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Terry Jones' Medieval Lives Paperback – March 27, 2007
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About the Author
Terry Jones is best-known as a member of Monty Python. He has also written four books on Medieval England and is the author of several children's books.
Alan Ereira has worked as an award-winning producer and writer of history programs on radio and television for over 40 years, and has collaborated with Terry for ten years on a number of historical films. His previous books include The People's England, The Invergordon Mutiny, The Heart of the World and (with Terry Jones) Crusades and Terry Jones' Medieval Lives.
"From the Trade Paperback edition."
Top Customer Reviews
With this book Jones wants to remedy a lot of misconceptions we have of life in the middle ages. Some, like financially astute monks and knights, are reaonably well-known, but others, like affluent peasants, sexually liberated women, and kings that served as defenders of the law, are less known. I do consider myself well-read, but there was a lot of new stuff in here for me. Even if some of his conclusions might be a bit shaky they are still of interest, and can serve as basis for further studies.
Do avoid the television series: it is very shallow and a bit incoherent because of all the unneccessary animations.
Nothing seems to annoy Jones more than the inaccuracies that have circulated as fact about the period he defines as beginning with the Norman Conquest in 1066 and ending when Henry VIII effectively dismantled the old church in 1536. The overarching inaccuracy is that the medieval period was static and primitive. Au contraire says Jones and developed a BBC series taking the 470 years archetype by archetype, looking at how things changed often dramatically in that long period, sometimes progressively, sometimes regressively for the likes of peasants, minstrels, monks, outlaws, scientists, knights, women and kings. He stomped forcibly on the inaccuracies and falsehoods largely promulgated in the Renaissance and Victorian eras. This book is the companion volume to that series. As someone who has not seen the television series, I can vouch that you never miss it. The book is a stand alone triumph.
Jones manages to pull together an amazing amount of material and information in a relatively short book, weaving social, political and religious history. As such, the book is like a survey course, which is not a bad thing at all. To see what Jones can really do when he throws all his scholarly resources and colleagues at a medieval subject, see WHO MURDERED CHAUCER? That is top-notch historical investigation and criticism that skimps on nothing.
Jones did present material I was not familiar with, and gave me a new perspective on historical "facts" I had always assumed to be correct, which just.... weren't.
On the plus side, my husband has put this book in his "to read" pile, just based on the author (sorry, dude, I know you're a serious scholar and all), and anything or anyone who can get him to read anything outside of WWII topics is OK in my book.
Read the Jones' book as a delightful, entertaining appertif, and then devour the Mortimer book as a main course.
And while we're at it, gotta love a country that can produce what looks to have been an entertaining series on medieval history, which people will actually WATCH, while all our lot can come up with is the annoying, endless soft porn of "The Tudors". Meh!
Still, it's hard not to wonder about why nobody ever mentions King Louis the First (and Last). And which monks were forbidden the delights of donning underpants (and why)? Did medieval people think the world was flat? Not according to Terry Jones and Alan Ereira, who advise that this was an invention of a French antireligious academic (Antoine-Jean Letronne) and the American novelist Washington Irving during the 19th century.
Under the headings of Peasant, Minstrel, Outlaw, Monk, Philosopher, Knight, Damsel and King are vignettes which serve to bring some meaning to these headings and some context to some of the names that readers may remember from history. For example, the stories of Blondel (Minstrel) and William Marshal (Knight).
A fun and entertaining read for those looking to a light-hearted but informative snapshot of the times.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun and informative. A must read for those trying to understand the Middle Ages.Published 8 days ago by rct
If you love the Middle Ages, this book will help you understand the most important myths of the time. Invaluable and entertaining.Published 1 month ago by John Wright
An amazing book, that carries us through the social layers of the English medieval eraPublished 1 month ago by Laura Buche
Really enjoyed this read. Is a reminder that just because it s in writing doesn't t mean it's necessarily true. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gloria Petrie
I enjoy reading how people in bye gone ages lived. This one does that for the bunch from the middle ages. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bob R.
This rather light-hearted look at the so-called Medieval period of history had something of the feel of a television program about it. And – surprise! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lora S.
'Terry's teachings' orbit cosmicly above the standard fare remembered from school days. He then frosts the learning -cake with concisely crafted humorous garnishes. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lois Pearce