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A Brief History of Life in the Middle Ages (Brief Histories) [Kindle Edition]

Martyn Whittock
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Using wide-ranging evidence, Martyn Whittock shines a light on Britain in the Middle Ages, bringing it vividly to life.

Thus we glimpse 11th century rural society through a conversation between a ploughman and his master.

The life of Dick Whittington illuminates the rise of the urban elite. The stories of Roger 'the Raker' who drowned in his own sewage, a 'merman' imprisoned in Orford Castle and the sufferings of the Jews of Bristol reveal the extraordinary diversity of medieval society.

Through these characters and events - and using the latest discoveries and research - the dynamic and engaging panorama of medieval England is revealed.

Interesting facts include:

When the life expectancy for women dropped to 26 years in Sierra Leone in 2002, following a catastrophic civil war, it was one year longer than the estimate for early medieval women.

So great was the extent of church construction in the thirteenth century that it has been calculated it was the equivalent, in modern terms, of every family in England paying £500 every year, for the whole century!

Murder rates for East Anglia, in the fourteenth century, were comparable with those of modern New York. For England generally the homicide rate was far higher than that of the urban USA today.

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Product Description

Book Description

A fascinating new portrait of Medieval Britain that brings together the everyday and the extraordinary.

About the Author

Martyn Whittock is Head of Humanities and History at Kingdown School, Warminster. He is a lecturer in local history and has written numerous textbooks for the educational market. He has been a consultant for the BBC, English Heritage and the National Trust and has written for Medieval History magazine and archaeological journals.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 722 KB
  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #114,245 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
This book covers various aspects of life in England from the end of the Saxon period up to the reign of Edward VI. Its content is wide-ranging, including family life, law and order and attitudes to outsiders. As such it is a useful primer for further study. The book doesn't neglect the humorous (to modern minds) of certain Middle Age beliefs and stories including Winchester Geese and the woman of Norwich who 'did not eat or excrete for 20 years, a fact proven in front of the Bishop'! The chapter on the cycle of the year was good but could have done with more depth on the spiritual significance of the various feasts and seasons. However, this does not distract from the book's overall quality. Personally, I would have enjoyed a chapter on warfare and its impact on the ordinary people of the country. Perhaps this could be a suggestion for the next edition. Overall, this book is highly recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read 30 Sept. 2010
There is really not much to add to other peoples reviews of this book. In fact it's just an excellent read with plenty of straight forward information, which is easily digestible.

One can use this book as a primer for more in depth studies or as a kind of general guide book of the times. It's very interesting to read with the help of a computer, which means that one is able to look up references - such as churches, or towns - immediately and see what they look/looked like. You could almost plan a very interesting tour of the UK using this book to plan visits to churches, towns and DMV's (deserted medieval villages).

I found myself sitting down and reading this as a novel, which means hard to put down. Whilst at the same time discovering plenty of new information and of course developing my curiosity to find out more.

Excellent read and well recommended for everybody who is interested to learn more about this period.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview 25 Mar. 2010
By Mike Davey VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this to be an excellent general overview of the period. It is aimed at the non-academic reader and written in a concise, understandable fashion, with plenty of description of various aspects of society at the time. This is one of the best books of its type and as enlightening and enjoyable as Ian Mortimer's Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England (which is brilliant).

Recommended to anyone with an interest in this period of history who wants an insight into life at the time but does not want to be engulfed in too much economic detail. Christopher Dyer is the writer to go for to glean more in-depth information and analysis.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Medieval History 19 Oct. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A credible academic work which is at the same time highly readable and entertaining, full of fascinating detail and insights into the everyday lives of people in Medieval times. Provides a good thorough overview of the period. Enjoyable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History as it should be told... 25 Aug. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...or almost. Slow to get going (but then, some would say, so was the Middle Ages) but it perked up and covered both high and low-born, and ranged nicely over several hundred years of history. An Age does not start from nothing...and Whittock puts the start in context, and rounds off with the effect of the Age on future generations. Full of stories and facts that whet the appetite and added to the store of knowledge that, like the Age itself I suspect, is not to be sniffed at.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informed and engaging. 20 Jan. 2014
By Bookie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Far from being brief, this is a detailed and highly readable account of what life was like in medieval England. It really brings the period to life. Based on childhood teaching, I'd always considered this era to be rather bleak. Both physically and spiritually. However, recent forays have changed my view and this book in particular gives a real feel for what life was like at that time. So many accounts focus on the monarchs and court, but I'm interested in day to day life for the ordinary citizen.

Here, we glimpse that reality. With entertaining accounts covering a diverse and often amusing range of 'events', the reader is drawn back more than 600 years. I really enjoyed this book which for the greater part read more like a novel than a factual account. A terrific introduction and overview of this pivotal period.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Middle grade book 1 Dec. 2012
Martyn Whittock brings to light everyday life in the middle ages and provides a glimpse of the rough and tumble hardships of the times. The book gives an insight into life roughly between the Norman invasion and the battle of Bosworth, the onset of the Tudor dynasty. The amount of interesting facts outlined in the book is enormous. Information such as the life expectancy for women was 25 and men 35, about the same as that of Sierra Leone in 2002 and that the homicide rate of the period was akin to modern day New York are such examples. That so great was the extent of church construction in the thirteenth century that it has been calculated it was the equivalent, in modern terms, of every family in England paying £500 every year, for the whole century is yet another example.

The general demographic explanations are very interesting in general and easily readable. Topics include the character of late Anglo-Saxon society, religion, population, diet and health, law and order, language and culture and much, much more. Most of the topics are covered really well and interesting but I thought a considerable portion of the content on religion provided too much information and lacked depth. I would have preferred to have read a more concise but in depth explanation on the Christian beliefs of the times. Here I thought the author attempted to strangle the reader with too much information due to the complexity and importance that such beliefs had during those times.

Despite this however, it is still a really good read and sheds light on a lot of areas that was hitherto unknown to me. Three stars still makes it a very entertaining read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interested in the period
I enjoyed this book ,it was easy to read and not dry .l would have liked more insight into family life ,and found the more domestic items interesting . Read more
Published 2 months ago by Medici
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much emphasis on theory.
A lot that is interesting and useful undoubtedly, but from what I have read of it I have two major issues. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Medieval Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book.
Published 6 months ago by jon rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Present
This has been bought as a Christmas present, I hope the recipient will like it.
Published 7 months ago by Buyer50
4.0 out of 5 stars Ifd so I would like to get them on my kindle
Has the author written similar books on other periods of British History? Ifd so I would like to get them on my kindle.
Published 8 months ago by gRANNY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 11 months ago by Paul
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting
A well written and interesting read. Good for general info on the era but missing the images often found in the middle pages of this series.
Published 15 months ago by Jo Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life.
Life in the Middle Ages is part of the Constable & Robinson
series of brief histories, and this particular book by Martyn
Whittock is both an interesting and entertaining... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Malcolm
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and accessible
I downloaded this book after other -- more specific -- research I had done piqued my interest in the period. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Scotti
5.0 out of 5 stars For Medieval buffs
Another excellent source book for those wanting to know what life might have been like during those times. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Rose
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