This book, a part of the larger, 11-volume set of the Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages, is an outstanding and authoritative text covering everything from Late Antiquity up until the end of the Late Middle Ages, and is certainly a first-stop when conducting research in the field. Focusing on England, the book covers personages, buildings, educational institutions, practices, and more within the English realm of the period. The book is not only a true encyclopedic reference, but is beautifully bound and was originally destined for library use, due to its size and cost. As such, these types of books may become increasingly rare as we move farther and farther into the digitized book world, but there is still much to be said about having these types of books on the shelf. This one is gorgeous to look at, is printed on library quality paper and binding, and uses a font that is pleasingly easy to read. Numerous black and white photos and drawings support the text.
The content itself is superb. The sheer reach of its content (for example, entries on sceintific and medical writings, Round Tables, Pembroke College, James of Gruytroede, the Battle of Val-es-Dunes, enameling, allegorical interpretation, Cistercian architecture, the Salisbury rule, and on and on, up to some 700 entries) is impressive, and the array of acclaimed researchers who participated (some 300 in all) make this a critical work for use when studying the period. Each entry is completed with a bibliography of supporting references, making this an outstanding first stop for conducting research in both primary and secondary sources.
An easy five stars. If you can get a used copy at a reasonable price, it is even a greater bargain. Its $300 original cost from the publisher generally keeps it only within the realm of libraries, but you should be able to find a used copy at reduced price. If you can, grab it while they are still circulating.