Why this book?
This is a fantastic introduction to what was going on in the British Isles during the medieval period. The scholarship is up-to-the-minute, the writing is witty and engaging, and it is teeming with original ideas. It’s not a political history, plodding predictably from one reign to the next, but a sweeping overview, covering diverse topics such as the decline of slavery, the rise of parliament, kingship and queenship, religion, education, leisure, crime, and chivalry.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
Beginning with the Norman Conquest of England, these tumultuous centuries and their invasions shaped the languages and political geography of present-day Britain and Ireland.
The Irish, Scots and Welsh fought their battles against the English with varying success - struggles which, like the events of 1066 in England, produced spectacular upheavals and left enduring national memories. But there was still a common enemy: the Black Death - still the greatest catastrophe in their history.
There were significant advances, too. Hundreds of new towns were founded; slavery, still prevalent until the twelfth century, died out; magnificent cathedrals built, schools and universities…