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on May 16, 1999
I have been researching the Middle Ages for a number of years and this is one of the most even -handed books I have come across. The authors are researchers par excellence, and have presented their findings in an imminently readable form. If I were not already a student of the Middle Ages, however, I might have found the wealth of detail somewhat overwhelming and some of the terms and references obscure. This is a book for people who really want to know.
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on April 21, 2004
First of all, the authors set out to simply enlighten the modern reader as to the daily life of a Medieval city-dweller. They had no hidden agenda, just the report of the facts, as best as they could determine from existing documents and sources. Their work represents a fairly accurate representation of what life might have been like for the average city dweller during the Middle Ages.
Second, they focus on one, particular city, namely Troyes. But, what they discuss can be generalized to other cities. Also, they compare Troyes to other cities of similar size and time periods, as examples of how standard, or not, Troyes was.
Thirdly, they use easy to understand language without talking down to the reader. They don't try to make their historical personages talk to the reader, but, instead, let the occasional quote do their talking for them. They speculate only a little bit about what the people might have been thinking, focusing instead on what they actually did.
All in all, a very enjoyable book. I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the whys and hows of life in early cities.
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I read this book out of curiosity and I am glad I picked it up. The book's description of Troyes is quite detailed, complete and at times truly engrossing. The authors cover most aspects of life in the middle-ages and provide some insight in the developments during that time, as well as their significance (although this isn't the book to read if you are mostly interested in detaileed, scholarly historical analyses of the time). To sum up, a very pleasant book to read, full of interesting information about everyday life in another era. Recommended!
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on March 6, 2005
I didnt know what exactly to expect as i went into this book. All i really aimed for was getting an insightful account on how living in a medieval city would be and had no idea how an author would go about presenting this.

Having mentioned that, "Life in a Medieval City" exceeded my expectations and then some! It's a brilliant and carefully detailed book on how the every day routine rolled around the 11th century in the city of Troyes in France.

The authors touch basically all aspects of life in a medieval city: commercial, religious, every day tasks, challenges and difficulties, education, military defense, you name it.

It's definetely not overwhelming as some reviewers claimed because the authors do not bore tzhe reader with the unnecessaryas the delve into the various sectors of medieval life. The style is very direct, very modern and very comprehensive.

The bits of information to be obtained from it are absolutely remarkable and i finished this book pleased that i had a fresh set of questions about medieval life based on the knowledge i acquired by reading it. This is anyway the value standard a good book should be measured by.

Easily one of the most pertinent books on the subject.
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on September 8, 2005
This is a great book for anyone who would like to further his or her education on daily life in a thriving Medieval city. Virtually all segments of the population, from lowest to highest, are described here, as are numerous aspects of the goings-on that kept a bustling city moving. This is not a work for romantics, it is a serious, fairly in-depth examination of the social and occupational structure of this era in European history. Medieval life could be brutal but it also had its shades of beauty. True a modern person may recoil at much of what a person from 800 years ago accepted without a thought, but the reverse might also be true. What I liked so much about this book was it refused to be the typical general study of a vast time and place and never strayed from its goal of shedding light strictly within the confines of a city and those who lived there, worked there, or came there for festival or for trade. Everything from clothing to food to tools to crime and punishment, religion and medicine are covered here. This is really a very fine book.
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on October 15, 2010
Up front, I liked the book and enjoyed reading it in two short evenings. However, I was missing a lot of details. What were people doing in winter, summer and inbetween, any differences in lifestyle during the seasons (which is obvious for a farmer, but in the city?)? What were they doing during the numerous holidays ? What did they know about "the world" ? How big were the families ? I could ask many more questions that are not answered in the book. Also most chapters describe the life of the well-to-do , rich "burghers". Even if I understand that the documentation of the life of "upper class" is well better than that of the poor, still I would be interested in how the paupers lived and survived (they are mentioned often when they are begging at weddings/festivities/markets etc). Also there is not much information on the vast majority of the population: the people that are not rich and not poor but getting by just fine. In my opinion, the book could have been much better than it already is.
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on May 4, 2006
The Gies excell in taking good research by historians and presenting it in a very accessible and straigforward manner. Their trilogy, which consists of Life in a Medieval City, Life in a Medieval Village, and Life in a Medieval Castle, manage to neatly distill many important themes and concepts in a lively, easy-to-digest format that is perfect for Honors middle school or regular high school students. The authors do much to dispell the myths about the Middle Ages and to present the times in all their color and variety.

Life in a Medieval City focuses upon one particular French town but can be generalized, to a greater or lesser extent, to many places in northern Europe. It deals with the economic and social realities of the times with excellent clarity. Not to be missed.
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on May 8, 1999
Required to read this for a class, I found the book a great overview of life in a Medievil City. The chapters devoted to various subjects make it a good reference book. The writing style is light yet presents the indepth information.
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on December 17, 2013
This is one of the more pleasurable history books I've read ... probably my favorite book covering any topic in the Middle Ages. The Gies have a friendly writing style that makes you feel like they are your friends by the end of the book. That doesn't limit its educational value, though, which is full of useful, well-researched information. They successfully put together a package that makes one feel as though they are there. Read and enjoy!
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on September 2, 2013
We are using this book as part of our history curriculum this year. I'd bought a copy several years ago and just never got a chance to crack it open. I like the way the chapters are divided. It makes it really easy to portion it out to go along with the different topics we'll be covering in our study of the Middle Ages. The wording might be a bit above the lower elementary grades but the subject matter could be easily explained because it's well-written and very easy for an older student or adult to understand.
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