaps a few writers recorded a direct answer.
Fortunately, much can be found indirectly, through particular references and casual comments in legal records, contracts, and other writings, through archaeological evidence, and through surviving images or manuscript illuminations. This is by no means intended to be a comprehensive bibliography; rather it focuses on materials that are, for the most part, relatively recent, accessible, and inexpensive — the kind one might find at a large bookstore or through an online outlet.
These resources are of varying quality, so each entry includes a recommendation along with the description. This is particularly true when dealing with the Middle Ages, an era that is commonly both denigrated and romanticized in books, movies, video games, Renaissance fairs, and the like, and often in ways that play very fast and loose with any sense of historical truth.
Given this situation, here are a couple of texts that focus directly on this kind of confusion, and could be of great interest to an instructor working to overcome erroneous assumptions. Misconceptions About the Middle Ages. Edited by Stephen J. Harris and Byron L. New York and London: Routledge, This volume is a series of thirty short essays — written and collected by medieval scholars for a more general readership — each of which tackles and debunks a particular popular misconception about the Middle Ages. In any case, it could serve as very interesting and informative preparatory reading for teachers of any grade-level.
It is more expensive than many of the other texts in this bibliography, but may be available through a local library or loan program. Highly Recommended. Pernoud, Regine. Translated by Anne Englund Nash. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, Another deliberate mythbuster of a book, this volume systematically addresses numerous misconceptions about the Middle Ages from a French perspective. Pernoud was a medieval historian of long professional experience when she published this volume in Shot through with the dry wit of its author, this is not as heavy a read as one might expect from an aged and distinguished scholar — it has its footnotes, but it has its sly jokes as well.
Unfortunately, a great deal of this material is not particularly useful, most often because it grossly misrepresents the era, through a combination of cultural bias and plain inaccuracy. Many also seem to talk down to kids and needlessly oversimplify the material. That being said, there are some excellent resources out there that offer an accurate and complex picture of life in the Middle Ages in ways that early readers and younger students should be able to manage.
The entries below should give some sense of the range of quality available, and give instructors some sense of the elements to look for and avoid when selecting material for younger students. Though informative and relatively accurate, this book, labeled for grades , still leaves a bit to be desired. Though organized around established pedagogical methods like Venn diagrams, context clues, inference exercises, and grammatical exercises, the activities fall a bit flat in general, and tend towards the fill-in-the-blank.
There are better sources out there for this age group, particularly if one takes both the information and activities at face value. In the hands of a good and knowledgeable instructor, however, this book could be a good starting point, so long as one is willing to question the text, fill in gaps, and adapt the exercises to better use. Recommended with Strong Reservations.
This book discusses not only what daily life was like, but how we know what we know about it — an element which many volumes about the Middle Ages leave out. In this case, the focus is more archaeological than documentary, which works well in a book for younger readers, as it allows the incorporation of a large number of artifact photographs and descriptions, as well as illustrated depictions of daily life.
This is a straightforward volume which presents the era and culture with little in the way of judgment or cultural bias.
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It does not gloss over the less-savory aspects of life — Viking raids and slave-taking, for example, are discussed — but neither does it depict the Vikings as backward barbarians. Overall, the information is accurate and accessible, without being oversimplified. This is an excellent elementary introduction to the period.
Books for Young Readers: The Middle Ages and Renaissance
What personal and cultural gaps are left due to the focus on artifacts can be filled in by the instructor, in a manner appropriate to the class. Danbury, CT: Franklin Watts, Fiona MacDonald and Co. The information is accurate, and the volume as a whole neither demonizes nor romanticizes the era significantly. There are also timelines, introductory material, a glossary, and guiding questions in each lower corner which offer the reader the option of moving through the book according to their own interests.
Highly Recommended, and well-suited for classroom use.