Top critical review
7 of 8 people found this helpful
Middle grade book
on 1 December 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.