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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 January 2017
This was a Christmas gift from my son George. Expectations were guided by the one pound Sterling he paid for it at the school fair.

Boy, was I in for a surprise!

For a week of my life, this little gem of a book transported me to life in year 1250 at the city of Troyes in Champagne, France.

With no exaggeration, this voyage is a true craddle-to-grave job: you're taught how the new class of burghers (the authors avoid the word bourgeois) is delivered into the world by the midwife, schooled in the church and then perhaps at university, or alternatively how it enters an apprenticeship with one of the many new craftsmen.

This was my favorite part of the book, and a five star lesson in etymology for me too, perhaps because I'm not English. So I learned about the tanner and the fuller and the walker and what tenterhooks are too. The emergence and role of the guilds is covered very well, both from a historical and from a sociological perspective.

I also learned the proper etiquette for how a doctor should ask for compensation, which as far as I'm concerned he fully deserved, given his job entailed tasting his patients' urine for sweetness.

The weddings are covered here, the church as an institution and the cathedrals as both objects of art and feats of engineering. You get a good taste for developments in the letters (with many well-chosen and translated samples of poetry and prose) and the arts, including theater.

The whole time, moreover, you're reminded of the underlying structure in which this new class of city-dwellers was formed and (slowly) emancipated, one where power was shared between nobility and the church and only slowly and partially ceded to the ascending classes of craftsmen and moneychangers.

All of which, in turn, rested on the importance conferred to the city of Troyes by the two fairs it hosted, the "hot fair" in August and the "cold fair" in December, to which people would travel from literally the whole of Europe to trade their wares.

The guided tour through the fair is the crowning moment of the book, the point to where the authors build up over the first 200 pages, and you truly feel like you went there yourself.

I don't want to say for sure, but I think many of my dreams over the past few days were set in medieval Troyes!
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on 17 January 1998
I read this book out of curiosity and I am glad I picked it up. The book's description of Troyes is quite detailed, complete and at times truly engrossing. The authors cover most aspects of life in the middle-ages and provide some insight in the developments during that time, as well as their significance (although this isn't the book to read if you are mostly interested in detaileed, scholarly historical analyses of the time). To sum up, a very pleasant book to read, full of interesting information about everyday life in another era. Recommended!
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on 26 March 1997
Believe me, for all you medieval buffs, this is the book to get. Even for those of you who aren't medieval aficionados, this book will be exciting and captivating. The authors get you right in there with medieval life in a bustling city, namely Troyes, capital of Champaign. From government, to defense, and cathedral building, the authors cover a wide range of topics. Read this book!
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on 16 May 1999
I have been researching the Middle Ages for a number of years and this is one of the most even -handed books I have come across. The authors are researchers par excellence, and have presented their findings in an imminently readable form. If I were not already a student of the Middle Ages, however, I might have found the wealth of detail somewhat overwhelming and some of the terms and references obscure. This is a book for people who really want to know.
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on 28 April 2016
This is a review on the quality of the book, not the content yet. This is the 2nd book I have received from the "Book Depository" like this. I have looked at the printer information and it's supposed to be a pucker copy but it's very poor. The pages are tissue thin, really grainy to touch, yellowing and the pages are not cut properly. In fact the pages are so thin the type on the following page is readable through. It's horrible to hold and touch to be honest. I don't know if they're receiving 2nd quality items or if the book is being published like this. Be aware.
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on 30 July 2010
A good overview of medieval life, divided into chapters on different aspects. However, take the details with caution, as they are focussed on one city in particular - the trading town of Troyes in France, so details on marriage ceremonies, legal and government structures and trading styles may not apply to Britain. That said, it is an interesting read, with short chapters that sometimes drop you into the world with stories or a script.
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on 9 May 1999
Required to read this for a class, I found the book a great overview of life in a Medievil City. The chapters devoted to various subjects make it a good reference book. The writing style is light yet presents the indepth information.
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on 2 July 2014
Brilliant book, arrived quickly and reasonable costs.
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on 8 January 2017
Good book.
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on 1 December 2015
Fantasy tends to the medieval - but it is usually the Hollywood medieval and as a result does not have the strangeness and reality-feel of the actual medieval. Books like this one give a far better feel for the truth of how medieval Europeans lived their lives.
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