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Europe in the High Middle Ages: The Penguin History of Europe Paperback – 1 Aug 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 3 edition (1 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140166645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140166644
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

The Penguin History of Europe series ... is one of contemporary publishing's great projects (New Statesman)

With five volumes now out, the Penguin History of Europe series ... is shaping up to be the best general account available, superseding all previous ones (Economist)

About the Author

William Chester Jordan is Professor of History at Princeton University and the author of THE GREAT FAMINE.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TR on 16 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third of the series which I have read, but unfortunately it does not match up to the very high standards set by the books written by Wickham and Blanning, nor it has to be said does it compare with Bartlett's exceptional volume on a similar if slightly longer period. The historian faced with the daunting task of producing such a book must attempt to knit together accounts of the broad commonalities and trends, whose existences are presumably the main justification for the project, with as much detail on specific countries and time periods as he or she thinks it appropriate to provide. Unfortunately, Jordan fails here because essays, good enough in themselves, on broader social, cultural, and religious matters are almost arbitrarily inserted between much weaker annalistic sections dealing with some individual countries. The linkages between the different types of chapter are almost non-existent, so the effect is incoherent. As far as I can see, this type of history can only work if the broad themes are allowed to dictate the structure, with relevant illustrations drawn from the separate polities. Inevitably this means that the information on individual countries will be incomplete, but the reader who wants more, can be provided with a good bibliography.
There are positives for the book; the author's style is smooth and friendly; the impression is of being led rather than instructed. Any non-expert reader, like me, can be guaranteed greater knowledge when the book is finished, but perhaps not as much as hoped for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER on 9 April 2011
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This is a very readable book - it differs from many textbooks in that it talks as much as possible about the `little people' of the times - how they lived, what they did - as well as the more important people about whom so much more information is generally known. A great way to remain interested in what could be a dry subject is to have it scattered with snippets such as how important it was for the rural farmers to know how to round up feral pigs that had been allowed to pasture in the forest, and how dangerous it could be (never thought of that before); and that by the end of the thirteenth century the annual output of papal letters was 50,000 (that's a lot of scribes).

The book is informative, and scholarly, yet very readable - it would well suit someone who has little or no knowledge of the period (eleventh to early fourteenth century). Very interesting; very readable; very enjoyable. Thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C W Day on 30 Nov. 2012
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The book is written in an amenable style for the general reader. It also offers sufficient amounts of relevant and interesting detail throughout whilst successfully conveying the broader picture and underlying concepts surrounding the events.
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Starts well, some decent art history, very good social history, bad photos. Nice cover, mind.
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By fatmanbat46 on 26 Aug. 2014
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Excellent historical enquiry by a first rate mind.
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