by your side.
This book by Andrew Jotischky and Caroline Hull is not a six hundred page account of the popes, emperors, and the plague. It is a vivid companion to those books. Let us take a tour of it.
Bold Colors and Graphics
Children are not the only ones that enjoy colorful pictures in their books. Adults tend to gravitate toward these, too. I am not talking coffee table books here. This book includes pictures of artwork, archeological scenes, and colorful maps to help support every section. Instead of just describing the medieval economy, this book gives a very busy map of Europe that shows how the economy interflowed between states along with all the major cities and trading routes. I found it really useful as I was reading the six hundred page book with no graphics what so ever. I would be reading about the Reconquest of Spain and turn to page 109 of the book to see a colored Spanish map visually teaching me the various stages of the event.
Timelines are great aids especially when they are in depth. You will find in this book a detailed timeline that does more than cover medieval Europe. It reveals what was happening in the Muslim world and the whole world as a whole. It breaks out western and eastern Europe and lists religious and cultural events separately. In truth, it helps put a medieval event into perspective.
The authors divided the Middle Ages into four parts: The Early Middle Ages, The Revival of Europe, Latin Europe and its Neighbors, and The Latter Middle Ages. Each of these sections is divided into seven to twenty-four subsections. The average subsection is only two pages long with succinct wording.
A great addition to this book is the dynastic tables at the back end of the book. If you want to know the kings of France in order along with their reigning dates, this is where you will find it. It contains the dynasties of the popes, German kings as well as the Holy Roman Emperors, France, England, Byzantine Emperors, and the Latin Emperors of Constantinople. This is wonderful when researching or trying to piece together who was in power at what time.
All good academic books have a list of books at the end. It might be in the form of a bibliography and/or a list of recommended books to read. This resource is always good to use in looking for more information or to explore the subject further. This list contains about thirty-five books that you can use to learn more about the Middle Ages.
To sum it all up, this is a wonderful book and would be a great addition to your historical library. It could easily be used by students as young as high school age. I would not recommend learning about the Middle Ages solely on this book. Use it as a companion to other books and you will not be disappointed with it.
Disclaimer: This book was provided to me as a textbook of the Middle Ages.