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Publisher's Summary

In this classic of social history, the author describes the lives of obscure men and women of the Middle Ages. She draws on account books, records, letters, diaries, and wills to make the life of those times as concrete and comprehensible as our own.

There are full-length portraits of Bodo, a Frankish peasant in the time of Charlemagne (9th century); Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler; Madame Eglentyne, the Prioress of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; the 15-year-old wife of a 14th century Parisian bourgeois; and two English merchants of the 15th century, Thomas Betson of the wool trade and Thomas Paycocke of Coggeshall, an Essex clothier.

(P)2001 Blackstone Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Annette
  • 07-05-2008

great listen

I'm not a dedicated student of the age, but I dabble. this is pleasantly presented and informative in a non-scholarly level manner. I enjoyed it immensely. Glimpse life in an age misrepresented frequently, but don't expect too many details, it's a short story covering a wide range of lifestyles.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chi-Hung
  • 03-02-2009

A classic...but...

There is a reason why this book is a classic, written in 1924 when Rankian history was still in its full glory, this represent an pioneer attempt to write a history from below, unfortunately, social history do seldom make interesting audiobooks for lay listener or readers, people seldom find prices of wool or domestic lives interesting.

I found this book focus too much on the High middle ages, as oppose to middle age proper, it could have focused more on the churchman instead of the nuns, it could have touched on the feelings of the pikesmen instead of Marco Polo, and why was Marco Polo even mentioned anyway, he's hardly representative of the "People."

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • brett
  • 29-08-2007

Really Good

This is one of my favorite audiobooks. I highly recommend it. It is a very personable and colorful look at ordinary life in Medieval Europe. The narrator, Roe Kendell is perfect here. Im hoping to find another audiobook like this soon

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gwen Brogdon
  • 02-11-2005

Medieval People

I thought it was very informative and gave a good picture of what life was like.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Donald
  • 27-07-2005

Interested in the English wool trade?

This is a scholarly book with many quotes from medieval texts to stupify the listener. The book's pace picks up a little with the research on the Prioress, Madame Eglentyne, of Chaucer fame and then ends with dreary minutes passed in listening to the letters of wool merchants. It would have much more interesting to hear the story with the long quotes placed out of reach of the ear and into the marginalia. Hopefully the reader understands French and archaic English(read untranslated Chaucer to get an idea)as there are long quotes in French and archaic English.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Erin&Merilee DeSpain
  • 13-08-2005

Wonderful Book

I thought this book was an interesting insight into the lives of every-day sort of Midieval People. Almost every story from the age is of some noble person, but the real people, the real back-breaking labor that built those beautiful churches, monastaries, and events that were so important were ordinary people. Insightful. Tended to be a little bit slow in parts, but worth the journey.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful