Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Read for Fun: Worlds of Medieval Europe

Read for fun review

Brief backstory: Back in college, I wanted to take this intro course on medieval European history, but there was never time in my schedule for it. Other cases had higher priority because they were required for my majors (I choose to focus the history one on ancient eastern Mediterranean). To compensate, I bought the main textbook for the class. That book is Worlds of Medieval Europe by Clifford Backman . It is a fascinating read and also an engaging one. I will examine Content, Tone and Polish and then assign a grade.


The book's reach in regards to time is the tail end of the Roman Imperial period to just before the 15th century Renaissance and its reach in regards to space is from the Iberian Peninsula to Central Asia, and from Norway to North Africa. Mr. Backman does not regard Medieval Europe as existing on its own but as a part of this wider world.

The book's theme is less about narrating the events that happen but more about how these events fit in with the society, influence it, and are influenced by it. "Gestalt" is the word I'd use to describe the book's focus. In other words, how the machinery of Medieval European Society functioned in addition to all it's little gears and what this created.

There is a great deal of information here. It's about the time, the society, the economy, the religious life, the cultural life, along with farmers, merchants, nobles, priests, sailors contrasted with each other. As many as three chapters will go over the same time period in order to examine them from different angles.


Forget all stereotypes about academic books being stifling or dry. This one is remarkably engaging. There is a strong writer's voice present that make it like a storyteller instead of a historian, and yet it remains objective.

Footnotes have jokes in them. A good chunk of them exist solely to provide some historical fun fact or for Mr. Backmann to make some humorous illustration of a point.

No spelling or grammar errors. There's a good use of images.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Worlds of Medieval Europe" an A+

Click here for the next book review (a review request): Shadow of the Raven

Click here for the previous book review (technically a beta read): Final Ragnarok: She Returns

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