Thursday, October 13, 2016

The History of the Medieval World Book Review

Image result for the history of the medieval world
amazon.com
The History of the Medieval World is a history book written by Susan Wise Bauer which covers the time between the Conversion of Constantine (312 A.D.) to the First Crusade (1095 A.D.).  

The first thing that struck me about this book was how good the writing is.  It is very concise and specific yet not too cumbersome or overburdened with complicated and pretentious vocabulary.

I also liked it because it covered history from all over the globe--Asia, Europe, and the Americas.  I suppose the only place rarely mentioned was Southern Africa which didn't really have much official history to speak of.

I'm always very cautious when reading history because I like to think I'm rather perceptive when it comes to bias or prejudice.  This book seemed very straightforward and unbiased.  I found this very refreshing, especially when it came to the coverage of the Crusades which are almost always saturated with bias.   I was happy to just get the facts right up front.

There are also helpful little timelines included in the book which I liked--they listed rulers and dates which was helpful since so many were mentioned throughout the course of the story.

I also appreciated the chapter lengths which were not too long and were very manageable.  They allowed a bit of time to digest what you had read rather than launching into a very long tangent like so many other historical books do.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the medieval times, and it's very accessible, so even if you're not a fan of the particular era, give it a read because it offers all the general information you need to know about the time.

The other thing is that it highlights very important events, but provides enough details to make the time come alive.  Oftentimes books will be too heavy with inconsequential details which makes them difficult to read.  Other times books leave out too many things and what they're saying seems too abstract.  I think this found the perfect balance between that line.

Image result for byzantine empire
Britannica.com


Table of Contents
  • Unity: 
    • One empire, under God 
    • Seeking the mandate of Heaven 
    • An empire of the mind 
    • The Persian threat 
    • The apostate
    • Earthquake and invasion 
    • Refounding the Kingdom  
    • The Catholic church
  • Fractures: 
    • Excommunicated 
    • Cracked in two 
    • The sack of Rome 
    • One nature versus two 
    • Seeking a homeland 
    • The Gupta decline 
    • Northern ambitions 
    • The Huns 
    • Attila 
    • Orthodoxy 
    • The high kings  
    • The end of the Roman myth
  • New powers: 
    • The Ostrogoths 
    • Byzantium 
    • Aspirations 
    • Resentment 
    • Elected Kings 
    • Invasion and eruption 
    • The Americas 
    • Great and holy majesty  
    • Pestilence 
    • The heavenly sovereign 
    • Reunification 
    • The South Indian kings 
    • Two emperors 
    • The mayors of the palaces
    • Gregory the Great 
    • The Persian crusade 
    • The prophet 
    • Tang dominance 
    • The tribe of faith 
    • Intersection 
    • The troubles of empire
  • States and kingdoms: 
    • Law and language  
    • Creating the past 
    • The days of the empress 
    • Paths into Europe 
    • The Kailasa of the South 
    • Purifications 
    • The Abbasids 
    • Charlemagne 
    • The An Lushan rebellion 
    • Imperator et Augustus 
    • The new Sennacherib 
    • Castle lords and regents 
    • The triumph of the outsiders 
    • The third dynasty 
    • The Vikings 
    • Long-lived kings 
    • Foreign and domestic relations 
    • The second caliphate 
    • The great army of the Vikings
    • Struggle for the iron crown 
    • Kampaku 
    • Basileus 
    • The creation of Normandy 
    • The kingdom of Germany 
    • The turn of the wheel 
    • The capture of Baghdad 
    • Three kingdoms 
    • Kings of England 
    • The baptism of the Rus
  • Crusades: 
    • The holy Roman emperor  
    • The hardship of sacred war 
    • Basil the Bulgar-slayer 
    • Defending the mandate 
    • The new found land 
    • Schism 
    • Danish domination 
    • The Norman conquest 
    • The kings of Spain 
    • The arrival of the Turks 
    • The loss of the song
    • Repentance at Canossa 
    • The call 
    • Fighting for Jerusalem 
    • Aftershocks

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