Saturday, January 9, 2010

History Books In Review

Time Travelers Guide to Medieval England - by Ian Mortimer
Review:"The Time Travelers Guide to Medieval England is a surprisingly engrossing read, even if you don’t particularly care about history. For anyone who enjoys history, they’ll be engrossed by the facts that dispel the history taught about that time frame, for instance, the aristocracy had indoor plumbing. An easy read, you can pick it up and read any chapter."

A World By Itself: A History of the British Isles - editor Jonathon Clark
Review: "Perhaps the most surprising thing about Clark’s book, which consists of six chronological sections written by eminent specialists, is that it is supposedly aimed at a general audience. In fact, it is almost impossible to imagine a lay reader finishing this book, because it could hardly have been written in a more off-putting style."

The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land - by Thomas Asbridge
Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades - by Jonathon Phillips
Review: "Both of these books take us back to the period in western history when belief in the afterlife was paramount. The Church's message was terrifyingly simple: there was no avoiding the consequences of sin. Urban II, an ambitious and ruthless Frenchman, launched the movement with a brilliant new formula: wipe the slate clean by going on the crusade. All the vicious and violent misdeeds that were occupational hazards for medieval warriors and their entourages would be cancelled. For the knightly classes the "neatest aspect of all is that they could continue fighting – only now their energies would be directed towards the enemies of God, rather than their fellow Christians"."

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