Saturday, June 20, 2009
Review of the Middle Ages edited by Antonia Fraser
From the Inside Cover:
On 14 October 1066 two armies met at Hastings. Beautifully illustrated and accessibly written. The Middle Ages begins at the most famous date in English History and covers the three centureis during which England arguably began its transformation into a modern state: during these years the Curia Regis was formed, which paved the way for parliamentary assembly, and the principle of strong hereditary monarchy was established.
Yet, this short volume covers not only the politics of the time, an age of contested succession, but in vivid biographies convey the personalities of the medieval kings: from the brutal, unattractive William I to the 'mythical' Richard the Lionheart and the mighty Edward I. Their fascinating lives are played out against some of the central events of English history: the Domesday Book, the Crusades, Magna Carta, the Hundred Years' War and the Black Death.
This book was a fairly short read. It gave little biographies of each of the Kings during this period and some of the major events that occurred in their reign. I think this book was well written and well researched. I think it will be a great introductory book for someone who wants to learn a little more of the middle ages but does not want a huge book. Its great for a high school or college student who is studying this period in time. This is a part of a series of 6 books on the the different Monarchs of England from William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II. This particular volume ends with Richard II.