7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2006
Terry Jones and Alan Ereira deconstruct myths of medieval England. This is achieved with trademark humour and serious analysis, a combination not usually found in history books. The book is divided into chapters that examine stereotypical personalities of the time: the peasant, monk, knight, etc.
I was reminded how history is shaped by its storytellers and I realize that my own mid 20th century schooling followed conventional English lines without interest in other points of view.
This is a quick and fun read that will lead you to further examinations.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2013
The author and Monty Python member is also a screenwriter and actor, film director, children's author, popular historian, political commentator and TV documentary host (I am incredibly under accomplished). Jones along with co-author Alan Ereira employ an approachable style to a subject that undeniably fascinates them both. I picked it up to help with a popular history of marketing I am penning. It was gratifying to find that their findings are supportive of my own.
Most of what resonated with me concerns the sophistication of people at the time regarding their needs and wants. They occupied substantial homes, brewing and imbibing were well underway and French wines were imported. The story of minstrels and their comparison to modern PR men is also great fun as was the aggressively entrepreneurial monks, specifically the Cistercians. The holy men of the period were extremely well off. Records from Westminster Abbey betray a decadence in the consumption of food and drink. In fact, alcohol accounted for 19% of monks' energy intake when ours is roughly 5%.
Jones and Ereira and other popular historians of our day are doing a great job making history more digestible and fun. They are also righting wrongs by challenging commonly held beliefs and inaccurate school curriculum. The authors warn us not to be ignorant of our past and use the last line to reinforce the reality that so much of history is propaganda not fact.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2015
There are too many glaring errors such as Mr Jones reporting that in the eleventh century people were harvesting eight bushels of corn per acre but corn wasn't introduced into Europe from the Americas until the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century. Cannot recommend.