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The Last Knight: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era Paperback – May 31, 2005
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The text and style are simplistic - almost in the style of a "Children's book of the Middle Ages". The arguements and assertions are so sweeping and general as to be next to useless, and are made with no reference to geographical differences (of which there were myriad). Much of the work moves from the period 1100 to 1600 and not the period he initially states that he is covering. Finally, the book is riddled with historical inaccuracies from errors on heraldry, to errors on dates (he doesn't even get his dates on the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem right), to errors on armor. Indeed, his lack of knowledge on armor and the timing of innovations and trends would be laughable if I hadn't actually paid for this book.
This book has no redeeming features at all, and can only be considered a waste of precious trees. If it were possible, I wouldn't even have given it one star.
There are far superior works on this period to be had. While most are quite academic, if you want a broad sweep of the middle ages that is easy to read and accessible to the lay person, then try "Terry Jones' Medieval Lives". You'll learn a lot more about the period (as it relates to Britain!!) and have a smile too.
The book was written by a popular although somewhat controversial medieval historian, Norman F. Cantor, during his twilight years. His earlier works were lauded as accessible to the reading public and enjoyed considerable commercial popularity, but according to the Wickipedia entry, his original research was scant and often at variance with other historians, receiving mixed reviews in the journals.
This book is almost sad. The professor died in September of 2004 at the age of 75, and the book was published that same year. One presumes that it was an attempt to recreate something of his earlier success with one last book. I have read other books written by professors at the end of their lives and have been far more impressed. It is a nice way of summarizing the knowledge of a lifetime career and leaving a legacy of what was known and contributed by the author up to that time. I have read a couple of books of this type, including The New Catastrophism: The Rare Event in Geological History by Derek Agar and ...Read more ›
This sounds like a childrens book not a serious history book. It contains almost nothing about John of Gaunt and rambles on about nothing in particular. It must have been written by Cantor when he was in his dottage and printed on the basis of his reputation. I too wish I could get my money back or at least sue the publisher for inflicting such a terrible book on the reading public.
However, I found the author's writing style labored and difficult. Some editorial comments meant to sound witty seemed out of place and detracted rather than added to the enjoyment of the book. There were also some sentences that needed a good editor to correct some structure problems and even correct some spelling errors. Unsupported assertions were also rife in the book. Most disturbing was the fact that there were some significant historical inaccuracies in the book.For example, the author mentions a daughter of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford, Margaret Beaufort, who married Edmond Tudor who was the mother of Henry VII. A little genealogical research shows that Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII was the daughter of John Beaufort, who was the son of John "Fairborn" Beaufort who was the son of John of Gaunt. That makes Margaret Beaufort the great grand-daughter of John of Gaunt, a two generation discrepancy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved the history of this " Last Knight " brother to the " Black Knight " & son of King Edward III. Hard to believe these people are in my Heritage.Published on January 26, 2014 by Barbara Thomas
THE LAST KNIGHT: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era, by Norman F. Cantor. 260 pages, illustrated. Read morePublished on June 20, 2013 by Harry Eagar
From this book's cover I assumed that this was primarily a biography of John of Gaunt. However, the book's subtitle gives a better indication of the author's focus: the waning... Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Joel E. Mitchell
I must agree with most of the commenters who found this book appaullingly bad. It's OK if you're dead tired and want something vaguely "educational" to fall asleep to. Read morePublished on December 17, 2012 by P. Miller
A very disapointing book. It is written at perhaps a middle-school level at best. Although that in itself would not be a negative if children were target audience. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by ari fisher
Norman Cantor has written a very readable book about John Plantagent, Duke of Lancaster and one of the most important and influential men of the 14th century. Read morePublished on March 25, 2010 by Judith Johnson
An enjoyable read, using one of the most underrated characters of the middle ages as a lens into the time. Read morePublished on June 16, 2008 by Adam Irving
While the book isn't quite as bad as other reviewers or the Amazon star-rating indicate, it's not what the publisher advertises it to be - a book on chivalry and John of Gaunt. Read morePublished on October 10, 2007 by JaneConsumer
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that publishers should be held legally liable merely for publishing poorly written, banal, politically correct, ahistorical drivel like this... Read morePublished on August 6, 2007 by R. S. Corzine