Wednesday, August 17, 2011

15: Daily Life in Medieval Times

I took my camera to work and, in classic fashion, it's still in my desk drawer. Smooth, right?

Daily Life in Medieval times
Francis and Joseph Gies
Published: 2005

I was raised on stories of English history. Instead of “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Goldilocks,” Mom told me and my brother stories about the Henries, Stephens, and Jameses who ruled the Isle over the centuries. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t list the wives of Henry VIII, or I didn’t know that Medieval castles stank to high heaven! This is what happens when your mother is both a gifted storyteller and a history teacher of the first order. Mom definitely did her work with me – I am an unashamed Anglophile and history nerd. I have a collection of books about life in both medieval and renaissance England (as well as across Europe, including France and Germany), and this is one of the best. It’s easy to read, chock-full of information, well-illustrated, and written in accessible language. This is a book meant to be educational without falling into the often over- convoluted realm of “scholarly” writing.

Daily Life in Medieval Times is a combination of previous works by the Gieses: Life in a Medieval Castle, Life in a Medieval City, and Life in a Medieval Village. Each book used a real location as a jumping-off point for introducing the culture of the times: Chepstow Castle in Wales, the city of Troyes in France, and the village Elton in England. They include loads of details, from wagons to hair to privies to social interactions, and give as close to a complete image as you can get of life long ago.

Perfect For: Ages 15+, fans of history, renaissance fair goers, costumers

Ye Olde Trivia: It doesn't appear that this collection is currently available new, but there are used sellers. Also, the separate books are available, and are often at Barnes and Nobles as bargain books, published by that company.

Genres: Nonfiction, History
Keywords: History, Illustrated

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