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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Indispensible, 2 Jun 2008
By 
Alexander Sawyer (Cardiff, Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320 (Paperback)
Malcolm Barber has achieved what can only be described as a tour de force in the study of medieval European history. Getting a copy of this book should be a top priority of any student wishing to study this period. I can almost guarantee you will find a subject, although I would be surprised if you were to find only one, relevant to your course. If you don't I would suggest that it is probably due to poor course design rather than a failing in the breadth of Barber's material. The Two Cities contains key information on subjects ranging from the Crusades to the Italian City States as well as the Iberian Reconquista and the Investiture Controversy, along with many others. The sheer volume of information, and the scope of the subjects covered, make it a perfect foundation for the study of medieval Europe. However, do not let its recommendation as a base text lead you to believe that it only offers the briefest outline of the areas covered. While, obviously, books entirely dedicated to one topic may provide a greater wealth of information within a narrower field, the depth of information and the diligent research within each subject area of The Two Cities is astonishing. In all, this intelligently written, accessible volume provides detailed information on a wealth of subject areas and, as it is available for around 20, is well worth its price tag.
Personally I feel I owe Professor Barber a drink, due to the utterly indispensible information provided by his volume (especially with regards to revision) during my recent medieval Europe module, taken as part of my English Literature/History degree.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very sound introductory view of Medieval Europe, 23 April 2011
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320 (Paperback)
This is a very readable book, suitable as an introduction for any reader interested in learning about Medieval Europe in the period from 1050-1320. This is a time of much change in Europe, with the Crusades, religious reform movements, the beginning of the creation of nation states, the struggle between Papacy and Hohenstaufen, and a growing perception of culture which grew in time into what is generally called the Renaissance.

Malcom Barber's writing is very approachable; his obvious enjoyment of his subject comes across in the book, and as such it is very readable to anyone who is interested, whether you approach the period with prior knowledge or not. The writing style allows for a comprehensive understanding of what can be very complex subjects in a broad geographic and chronological timeframe.

The book is broken into four main sections: social and economic structure, the Church, political change, and perceptions of the world, and approaches the period thematically overall. A brief but good bibliography follows to lead the reader to more books on subjects of interest. The title of the book, The Two Cities, refers to one of the main themes that holds throughout the book, the comparison and contrast between the secular and the ecclesiastical; and how their interaction shaped and formed this period in European history.

A very worthwhile read for anyone interested in the period. A particularly good book for anyone who approaches the subject with little or no knowledge; this book offers a very good introduction to such a reader, and a continuing reference book that will be used and referred to again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really good., 24 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320 (Paperback)
I bought this for my university course and it has helped. It is an interesting read! I would recommend this!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History degree text, 28 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320 (Paperback)
Bought for offspring going to uni -one of the required texts for History degree -good idea to sell on when you have finished it to Amazon
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Uni must have, 17 Oct 2009
By 
M. Harding (Suffolk, England) - See all my reviews
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My daughter is in her 2nd yr at Uni studying History, this book is one of many she needed access to, so at this price and condition was a bargain. Thanks.
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The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320
The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050-1320 by Malcolm Barber (Paperback - 8 April 2004)
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