Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: If You Were Me and Lived in the Middle Ages


Carole P. Roman has added another title to her new series on different historical periods throughout the world. I just finished the book on the Middle Ages. As usual, there are tons of facts and details, including the clothing, foods, and recreation enjoyed by the people of Medieval England during the late eleventh century. Carole has chosen the family of a landed knight as her example, explaining the home they would have lived in, the social customs, and the education the children would receive. But she also compares that family to their servants, pointing out that the wealthy would have worn finer clothing than their servants or the peasants who worked the farmland. She also compares what the family eats to what those less wealthy might have on their table. 

Carole explains that Europe was very fragmented after the fall of the Roman Empire and that the feudal system of kings, lords, knights, and serfs took the place of the vast empire headed by a single emperor. Men like the father of the family she describes were called on to support their lord when he needed soldiers and were rewarded with land and sometimes even a noble title. Life expectancy was not very long, the example given of a man already on his third wife or a woman remarrying after being widowed would be very common. The importance of the church is shown by how many cathedrals were being constructed, how many times a day people were expected to pray, and the way that families sent their children to become nuns or priests and serve in the church. Young readers will probably be shocked by the details of medical practices such as bloodletting.

At the back of the book there is a section which gives brief descriptions of famous people such as William the Conqueror, Joan of Arc, Saladin, and Charlemagne. And there is a glossary of terms to help out readers who may not have encountered terms like almonry, blanchette, or crenelate.

A nice introduction to young readers who are curious about the past and important time periods and people. This series gives a broad overview of each period and location, and enough specifics to answer basic questions while also giving facts that can lead to further research.

Check out the video trailer for the series!

I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

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