Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Knights Next Door: Everyday People Living Middle Ages Dreams Paperback – October 20, 2004
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Publisher
Take a behind-the-shield look at the medieval sword battles, costumes, feasts and arts of the "Current Middle Ages," a world being re-created right around you by people just like you. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Patrick O?Donnell is a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of Pennsylvania and hopes the Boston Red Sox will someday win a World Series.Mael Patraic MacDomnaill is a wandering chronicler of the 9th Century who has journeyed across the Known World. He has taken to battle and fought (poorly) in the 5th Century alongside a band of Romano-Celt mercenaries called Darkyard. Although such time travel is disorienting, he does not mind because, unlike the Red Sox, Darkyard usually wins.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
to our Canton 'Library" just to loan out to new people or to
people who wonder "what are you DOING"! Some things are different
from Kingdom to Kingdom but as a whole the "Dream" is the same all
over. Buy it...read it!
It's a remarkably realistic, positive, yet still warts-and-all view of the SCA. Plus, it's written darn well.
It really drives home the fact that the SCA has grown steadily more history- and authenticity-oriented since its roots as a backyard costume party, but it **still** contains several fantasy elements... and likely *always* will.
The SCA is much more flexible and inclusive than most historical recreation groups, so you're always going to have the Tuchux and other groups playing within the Society that aren't strictly historical or fit within the SCA's designation as a pre-17th Century history reenactment organization.
Yes, the involvement of these fringe groups can make a number of us who are concerned about historical accuracy double-clutch at times and we strongly feel that it lessens our credibility with Academia... but I think those groups' involvement also stops us from taking things too seriously. I believe the sheer variety and diversity of folks and their interests is one of our greatest strengths -- we offer many things to many people.
Although the focus of the book is on the Middle Kingdom (midwest United States), the author does interview folks all over the nation. It has *tons* of wonderful interviews with folks from all periods of the group's development (Fleig, Diana Paxson, Ice Falcon, Cariadoc of the Bow, Roak, Alys Katherine...) Their stories made me laugh, gasp, and literally sometimes cry.
I also really appreciated the fact that the book gave me -- someone who has never donned a helm and fought with heavy weapons -- a better appreciation of how and why fighters do what they do.
I used to waterbear a lot when I first joined the Society and I basically looked at heavy weapons fighting as though it was just another type of martial arts competition, as though I was watching an aikido demonstration or a karate tournament.
This book helped me glimpse that there's a lot more to the mindset and the practice of heavy weapons fighting.
I've been in the SCA myself for just short of two years. Many of the gentles (people) that the author mentions, especially those in the East Kingdom, I have heard of, if not had personal acquaintance with them. While I myself am not a fighter, I have experienced and am still doing so, the same garb, persona, behavior and adaption concerns. On one hand it's hard to leave the mundane world behind and immerse yourself in the SCA culture; and on the other hand, it's not so hard to disappear "into" Pennsic for two weeks. It is a fascinating and different world, and you determine how far you want to go within it. What you put into the SCA, you get out of it. If all you wish to do is party, the opportunities exist. If you wish to research and learn, the opportunities exist and there are Laurels and Pelicans, and others with no titles who are experts in all fields, who are happy to share their knowledge and direct you upon your own path.
I felt the overall story line flowed smoothly enough. Taking the story of Valharic of the Middle Kingdom, from his beginnings in the SCA all the way through his journey to become King was an excellent way to advance the story line. The author, Patraic, describes his own personal challenges in his desire to become, at the very least, an acceptable fighter, with detail and passion. I feel he captures the essence of battle quite well...the chivalry, the desire to learn, the leadership which exists, and the hunger for such battles, personal and melee.
Once I picked up the book, I found it hard to put down...I will have to say that the last "quarter" of the book did not necessarily live up to the rest of the book, but I took into consideration that the author had experienced a near fatal accident prior to completion of all his research, and therefore this is somewhat reflected in the wrap up of his story. As with the video "In Service To The Dream" I feel it does short change Arts and Sciences to a degree. But again, the author was primarily interested in fighting, and not A & S.
Overall, an excellent book and I am glad to have purchased it. I have already recommended it others within the SCA as well as to those who do not participate.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had the honor of meeting and talking to the author at Twelfth Night this year, and then took to reading 'just...Read more