Michael Wood has written a very good short essay on his speciality, the early or "high" Middle Age, the so called "Dark Ages". The book has several chapters dealing with the most interesting problems of the time: the fall of Rome, the Arthurian miths, the Sutton Hoo man and culture, Offa the Great... Each chapter is written in an easy style, yet full of knowledge and information. The style is easy going, but never boring or tiring. The author makes those people come alive back to us, through the eyes of those who wrote about them, and helps us to inquire about their passions, feelings, defects, virtues... The economic and cultural background has a place, but never the main part of the book. Evidently, being a short divulgative work there are many things left out, but then the amount of information given is amazing. Then one can go on and buy a more extense work on a favourite subject, in my case, the Anglo Saxons. The only drawback (therefore 4,5 stars) is the lack of maps: not being familiar with the wereabouts, I easily get lost. Also some family tree would be most welcome, or at least a short glossary of names and their relationship. Anglosaxon and Viking names are not easy to remember!
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