Gurevich investigates the way medieval common people saw this world and the Other World. He uses written sources (penitentials, hagiography, exempla, catechisms and the like) to describe the "Weltanschauung" of the illiterati. In the process the reader gets a very lifely image of hell, purgatory, the Last Judgement, visiting demons, the use of saints, the roles of clergy in society. Important writers as Ceasarius of Heisterbach, Gregorius The Great, Honorius of Autun, Burchard of Worms and Dante are discussed.
But though Gurevich succeeds in painting a vivid image, I cannot give 5 points for this book. First of all, Gurevich makes his theories plausible, but the book lacks substantial evidence. Secondly non-Russian readers will find the style Gurevich uses indirect and repetetive, which makes this interesting book simply (and unnecessary) "hard work" to read.